ITU's 3rd Green App Challenge Targets Urban Sustainability
ITU together with Telefónica will today launch the 3rd Green ICT Application Challenge. A prize of 5,000 US dollars will be awarded to the application that best helps to promote Smart Sustainable Cities and environmental sustainability in urban areas. The impact of urban areas on natural resources necessitates a path of sustainable growth and development for the expansion of cities. It is expected that 70 per cent of the world population will be urban by 2050, and that most of this growth will occur in less developed countries. Cities currently emit 71 per cent of total greenhouse gases and consume between 60 and 80 per cent of the world’s energy. Innovative use of ICTs can drive solutions to make cities more efficient and sustainable.
From http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2012/Advisory-22.aspx#.UNLdqKwhF5s, December 20, 2012
USA: FEMA Continues Innovations to Meet Access and Functional Needs Integration
Five tools new to help people who are deaf, hard of hearing or blind are being used for Hurricane Sandy disaster response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At New York disaster recovery centers, survivors who are blind or have low vision are using text-to-speech software and a variety of magnifiers to access FEMA information. Survivors who are deaf or hard of hearing are offered enhanced listening devices, iPad 3s with real-time-video remote sign language interpreting apps, and captioned phones to get disaster recovery information accessible to them.
From http://www.fema.gov/news-release/fema-continues-innovations-meet-access-and-functional-needs-integration, December 20, 2012
NVDA and PDF Table Accessibility
Most significantly, NVDA now associates column and row headers with their respective data cells. As in JAWS, if you press Ctrl + Alt + left or right arrow to move along a row, NVDA will read the column header(s), the column number and then the cell contents. Likewise, if you press Ctrl + Alt + down or up arrow, NVDA will read the row header(s), the row number and then the cell contents.
From http://www.pws-ltd.com/sections/articles/2012/nvda-pdf-table-accessibility.html, December 20, 2012
European Commission Adopts Seven New Priorities for Digital Economy and Society
The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, but this potential is currently held back by a patchy pan-European policy framework. Today's priorities follow a comprehensive policy review and place new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe. European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "2013 will be the busiest year yet for the Digital Agenda. My top priorities are to increase broadband investment and to maximize the digital sector's contribution to Europe's recovery."
From http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-1389_en.htm, December 20, 2012
AMI Receives the FCC Chairman's Award for the Advancement of Accessibility
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today that it has been declared the winner of the Annual Chairman's Award for Advancement in Accessibility in the Video Programming Device Solutions category, as presented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. The Chairman's Award for Advancement in Accessibility is a FCC project coordinated by the Commission's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative that recognizes outstanding, innovative products, services, technologies or practices introduced to the public between July 31, 2011 and July 31, 2012 that were specifically designed to advance accessibility for people with disabilities.
From http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20121206-909196.html?mod=crnews, December 19, 2012
Digital Revolution Changing Lives of Students with Disabilities
It's new technology that is fundamentally changing how blind people interact with their world, but it appears the digital revolution is just getting started when it comes to improving the lives of people with all sorts of disabilities. Some of the developments border on the magical, compared with what was available 20 years ago. Schools are the places where people first encounter them.
From http://gazettextra.com/news/2012/feb/26/digital-revolution-changing-lives-students-disabil/, December 19, 2012
Resource: 10 Free Screen Readers for Blind or Visually Impaired Users
It is not difficult for a sighted person to imagine how being blind or visually impaired could make using a computer difficult. Just close your eyes and you will instantly experience that even processing text is impossible – or impossible without additional software at least. Now a range of software is available that can help to make using a computer an easier, more enjoyable and more productive experience for blind or visually impaired users.
From http://usabilitygeek.com/10-free-screen-reader-blind-visually-impaired-users/, December 19, 2012
Accessibility Added to Kindle Fire as Blind Group Plans Protest
Amazon has announced it will add accessibility features to its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets, increasing access to content on the tablets for blind and vision impaired users. This comes after the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in the US announced it would stage a protest against Amazon's plan to push the use of its Kindle devices and eBooks at schools.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/general/accessibility-added-to-kindle-fire-as-blind-group-plans-protest, December 19, 2012
USA: FCC's Text-to-911 Service not yet Viable; Call for Public Comment on Proposed Requirements
On December 12, 2012, the FCC proposed to require all wireless carriers, including certain providers of text messaging applications, such as iMessage, to make it possible for customers to send text messages to 911. The four largest wireless carriers have already voluntarily committed to make texting to 911 possible by May 15, 2014. However, because most 911 centers are not ready to accept text messages now, the FCC also proposed to require, by June 30, 2013, automated “bounce-back” error messages to consumers who send text messages to such 911 centers that are not ready to receive these messages. In other words, if you send a text message to a 911 center that does not have the ability to accept text calls, after June 30, 2013, that center will have to send you back a text message that informs you that you need to reach 911 in another way. These messages will continue until that center is able to receive emergency calls in text.
From http://www.fcc.gov/document/text-911-further-notice-proposed-rulemaking, December 19, 2012
Technology Treating our Healthcare Issues
For anyone who has recently visited an emergency room, you probably weren’t shocked to hear that 90 per cent of patients are left waiting longer than four hours before being treated following the release of the National Health Performance Authority’s report into hospital performance. However, you may be surprised to know that Australia has one of the highest per capita spending on healthcare around the world.
From http://drneelesh.visibli.com/share/YoRbxD, December 18, 2012