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Canada: Ontario Appoints New Chair to Lead Accessibility Advisory Council
Ontario has appointed Rich Donovan as the new Chair of the province’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (ASAC). The Council is responsible for providing high-level strategic advice to the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure on matters related to the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. Mr. Donovan is a globally renowned authority on disability and corporate profitability. He has helped provide clients and global governments with insights to frame disability as a global emerging market. He is also the publisher of The Global Economics of Disability Annual Report and his expertise on the scope and value of the disability market is sought by businesses, government and non-government organizations around the world.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/17/ontario-appoints-new-chair-to-lead-accessibility-advisory-council/, December 17, 2015

Saudi Arabia: Mobily Launches Project to Support Children with Disabilities
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has launched ‘Mobily Customers’ project to support the Disabled Children’s Association, under the patronage of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. For this purpose, a unified number 5050 has been allocated to the charity and all proceeds from donations through the code will be channeled towards ‘Khair Makkah’ project, said a statement. The agreement, in this regard was signed between Prince Sultan, chairman of Disabled Children’s Association and Mobily CEO at Al Faisaliah Hotel as part of the Second National Forum for recruiting people with disabilities, in the presence of a large number of company officials, members of board and directors and members of the charitable association, it said.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/17/mobily-launches-project-to-support-children-with-disabilities/, December 17, 2015

USA: IoT Spending Forecast to Reach $1.3 Trillion by 2019
According to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) Spending Guide, worldwide spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow at a 17.0% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from $698.6 billion in 2015 to nearly $1.3 trillion in 2019. On a geographic basis, Asia/Pacific is the clear leader when it comes to IoT spending with more than 40% of the worldwide total coming from this region in 2015. North America and Western Europe are the second and third largest regions with combined spending of more than $250 billion in 2015. The regions that will experience the fastest growth in IoT spending over the five-year forecast period are Latin America (26.5% CAGR), followed by Western Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe.
From http://www.machinetomachinemagazine.com/2015/12/14/iot-spending-forecast-to-reach-1-3-trillion-by-2019/, December 15, 2015

New Zealand: Disability Action Plan and Disability Strategy being updated
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today released the updated Disability Action Plan 2014 – 2018 and announced the first steps in the revision of the New Zealand Disability Strategy. “The Disability Action Plan brings together multiple government agencies to act on disability issues and is jointly governed with Disabled People’s Organisations. It was updated to make sure it was relevant and focused on the issues that are the most important to disabled people and the disability sector,” Ms Wagner says. “There was strong interest, with multiple disability organizations providing feedback and more than 50 official submissions received during public consultation.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/15/disability-action-plan-and-disability-strategy-being-updated/, December 15, 2015

Bangladesh: Dhaka Calls for Inclusion in DRR
There was a resounding call for greater inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in disaster risk management worldwide if the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is to deliver on its promise of being people-centered. Participants at the Dhaka Conference on Disability and Disaster Risk Management in Bangladesh, adopted a strong declaration calling for inclusion and leadership of persons with disabilities within all disaster risk management programs. At least two countries per region should have representation of persons with disabilities on all disaster management committees by the end of 2017, given their higher rates of mortality in disaster events.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/15/dhaka-call-for-inclusion-in-drr/, December 15, 2015

Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Education Launches Program for Students with Disabilities in Riyadh
This educational program is the first of its kind that has been launched in the regions and governorates in the Kingdom,” said Mohammed Al-Mirshid, director general of the Department of Education in Riyadh region. Called “My start”, the program aims to encourage students with disabilities to explore hidden talents and excel in their fields of interest. The program is backed by lectures and social events to inform and educate the community about disabilities. Meanwhile, the Department of Education recently announced to public high school students an initiative called “Twenty students in twenty schools”. Under the initiative, 20 students will be recruited from 20 high schools and they will undergo development in culture, talent as well as scientific research. The initiative is in collaboration with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/15/ministry-of-education-launches-program-for-students-with-disabilities/, December 15, 2015

SwiftKey Launches Communication App for People Who are Non-Verbal
SwiftKey, the predictive smartphone keyboard company, wants to help people who are non-verbal communicate with others. The company launched a new “assistive” symbol-based communication app called ‘SwiftKey Symbols’, which it says can be used to build sentences using pictures. SwiftKey staff who have family members with autism came up with the idea of developing an assistive app. This team visited Riverside School in southwest England earlier this year, where the pupils have a range of learning disabilities and many are on the autistic.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/14/swiftkey-launches-communication-app-for-people-who-are-non-verbal/, December 15, 2015

Indian Government Frames Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings
The government has formulated guidelines to make all government and private buildings, including malls, restaurants and public dealing offices, accessible to persons with disabilities and older people. The Union urban development ministry, after a year’s spadework, has prepared “harmonized guidelines and space standards for barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities”. The 100-page document lists out detailed specifications for all new buildings, including specifications on access to buildings, provision of accessible toilets, specifications of walkways, floor patterns, illumination levels, door handles, lifts, height of public telephones, vending machines, ATMs and drop boxes.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/14/indian-government-frames-accessibility-guidelines-for-buildings/, December 14, 2015

USA: Fight Against Climate Change Starts at a Smart Home
New technology that taps into the Internet of Things could help make our homes smarter and greener, with potential savings for consumers, benefits for the planet, and opportunities for investors, according a recent Morgan Stanley Research report, "Consumers and Climate Change: The Home Energy Efficiency Opportunity." The burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) promises to make our houses smarter and more energy efficient, passing cost savings to consumers, creating opportunities for investors and perhaps most importantly, benefiting the planet in the process, according to the report.
From http://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/fight-against-climate-change-starts-at-home.html?cid=sm_corp_lnk_dec_2_2015, December 11, 2015

USA: Bracelet to Help People with Vision Disabilities Navigate
Sunu, a startup focused on assistive wearable technology, announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign designed to raise at least $50,000 to help bring a new generation of its product to market. The award-winning technology powers a sonar smart-bracelet called the Sunu Band, providing enhanced mobility and independence for people who are blind and low vision. The campaign also offers Sunu Tags, helping owners track and retrieve personal items. “From my own experience, independent mobility for people living with vision disabilities can be especially frustrating and stressful,” said Fernando Albertorio, Sunu’s CEO and co-founder, and a entrepreneur with vision disability. “The current aids in the market are simply too expensive, not intuitive and tend to label or stigmatize the user, causing many people to opt-out. A user-centered design creates functional but discreet and intuitive devices.”
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/09/bracelet-to-help-people-with-vision-disabilities-navigate/, December 11, 2015

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