Man, sitting next to a woman, wears the NuEyes device (like large goggles) and looks at a framed picture.
2020 Values Report

Building Inclusive Products and Services that Are Better for Everyone

Building Inclusive Products and Services that Are Better for Everyone

Jimmy Curran has never let spinal muscular atrophy slow him down. The research analyst, children’s book author, and avid sports fan lives a full and independent life in Philadelphia. He also relies on help from friends and family to perform some important tasks, which, until recently, included navigating his television experience with a remote control.

These days, Curran operates the TV himself, thanks to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 Eye Control, a cutting-edge technology that enables customers to switch channels and search for programming using only their eyes.

“I was very surprised at how easy it is for me to use on my own,” says Curran of the technology, which landed a spot on TIME magazine’s 2019 list of best inventions. “This remote allows me to operate the TV just as anybody else would.”

48M

people in the U.S. live with physical disabilities

Xfinity customer Jimmy Curran operates the Xfinity X1 Eye Control remote. For those with low vision or who are blind, please find a described version of this video here.

At Comcast NBCUniversal, we are committed to making our products, services, and experiences accessible to the widest possible audiences and creating new pathways to independence. In recent years, we launched the industry’s first talking TV guide, introduced a voice-operated remote control, produced the country’s first live entertainment program accessible to people with visual disabilities, and became the first cable company to offer customer service in American Sign Language .

Our Comcast accessibility team includes engineers and subject matter experts who work across the business to ensure that inclusivity is baked into our product design from the earliest stages, much as customer experience, sustainability, and security are factored in at the start of the new product development cycle. We believe that when we make a product more inclusive, we make the product better for everyone.

“We prioritize accessibility because we build great experiences for all of our customers. It’s a business imperative,” says Charlie Herrin, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer for Comcast Cable. “An estimated one-third of all U.S. households include someone with a disability. We don’t want to create exciting new products, only to tell certain communities and audiences that these experiences aren’t available to them.”

Our audiences include James Baldwin, an 18-year U.S. Army veteran who was injured in the Gulf War and now has one prosthetic eye and limited sight in the other. Baldwin had been taking advantage of the many accessibility features on X1 — such as the voice remote, talking guide, and vast library of described content — to enjoy his favorite movies and TV shows. But now he is able to watch TV again through our Xfinity Stream with virtual reality magnifying smartglasses, which give people with low vision the ability to see. “Technology really plays a big part in all of our lives, and it helps us be a whole lot more independent,” says Baldwin.

2M

Comcast customers use at least one X1 accessibility option

Our partnership with the smartglasses manufacturer, NuEyes, is just one of the many ways Comcast NBCUniversal supports customers with sensory, physical, and developmental disabilities. In 2019, we expanded eligibility for our digital inclusion program, Internet Essentials, to include low-income people with disabilities. To roll that out, we worked with organizations from across the disability community. For example, our longstanding partnerships with The Arc and Easterseals helped us to spread the word about these digital literacy and technology resources for people with disabilities.

Comcast understands how absolutely vital it is for people with disabilities to have access to the internet at home, and how crucial it is to have the digital skills and tools to use it successfully.
Maria Town
President and Chief Executive Officer, American Association for People with Disabilities

“Comcast understands how absolutely vital it is for people with disabilities to have access to the internet at home, and how crucial it is to have the digital skills and tools to use it successfully,” says Maria Town, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for People with Disabilities, which received a grant from Comcast to help fund digital literacy programs.

We are also committed to making our own workplaces inclusive for employees of all abilities. In 2019, for the fourth consecutive year, Comcast NBCUniversal was awarded a Leading Disability Employer Seal™ by the National Organization on Disability.

James Baldwin uses the NuEyes technology. For those with low vision or who are blind, please find a described version of this video here.
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