[LINK] Fwd: vip-l: FW: [bits] NCD Explores Emerging Technology Trends

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Tue Jan 23 20:24:32 AEDT 2007

>         From: Mark Quigley <MQuigley at NCD.GOV
>Subject: NCD Explores Emerging Technology Trends and Provides Strategies for
>Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 14:48:23 -0500
>NCD #06-528
>December 27, 2006
>Contact: Mark S. Quigley
>202-272-2074 TTY
>National Council on Disability Explores Emerging Technology Trends and
>Provides Strategies for Change
>WASHINGTON¯The National Council on Disability
>(NCD) today released Over the Horizon: Potential Impact of Emerging Trends
>in Information and Communication Technology on Disability Policy and
>a policy paper that explores key trends in information and communication
>technology, highlights the potential opportunities and problems these trends
>present for people with disabilities, and suggests some strategies to
>maximize opportunities and avoid potential problems and barriers.
>The technologies used in information and communication products are
>advancing at an ever increasing rate. Devices are getting smaller, lighter,
>cheaper, and more capable. Electronics are being incorporated into
>practically everything, making a wide variety of products programmable, and
>thus more flexible. Computing power is increasing exponentially.
>According to NCD chairperson John R. Vaughn, "The more reliant society
>becomes on technology to perform fundamental aspects of every-day living,
>how we work, communicate, learn, shop, and interact with our environment ,
>the more imperative it is that people with disabilities have access to that
>same technology, and the more costly will be the consequences of failure to
>ensure access."
>This paper discusses technology trends that present opportunities for
>universally designed products, and for improved availability, usability, and
>affordability of assistive technology that can have significant impact on
>quality of life for people with disabilities.
>The first trend discussed is the ever-increasing computational power plus
>the decreasing size and cost of technology-resulting in technology that is
>more portable, affordable, and for which it is easier to build in access.
>Second, advances in interface technology are creating new opportunities for
>better assistive technologies, more accessible mainstream technologies, and
>entirely new ways for users to control both.
>Third, new advances will soon enable people to be connected to communication
>and information networks, at any time, wherever they are-making real time
>assistance only a button press or voice command away. Finally, the
>proliferation of virtual places via the World Wide Web is changing the way
>we approach communications, education, work, and commerce - increasing
>access to goods and services without the need to leave home.
>Many of the same technological advances that show great promise of improved
>accessibility, however, also have the potential to create new barriers for
>people with disabilities. The following are some emerging technology trends
>that are causing accessibility problems.
>*        Devices will continue to get more
>complex to operate before they get simpler. This is already a problem for
>mainstream users, but even more of a problem for people with cognitive
>disabilities and people who have cognitive decline due to aging.
>*        Increased use of digital controls
>(e.g., push buttons used in combination with displays, touch screens, etc.)
>is creating problems for people with blindness, cognitive, and other
>*        The shrinking size of products is
>creating problems for people with physical and visual disabilities.
>*        The trend toward closed systems, for
>digital rights management or security reasons, is preventing people from
>adapting devices to make them accessible, or from attaching assistive
>technology so they can access the devices.
>*        Increasing use of automated
>self-service devices, especially in unattended locations, is posing problems
>for some, and absolute barriers for others.
>*        The decrease of face-to-face
>interaction, and increase in e-business, e-government, e-learning,
>e-shopping, etc., is resulting in a growing portion of our everyday world
>and services becoming inaccessible to those who are unable to access these
>Internet-based places and services, particularly when the Web sites are not
>created in accordance with Web accessibility standards.
>In addition, the incorporation of new
>technologies into products is causing products to advance beyond current
>accessibility techniques and strategies. The rapid churn of mainstream
>technologies, that is, the rapid replacement of one product by another, is
>so fast that neither assistive technology nor technology-specific
>accessibility standards are keeping pace. Without action, the gap between
>the mainstream technology products being introduced and the assistive
>technologies necessary to make them accessible will increase, as will the
>numbers of technologies for which no accessibility adaptations are
>The paper sets forth the following issues for action:
>*        Maximize the effectiveness of assistive
>technologies and lower their cost. Key strategy:
>Foster results oriented R & D all the way to commercial availability.
>*        Maximize the accessibility of
>mainstream information and communication technology products, so that people
>with disabilities and seniors can use standard products as they encounter
>them. Key strategies:
>Increase funding for research, proof of concept, and commercial hardening of
>approaches to accessible design of mainstream products to advance
>understanding in this area.
>*        Ensure that access to the Internet and
>other virtual environments is provided, as it has been to physical places of
>public accommodation.
>*        Address new barriers to the
>accessibility of digital media caused by digital
>rights management, including when visual and audio rights are sold
>*        Base all policy regarding information
>and communication technology accessibility on a
>realization of the importance of the business
>case. Where a solid business case cannot be
>built based on market forces alone, create
>accessibility regulations and effective
>enforcement mechanisms that provide a clear
>profit advantage to those who comply and a disadvantage to those who do not.
>*        Create accessibility laws and
>regulations that are not technology specific,
>but are based on the functions of a device.
>*        Ensure that up-to-date information
>about accessible mainstream technology and
>assistive technology is available to and being used by the public.
>"The policies we adopt today will determine
>whether the technology of the future empowers
>people with disabilities, enabling them to work,
>learn, communicate, shop, and live independent,
>productive lives as full and equal members of society," Vaughn concluded.
>For more information, please contact Julie
>Carroll or Mark S. Quigley at 202-272-2004 or 202-272-2074 TTY.
># # #
>Mark S. Quigley
>Director of Communications
>National Council on Disability
>1331 F Street, NW Suite 850
>Washington, DC 20004

Jan Whitaker
JLWhitaker Associates, Melbourne Victoria
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
personal: http://www.janwhitaker.com/personal/
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'Seed planting is often the most important step. 
Without the seed, there is no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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