European Commission Seeks to Improve Access to Rail Travel for Persons with Disabilities
The European Commission is making accessibility an essential requirement for rail infrastructure when newly built, upgraded or renewed. Accessibility can be achieved by preventing or removing barriers and through other measures such as provision of assistance. The rules apply to infrastructure (e.g. obstacle-free routes, ticketing, information desks, toilets, visual and spoken information, platform width and height, and boarding aids) and to rail carriages (e.g. doors, toilets, wheelchair spaces, and information).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/03/18/european-commission-seeks-to-improve-access-to-rail-travel-for-persons-with-disabilities/, March 18, 2013
Making Workplaces more Accessible through Innovation
Each year high school students from around the country compete in the AbilityOne Design Challenge, an annual competition encouraging students to develop assistive technologies that empower people with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment. The top five finalists all go to Washington D.C. to present their prototype and the winners take $5,000 back to their school. NISH, a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities, sponsors the event. On February 15, 2013 this year’s winners were announced.
From http://www.forbes.com/sites/judyowen/2013/03/03/innovation-for-accessibility/, March 16, 2013
Universal Accessibility: A New Conversation About Web Accessibility
Hundreds of millions of people can't access all the benefits of the internet. Dyslexia, visual impairments and literacy issues impact around 15-20% of people. The result is that the internet is a challenging environment to navigate. Making the internet fully accessible - the most universal, advanced, democratic communication tool ever created - is an important issue. Barriers to entry shouldn't exist. The accessibility technology sector should be focusing on creating, and promoting, solutions for this market. That isn't always the case. The problem is that many accessibility companies seem intent on lobbying governments to lower those barriers, instead of developing better solutions to overcome them.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dominic-tarn/universal-accessibility-a_b_2667341.html, March 16, 2013
Video: GSMA Launches Mobile Policy Handbook
One role of the GSMA is to articulate the common views of its global members on public policy and regulatory issues. Sometimes these views take the form of a ‘consultation response’, whereby the GSMA responds to a government’s outreach to industry on a particular issue. Often, a commissioned report or white paper encapsulates an industry position, or lays out the argument for a specific policy approach. Now, for the first time, the GSMA has collected its global policy positions under one virtual cover — the Mobile Policy Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to the Issues. The handbook currently comprises 32 topics, ranging from spectrum harmonization to mobile phone theft and international mobile roaming.
From http://www.gsma.com/newsroom/video-gsma-launches-mobile-policy-handbook, March 15, 2013
International Federation of Red Cross Releases Trilogy Emergency Relief App
The International Telecommunication Union reports that there are nearly six billion mobile-cellular subscriptions worldwide in 2011 – and a notable 79 per cent penetration in the developing world. That means mobile-enabled early warning systems could continue to transform the way humanitarian organizations deliver aid, build long-term resilience in concert with affected communities. With that in mind, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has developed TERA (Trilogy Emergency Relief Application). Born out of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti through our partnership with Trilogy International Partners, this SMS-based, two-way communication system enables the Red Cross to send blasts of messages to defined segments of a population. Amy Greber, social media officer, says in this blog about TERA: "To date, we have sent 100 million messages to nearly 3.25 million people in Haiti with critical advice on cholera prevention, first aid and, most recently, Hurricane Sandy preparedness."
From http://forums.techsoup.org/cs/community/f/13/p/37195/126284.aspx#126284, March 15, 2013
EU Highlights App Privacy Requirements
European authorities said that informed user consent for apps accessing personal data is essential for compliance with data protection law. The Article 29 Working Party outlined specific obligations of app developers, stores, ad networks and OS and device manufacturers, with particular emphasis on apps targeting children. Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Article 29 Working Party, said apps that access personal data without “the free and informed consent of users” are in breach of European data protection law and could create “significant risks to the private life and reputation of users”.
From www.mobileworldlive.com/eu-highlights-app-privacy-requirements?utm_campaign=eu-highlights-app-privacy-requirements, March 15, 2013
Fujitsu Smart Cane now with Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi
The classic walking cane has been recently revamped by Fujitsu. The new smart cane from the company adds sophisticated technology to the traditional cane by including Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi and a cellular radio. The front of the cane features multi-color LED lights that light up to show directions using the GPS. Green arrows show the direction to walk in and red flashes alert users to upcoming turns. Additional sensors on the device can monitor temperature, humidity and heart rate and can notify loved ones of abnormal vital signs. Loves ones can then remotely send directions to a hospital or safe resting location.
From http://hpectechtrends.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/fujitsu-smart-cane/, March 15, 2013
UK: Transport for London Accessible Apps Competition
Transport for London is partnering with OneVoice to promote a competition to improve the variety of accessible apps providing real time travel information in London. As part of the competition developers are being invited to apply with ideas for a new travel app which will make Transport for London (TfL) realtime data more accessible to a far wider audience than mainstream Apple/Android apps. The winning entries will receive development support from TfL and a cash prize.
From http://www.onevoiceict.org/news/transport-london-accessible-apps-competitionhttp://www.onevoiceict.org/news/transport-london-accessible-apps-competition, March 13, 2013
American Foundation for the Blind Launches Described TV Listings for People with Vision Loss
Wondering what's on TV with video description? Finding out just got much easier. Today, AFB launched Described TV Listings, a new, web-based search tool that helps people with vision loss quickly find described TV programming in their area. For those unfamiliar with video description, it's a verbal description of the action and visual elements of a TV show. It helps people who are blind or visually impaired more easily follow what's happening on the screen.
From http://www.afb.org/blog.aspx?BlogID=7&BlogEntryID=646, March 13, 2013
Nomensa Launches Accessibility Declaration Tool
Digital agency Nomensa has launched the Accessibility Statement Generator (ASG). According to the company, the ASG “enables users to create a declaration for their website that defines the level of web accessibility, against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG2), that the site aims to achieve”.
From http://www.netmagazine.com/news/nomensa-launches-accessibility-declaration-tool-132613, March 13, 2013