The field of business and marketing has been a key field in the day-to-day life of people in the whole world. This is a field that provides a lot of income to people and organizations in the whole world. It is through this, that people are coming up with innovations to ensure that the field grows and even becomes accessible to many people. It is this issue that leads to the development of the market that is shopping and advertising of products online. This has been very successful and has greatly opened up the market. Nevertheless, this field of the market has neglected blind people. It is through this proposal that I am trying to incorporate the blind into this field of the electronic market.
Introduction about technology
The technology of today is evolving day by day, the technology that was applauded a few years ago is now considered archaic. All the areas of life are quickly evolving technologically where people are doing away with the analog way of life and adopting the digital form which is more efficient and easy to use. The digital form of technology was considered as one of the major breaks through in the world of technology.
This is because this form of technology is small in size hence easy to carry around. The other major consideration for digital technology is that it is flexible hence can be carried around with ease and even be used without interfering with the normal way of life.
This is not true with the analog form of technology as it consumes space, is bulky and even complicated to use. The areas that have so far exhibited a dramatic improvement in technology include but are not limited to; engineering, agriculture, transport, gastronomy, communication, finance, trade, media, management and banking. The main issue that has inspired the vast improvements in technology is that man is always trying to improve his way of life. During ancient times, most of the activities were not technological hence wasting the energy and time of the people.
With these discoveries, the way of life has really improved especially in the field of communication where everything is just by a click of the mouse. Man always looks forward to living life to the fullest, that is why he can engage in risky activities during the research so as to come up with gadgets that will improve his whole life in the future. The overall, technology has greatly increased the productivity of the people and comfort has equally increased. (Nonaka 1994) notes that Economics is one notable area where technology has greatly developed and led to the restructuring of the whole system.
He further notes that this technology, over a short time, the technology has influenced all the disciplines of technology bringing a lot of development and improvement of life and its application in life. Through this improvement of life, man has been able to start living a stress less life where most of the things are being done technologically (Wiig 1993).
General look over marketing
Marketing is the process of the buying and selling of goods and services (Hall & Young 1991). Marketing can also be explained as the process by which people or companies expose their goods and services to people through advertisements so as to
encourage them to buy those products (Burns 2001). There have also been very great and notable developments in the field of marketing. These developments have made the activities of the market field more effective, efficient and very productive. With these effects, the field of marketing has greatly expanded as one major sector where people are relying upon for their source of life. The technology has made it easy to realize and moderate the issues of demand and supply, competition, service delivery and so on.
It is through these requirements to be made that very many people are adopting the issue of electronic marketing (e-marketing) to either advertise there products online or even carry out business activities like buying and selling of the products online. In this way they are able to access the customers from all the corners of the world and in turn lead to the increased and expanded market. In addition, just by the fact that customers are accessed from all over the world, it brings with it a very big diversity of the goods and services presented to the market for the consumers (Storey 1994).
A look at e-marketing and its major users
An electronic market is a form of either advertising of the goods and services on the internet or the actual activity of buying and selling of the good and services to people you can not be joined physically but rather by use of the internet (Burns 2001). The electronic market has greatly provided a chance for the buyers to get a wide variety of items hence compare and make the right choice of the product they want. This is referred to as internet shopping where the customer is given a chance to compare and choose the right product. The technology has in addition made business easier as people are able to make orders over the internet and get delivered products.
This allows them the comfort of shopping for items of interest, comparing their quality and quantity in relation to their prices and even purchase the products online. In conclusion this electronic shopping has allowed people to multi task i.e. one can carry out various tasks at the same time over issues that are physically far spaced (Fernandez, Gonzales and Sabherwal 2004).
The electronic market is a technology which majorly applies to the people who are normal and do not face any challenges such as the disabilities (Saunders 1994). The electronic market is also mainly adopted by people who are elite and financially stable. This is so because the use of the internet requires literacy and purchase of the garget like computer and internet providers. This is so because most of the developing countries have faced a challenge in embracing this technology due to illiteracy and poverty in those regions. Though some forms of disabilities like lameness, deafness may not be greatly disadvantaged by this form of shopping, the blind are the people that are most disadvantaged in this sector. Since e-marketing is thoroughly involving sight and the computer, accessing the computer hardware by the blind is a great challenge.
In addition, the issue of shopping is a great problem as they can not even see and compare the items. Despite these major challenges about these people, there is a clear need to come up with ways that can incorporate them in this system of e-marketing so that they may enjoy the benefits and the conveniences created by this emarket. In this project the task of the blind people being able to access the information from the internet is going to be worked upon so as to come with a more convenient way that best suits them and their daily way of life.
Due to the vast market and choice available on the internet, this form of emarket for the blind will give them a chance to be part of the current technology and participate in the daily buying and selling of products online and even be able to access the advertisements and other information that are available on the internet about various products that are available on the business market. This would hence save them a lot of strain and discomfort experienced as they travel and move from one shop to another shopping for items and carrying them home, some of which they are unable to tell what they are but merely rely on the information given by people around them (Preston & Tracy 2006).
Incorporating the blind into the emarket
There is therefore a need for developments to be carried out that will enhance the internet access and allow the blind and other visually handicapped access the internet and the electronic Markets more easily and conveniently. This way, they would be assimilated into the wider population of internet users and hence they enjoy the different benefits realized fro the internet. Due to these challenges that the blind people face in shopping there is a need for the integration of the voice technology on the internet.
From research, it is proved that the blind people are very smart in the sense of hearing; hence introduction of the voice technology will suit them very much. Hence, in addition to the more captivating pictures and the classic description of items, the voice will also be a necessity to the achievement of the goal. There is hence a proposal for the integration of the voice technology as one of the facilities in the internet to help the blind people access the eMarkets more easily and conveniently through the internet.
The research am carrying out seeks to provide a proposal for the introduction of the voice technology in the electronic market hence solve the problem being experienced now where the blind are totally left behind when it comes to this technology. The study seeks to understand the blind people, their problems, how they are able to access the internet currently, the current technology aiding them in access of technology and then giving an overview of the way a voice e-Market may be used by the blind to access the online market (McConnell, Brue and Macpherson 2007).
Explanation of who a blind person
Trenton (2004), states that, a blind person is a person who can not partially or fully use his or her eyes. This is a person who is not able to fully or partially use his sense of sight. Blindness is an effect that can be caused by various factors which include sickness, accidents, brain malfunction and any other effects. Blindness is also an effect that some one can be born with, which may a rise maybe due to the sickness of the mother or lack of some crucial development minerals during the foetal growth.
This major defect of the blind has caused them very major problems as sight is one important factor that assists people respond to stimuli. Due to the problem of using their sense of sight, these people are taught other forms of communication like the Braille language and the sign language that assists them in the communication. As earlier noted, this form of communication can not actually be easily integrated into the internet hence the need to develop another better way to integrate them in this technology of electronic marketing.
Forms of communication used by the blind
Braille is the major form of communication in addition to audible voice that the blind people are able to use. Braille is the language of communication used by the blind people, which comprises of dots arranged in a specific order to communicate to the blind. It majorly utilises the sense of touch of the blind people as it is proved that they have the most advanced sense of touch. As much as Braille is one of the forms of communication, it is proved that not many people use Braille in communication as in is very hard to learn. In fact it is very challenging for most of the blind people to attend these classes especially in the underdeveloped countries due to the lack of support from their family members and the society at large. It is in act estimated that in the Great Britain, only two percent of the blind people are able to use the Braille language.
From this percent the numbers of blind people in the third world countries who are able to use the Braille language can be estimated to less than zero point five percent. Due to this major problem in this communication which could have involved reading and writing, it has made it very hard to incorporate these people in the modern world where everything is all about reading and writing in a language like English that is spread whole over the entire world (Wiig 1993).
The gap that exists between the normal people and the blind
A large gap has been created between the normal people and the blind people because of the challenge of sight. The sight has really limited the material that this people can access by themselves other than waiting for assistance from the normal people. The normal people are able to access various facilities like education, medication and so forth because of their normal nature and even the moral support of their family members and other people who are near them.
This has improved the way of life of the normal people on a daily basis. This is not the case with the blind as the family members and the people near them look down upon them, neglecting them and even sometimes considering them as bad omens in their society, hence taking them as people of less importance in the society. The blind people hence rely fully on the information they gather from the people who are near them to guide and advise them on what to and not to do. These people hence assist them in the visual aspect by translating to them visual information into a form that they can better understand.
This has been a great challenge for the blind as translation of the material into Braille as well as the equipment used in printing of Braille materials are very expensive limiting availability of such material to the blind and hence reducing their access to learning and reading amongst other factors. This can only be solved if the governments and other non governmental organizations can come in and assist these people acquire this equipment. In addition programs for educating these people the Braille language free of charge should be started (Trenton 2004).
There are current and quick-change taking place in the current world in technology and the computer world, not to neglect the internet. These forms of technology have actually opened a lot of opportunities to the entire world hence bringing an entire chance in the way of life for many people. This forms as mentioned are only limited to the elite of the society, hence the need for people whether normal or disabled to gain this knowledge.this will in turn reduce the gap that is between these two classes of people here the poor are being left behind in most aspects of life. The blind people should take on the advantage that they are more talented in some other fields that the normal person is not. It has been proven that the blind people have a very strong and developed sense of hearing.
They are able to differentiate different things with just a small hearing of the voice. In fact it is proved that the sense of hearing, listening, understanding and memory are above that of the normal human beings. It is just by hearing that the blind are able to comprehend various things that are happening in their environment and hence co exists with other normal people (Yin 1994). With this great sense in their system, with good guidance, the blind people can put this opportunity to very good use hence help them to live an almost normal life with the other normal people.
There have been a lot of developments that have been taking place to ensure that the blind tap their hearing and listening potential and apply it in various fields they interact with in their day today life. Audio tapes are a great facility that has been used in many ways for assimilating the blind into the learning, marketing, professional and other fields hence allowing them an equal chance of survival and such facets of life.
There are many inventions that have been made in the internet world to ensure that even the blind people have an access to internet and most of the facilities therein. One of these methods is the use of the virtual magnifying glass used by those with residual blindness and who can be able to see given some assistive equipment. The magnifying glass simply enlarges the words and the pictures that are displayed on the screen.
This has been of great assistance as they have been able to access the information that is on the internet in a more clear and vivid way. The people who are totally blind are the ones who have been greatly challenged in the sector of accessing this information. This has led to the development of more complicated technologies that can help them access this information on the internet so as to continue living the normal life and compete favourably with the normal people in the various sector of life like in this case the field of electronic market and shopping (Srivastava and Teo 2004).
The new innovations that try to keep the blind as part of the world
An innovation can be briefly described as a new discovery. This can also be due to the improvement of the already existing systems at our disposal. Various people have tried to come up with more comfortable and easy ways to be used by the handicapped especially the blind to the accessing of the internet. There are some specialized equipment that have been developed by scientists that are very sensitive to letter and word recognition, voice and speech recognition.
These are the major forms that the blind people can communicate with in their daily operations. Among the most sophisticated gargets that have been developed to assist the blind in the area of internet and surfing is the Braille surf. The Braille surf is a technique that displays text from the screen into a Braille bar, where the blind can be able to read it. More advanced applications of the Braille surf include the use of a speech synthesizer that recognizes the text and words on the screen and then reads it out loud for the blind person to hear it. This was one of the major break through in assisting the blind people be integrated in the fast changing era of computer, technology and the internet. Through this, the blind people have been able to utilise their very developed and sophisticated senses of touch and hearing to live a normal life (Sproul 1995).
The development of the other system called the ALVA Braille which utilizes the screen as the display and controlled by the normal operating system in our computers. The output of this garget is on a Braille bar or through the use of a voice/speech synthesizer that is it produces an audible voice than can be easily received by the blind people. This too impacted the life of the blind people as it was a major step in improving their life. Another similar technique that was innovated is the Brookes talk. This is a technique that assists the visually disabled people to use the function keys, hence help them to access and put the computer keyboard to use thus entering the information into the World Wide Web, the internet and other computer facilities. This had an overall role of incorporating the blind people into the world of computer as they can carry out various activities using the computer (Cope and Watts 2000).
Despite of the major innovations that have been developed to try and integrate the blind in the computer and the technology world, they still face major challenges in the using of these already designed gargets. This is because the use of these designed gargets is very complex and purely limited to the elite in the blind people fraternity. The designing of a website that can be used by the blind is a major field that so far, nobody has had a breakthrough.
Failure to develop such a website has still put the blind people to an uphill trying to deal with the system that was designed for the normal people. Therefore, even with access to the different hardware that may aid in access to internet, there are a lot of challenges on the translation of materials from different websites into what the blind people can be able to read and understand. Therefore, most of the websites, except very specific ones, have remained inaccessible to the blind people. Through this, there is need to design website that is purely for the blind that has all its input and output formats done in a language and format that the blind people understand (Burns 2001).
Though various innovations have been developed to help assist the blind about the issue of the internet and technology, this innovations still have some inefficiencies hence do not ultimately assist the blind people in this problem. Most of them have poor display and unusable forms of display of graphical features in the internet. As graphics are very crucial and inevitable in the field of the internet, it has really been enhanced for the normal people. This has however not been done in the gargets that are to be used by the blind people. This has for a long time locked them out in the enjoyment that comes with these graphics.
Due to the lack of some of these basic fundamentals in the field of the internet, there is need to formulation of more convenient and comfortable ways that the blind people can access the internet. However even with these challenges, there have been a lot of developments that have been taking place to ensure that the blind people tap their hearing and listening potential and apply it in various fields they interact with in their day today life. Audio tapes are a great facility that has been used in many ways for assimilating the blind into the learning, marketing, professional and other fields hence allowing them an equal chance of survival and such facets of life (Song 2006).
The major challenges facing the innovations
Due to the major challenges that are accompanying the efforts to try and assist the blind people be part of the technology, a proposal has been made on assimilation of the already invented technology into the world of marketing. This technology is aimed at ensuring that the blind people are able to access the internet and then access the markets available on the internet so that they are either able to market and sell their products or they are able to shop for goods and services and even purchase them online. Through this way, the blind people will be made part of the large available online market. In addition it will make them feel appreciated and recognized as part of the human race. Through this, the entire issue of business and market ill develop and even prosper (Smallbone & Welter 2001).
As noted earlier on, the emarket is the activity of the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet that is online. This is a market that comprises of different kinds of people from different regions of the world selling the widest variety of goods and services. Due to the wideness of the emarket it has a large demand and supply of goods and services from all over world. With the great diversity that exists in various regions of the world, we expect a very great diverse in the demand and supply of the goods and the services. The emarket is ever increasing in its service as the technology is spreading very fast in the whole of the world.
More regions of the world like the developing countries now have access to cheap and easily available internet. Through this, the market has greatly improved as these people are providing a very wide market. With the signs of the increasing use of the electronic marketing, there is no expectation that the use of the emarket will get to a stand still as the regions that ere once behind in technology are trying hard to catch up with the rest of the world. It is projected that in a few years time, electronic marketing is going to be the main and key form of shopping all over the world as is cheap, convenient and easy to use (Bruyat and Julien 2000).
Benefits of the innovations
As earlier discussed there is the need to include the voice recognition system and the speech synchronizer in the field of the technology applied in the electronic marketing. This will be a great boost to the overall market and the world of technology. This is because with its implementation, it will increase the number of the customers as the blind will also be made part of this emarket. This in turn will increase the demand and supply of the goods and the services.
Ultimately, it will lead to the overall growth and expansion of this sector of the emarket. The use of the voice recognition has already been made possible for the blind people to access the internet. What remains is to incorporate this technology into the emarket sector hence give the blind people the equal chance to participate in the purchase of the goods and services online (Miles and Snow 2003).
Voice recognition and voice technology
The application of the voice technology in the electronic market will serve the purpose which involves the use of text readers and the recognition devices which will be able to read the text from the World Wide Web and then translate them into audible voice that can then be easily understood by the blind people. The translation to the audible voice will mainly be done by the speech synthesis devices that are part of the gargets. Through this, the blind people will be given an equal opportunity to access the internet, surf and make a choice of goods and services that best suits them. Through this, they will also have a chance advertising all the types of goods and services they have and would like to sell them online.
One of the major and crucial requirements for any form of technology to be used in this field of emarket is its ability to be a better and convenient facility for the reading and interpretation of the graphical features on the internet. These facilities will be really needed as all the markets usually require display of the products being sold for the customers to have a better look at them and even compare between products. Through this the customers will have a wide chance to go through all the various goods displayed before making the choice of what best suits them (Alasdair, Gareth and Blenkhorn 2008).
Challenges facing the efforts to incorporate the blind in the field of electronic marketing
Though the issue of the voice technology in this field of emarket will be a major breakthrough, a great challenge still lie ahead as it is quite difficult to express the graphics inform of an audio output that can be appreciated by a person. This will in one way or the other still inconvenience the blind as the graphics play a major role in the choice of a product over the internet. Through this, a blind person will only be able to compare among items found online by listening to their description rather that by actually identifying them by the colour and the graphics used in their description.
Therefore, only the major characteristics will be possible to use for comparisons rather than the use of more specific and detailed features of the products for their comparison. This is a major problem as during shopping, most people tend to go for the finer details rather than the open obvious descriptions (Saunders 1994).
Though it is greatly agreed that there is a big break through in the issue of the use of the voice recognition in emarket, there is still a major stumbling block ahead of this technology. The great challenge is the cost of this equipment that will assist is the relaying of the internet facilities to the blind people. As earlier noted this system does not just merely involve the sound recognition system but rather is a combination of various aspect each of which is solved by a specific garget. The overall combination of the costs that will be involved in the combination of all these gargets together will be expensive.
Due to the high expenses in acquiring these gargets, very few blind people will acquire them hence leading to an overall less number that that which is targeted to use for internet for the purpose of the emarket. This major problem will be a major threat until when various economies will either decide to purchase the gargets or subsidise them for the poor and blind people.
In addition, there are some other items and aspects that are hard to be expressed are audible voice and are rather easily understood by seeing them. For instance it will be very hard to explain a totally new product to a blind person who has never heard of it or even used it in the whole of his life. Moreover, it will be hard to seek clarification over the internet if the blind person wants clarification over a specific issue or kind of product he has heard over the internet.
Lastly the issue of the emarket will continue to be a great challenge in the developing world as the issue of the World Wide Web is still a dream and will continue to remain to be the issue of the elite and the people of the urban areas. This is because; most of the regions in the developing countries are not supplied with electricity leaving alone getting computers and the internet.
However, even with the major challenges facing the inclusion of these technologies in the world of electronic marketing, there is a bright future and hope that these technologies will bring a great improvement in the field of electronic marketing. The benefits will be realized though at a slower rate at the start due to poverty and illiteracy, in the long run the benefits will be immense. Once the gargets are in use, there will be the need to educate the blind about them and most governments will take it as an initiative to subsidise the taxation on these goods hence increase the use of these gargets. In addition, the incorporation of these technologies in the emarket will be a great sign of humanity and care for the disabled.
This will make them feel appreciated and taken care of. This will in turn motivate and encourage them to actively take part in the buying and selling of goods and services on the internet. On the other side, there will be an enlargement and improvement of the eMarkets capacity as there will be entry of new and competent suppliers and consumers of products as well as an enlargement of the customer base for the products being sold online. This will hence increase the demand for goods and services online, a factor that will lead to the growth and the expansion of the broad electronic market (Hall & Young 1991).
Major discoveries that can bring a break through
The issue of technology is always evolving, what is considered a great discovery today might not be that special in a few years time. Hence there is need to think of other new systems that can be researched upon in the line of assisting the blind in their day today activities more so in areas related to the electronic marketing. There are other various researches that need to be tackled like creating a purely touch screen computer system whose display can be purely in Braille language thus enabling the communication with the blind people be purely touch and Braille language. We should also try to come up with systems that can simply pick the impressions from the facial expressions of the blind hence ease the work of communication. With this, it is evident that the field of technology can not be exhausted hence a research can go on to try as much as possible and make the life of our brothers and sisters as comfortable as possible.
Conclusion about the whole issue of including the blind in the emarket
In conclusion, the assimilation of technology into all the facets of life is an important part of life. There have been a lot of facilities available on the internet. These facilities are of great benefit to all that access them. A lot of developments have been undertaken to help everyone access the internet and hence enjoy the benefits thereof. From the internet a person is able to access and read any kind of information from all disciplines of life. It should be our responsibility to try and come up with more efficient and comfortable forms of technology that can be suited for the disabled brothers and sisters especially the blind.
As earlier noted, there has been a commendable job in trying to come up with more friendly and comfortable way of trying to make the blind people part of the changing technology especially the internet. This has included the use of text readers, voice recognition devices and speech synthesizers. Though they have faced a few challenges in their application, they have been of great help to the blind and even with some improvements they can have a major breakthrough in fully incorporating the blind into the society. This will in turn expand the area of business specifically the electronic market and shopping (Denzin and Lincoln 2007).
With the current clear indications that most people are utilising the electronic market in the buying and selling of the good and services, there is a need for everyone to have good access to the eMarkets and hence enjoy the variety of goods and services as well as the large base for the demand of goods and services available on the worldwide web all over the world. With all this benefits and improvements, we need not to leave the blind people behind but we need to have sleepless nights trying to come up with technologies that will make them part of this system. Through this they will feel appreciated and motivated. This will further increase the demand and supply of the goods and services on the internet and lead to an overall growth in the emarket.
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