Véronique Doux-Marot is the IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center's very own "French Connection." Ms. Doux- Marot has been working for IBM Europe since 1983 where she has been immersed in speech recognition and assistive technology from the very beginning and has been working with the HA&AC for much of that time.
Her early career saw her managing the French speech team leading development of their version of IBM ViaVoice. This work challenged her in ways that she found interesting – taking the speech engine that recognized English words and creating one that recognized French words was not so easy! At the time, voice recognition was so demanding in terms of power, the group had to look into many different development environments, eventually settling on a client-server implementation with an AIX server accessed through a PC by the user.
The ViaVoice project opened Véronique's eyes to assistive technology development within IBM. She realized that the speech recognition project was initially invented to help people who had no use of their hands be able to use the computer. She became enamored of the assistive technology field, and since that time in 1996, and joining the European Accessibility Center in 2001, she has been working to create solutions that work for everyone. Today, as a member of the Europe Human Centric Solutions Center, that means Veronique's philosophy is that "we have to think about how we could make any mobile (or any device) application easy for a person who is blind, who is deaf, who is experiencing cognitive disabilities. And, assistive features should be built-in options—like changing the color or volume—that users can choose to use or not."
Several examples of her success in the field are her work at the Lille Métropole Musée d'art moderne d'art contemporain et d'art brut and the Access My N. Y. C. application. "The LaM project is a good example of what we can do for our customers. Using GPS and geo-localization data, when you walk in the museum's sculpture park with your Smartphone, you'll be detected when you are in the area of one of the works. Then, you can choose to hear a description of the masterpiece read by the speech synthesis."
More recently, Veronique's team at the Human Centric Solution Center contributed to the mobile application Access My N.Y.C . that is based on the same ideas and trends. This application for the mobile phone was piloted in New York City while IBM celebrated its centennial anniversary and provided accessible travel information to visitors and native New Yorkers.
Véronique believes that more and more, society and employers are considering people for their own personal talents, regardless of their disability. She hopes the next step in accessibility will be to start really accommodating immigrants who do not speak or write the language used in the country in which they live, and elderly people "I would like to see improvement in the elderly part of the population, to integrate them within active society and not to relegate them into old people's homes. They are such a wealth for everyone. We should all be caring about them."