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 Monday, August 26, 2013

In the latest ITU blog, Miguel Raimilla, Executive Director of the Telecentre.org Foundation, writes on accessibility differences faced by today's youth. One of the subjects of the next Global Youth Summit in Costa Rica. More

Monday, August 26, 2013 10:21:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Living in a converged world – impossible without standards? That’s the question posed as the title of the sixth ITU Kaleidoscope academic conference. Kaleidoscope 2014 will be hosted by Bonch-Bruevich Saint-Petersburg State University of Telecommunications (SPbSUT), Russian Federation, 3-5 June 2014.

Kaleidoscope events are peer-reviewed academic conferences that increase dialogue between academics and experts working on ICT standardization.

Kaleidoscope 2014 is calling for academic papers offering innovative approaches to research on the role of ICT standardization in today’s global economy characterized by accelerating convergence of industry sectors and technologies.

The conference will uncover ideas to leverage this convergence in service of the public interest. It will highlight areas where ICT standards will improve energy efficiency and ease the introduction of new services in fields spanning healthcare, education, transport, banking, energy and more. The event will also explore means to enhance the inclusivity of the Information Society; addressing the demands of people with disabilities, and the need for standards to be accessible to people of different countries and languages.

Kaleidoscope 2014 is being organized by ITU with the technical co-sponsorship of the IEEE ComSoc, the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE) of Japan and the Popov Society of the Russian Federation. Partners in the organization of 2014’s event are the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation; Waseda University; the Institute of Image Electronics Engineers of Japan (I.I.E.E.J.); the European Academy for Standardization (EURAS); the University of the Basque Country; and Tampere University of Technology.

A Call for Papers has been issued and invites submissions until 25 November 2013. A prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers. Selected papers will be published in the conference’s proceedings and in IEEE Xplore. The best papers will be evaluated for potential publication in IEEE Communications Magazine. In addition, selected papers will be considered for publication in the International Journal of Technology Marketing or the International Journal of IT Standards & Standardization Research. Young authors presenting a paper at the conference will receive Young Author Recognition certificates.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact the ITU-T Kaleidoscope secretariat at kaleidoscope@itu.int.

For additional information, please see Kaleidoscope 2014’s webpage here.

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013 4:57:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 28, 2013

Lucía Ramón Torres, a Mexican lawyer working as an advisor to the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva, has written an ITU blog post illustrating how ICTs are the key tool for performing her professional work, and how they can be the key for the full digital inclusion of thousands of persons with disabilities around the world.

Read the full text on ITU blog here.

Friday, June 28, 2013 2:53:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 06, 2013

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on Disability and Development, 23 September 2013, stakeholders are encouraged to participate in a global consultation aimed at building an inclusive Information Society for all.

The consultation is a joint initiative from the Broadband Commission, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ICT), the International Disability Alliance, ITU, Microsoft, the Telecentre.org Foundation and UNESCO.

Read the full story on the ITU blog by Ambassador Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations Office in Geneva and Chairperson of G3ICT.

Thursday, June 06, 2013 9:46:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 05, 2013

“It is with the deepest regret that I announce the death of my colleague and close friend, Dr. Cynthia Waddell, a lifelong advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities and a world-renowned expert in disability rights law, public policy and electronic and information technology.

The improving accessibility of technologies, the built environment and the job market owes an incredible amount to Cynthia’s achievements over a lifetime dedicated to enhancing social inclusion for the roughly 650 million people across the world living with some form of disability.

Cynthia was held in the highest esteem by all those fortunate enough to have worked with her. She will be sorely missed by her colleagues, friends and the millions of people around the globe to have benefited from her tireless advocacy and activism.”*

*This is an extract from a blog piece in tribute to Cynthia Waddell. Entitled “Accessibility Loses a Great Champion”, the article is authored by Andrea Saks, Convener of ITU’s Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF) and Coordinator of the Internet Governance Forum’s Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD).

Read the full blog piece here

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Friday, April 05, 2013 4:00:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 28, 2012
 Monday, September 10, 2012
 Wednesday, March 28, 2012
ITU Workshop on “Making Television Accessible - from Idea to Reality” hosted and supported by NHK Tokyo, Japan, 28 May 2012

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012 1:42:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 20, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012 2:12:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 03, 2011
Meeting of Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF) , Geneva, Switzerland, 24 November 2011

Online Registration

JCA-AHF

 

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Thursday, November 03, 2011 4:48:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ITU is calling for contributions to a workshop on relay services for persons with disabilities. The event will take place at ITU Headquarters, Geneva on 25 November 2011.

Relay services allow people with disabilities to communicate with standard telephone users. Communication may be made by speech, text, video or any combination. Video connections are particularly important for those who wish to use sign language. Modern relay services are making increasing use of the Internet, which permits a much wider range of communication terminals for users with disabilities. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and normal desktop PCs have all been used and more devices will appear in the future.

Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) promotes the use of ICTs to enable full participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life, on an equal basis with others. It requires governments to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to communications and information technology. The increasing number of countries adopting the UNCRPD will need advice on the provision of relay services and this workshop aims to meet that need. ITU-T Question 26/16 is currently studying relay services with an aim to advise in those areas through ITU-T Technical Papers and Recommendations. In this context, the workshop is intended as a forum where ideas, problems and good practices can be shared. Existing and future relay service suppliers will be able to share experiences with governments, regulators, standards makers, user groups and users; the outcomes will be fed into the Q26/16 studies.

This workshop will address the following topics:

  • Experience with operation of relay services, both positive and negative
  • User requirements
  • Performance parameters
  • Innovation in the design or implementation of relay services
  • The use of relay services to access emergency services
  • Regulatory aspects
  • Funding of relay services
  • User experiences that have improved the lives of persons with disabilities
  • Good practices on improving awareness of relay services.

Anyone wishing to make a presentation during the event should contact the organiser, Bill Pechey, (bpechey@computency.co.uk, +44 1491 681236) by 31 August 2011 at the latest. Requests will be honoured based on speaking slot availability and thematic consistency.  Contributions on other topics relevant to the theme may be accepted.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011 8:39:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The kick off meeting of the Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (FG AVA) took place on 26 May 2011 and was a great success.
 
There was wide participation from key stakeholders, both physically and virtually using remote participation tools. Those participating included universities and research centres, organizations representing persons with disabilities, AV media companies, network and service providers, vendors, organizations representing consumer electronics manufacturers, WIPO, government and regulatory bodies. The aim of this first meeting was to define the scope of the Group’s work – interpret the objectives, define core terms and agree on procedures.
 
The Focus Group addressed the need to mainstream audiovisual media accessibility focusing on making digital media accessible for all, in particular for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
 
It was decided to organize the work within the following areas:
  • Captioning
  • Audio/Video description and spoken captions
  • Visual signing and sign language
  • Emerging access services
  • Electronic Programming Guides and on-air promotion
  • Participation and digital media
  • Digital Broadcast Television
  • IPTV
  • Mobile and handheld devices
  • Key Performance Indicators for the accessibility of broadcast television, IPTV and metadata, mobile and hand-held devices        
 
Eight deliverables were agreed, one of which covers guidelines on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. During the 18-month life of the Focus Group, participants will collect issues and problems related to implementation of the Convention as well as real-world problems from persons with disabilities and persons with age-related functional impairments. In addition it will collect examples of good practice through case studies and other means, and prepare guidelines for the inclusion of access services in all new digital AV user devices.

The next meeting will take place 15 September 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011 9:24:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The first meeting of the Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility will take place in Geneva 26 May.

The group, open to all, will address the need to make audiovisual media accessible for all, but in particular, persons with disabilities. It will encourage the concept of universal design, the development of services taking into account the needs of all users, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Interoperability of devices and features that boost accessibility will also be an area of discussion.

One expected deliverable of the group will be guidelines on the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. Focus Group participants will collect issues and problems related to implementation of the Convention as well as real-world problems from persons with disabilities and persons with age-related functional impairments. In addition it will collect examples of good practice through case studies and other means, and prepare guidelines for the inclusion of access services in all new digital AV user devices.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011 3:30:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF), Geneva, 2 June 2011

On-line Registration

Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF)


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:11:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (FG AVA) , Geneva, Switzerland, 26 May 2011

Meeting Announcement (TSB Circular 191)

On-line Registration

Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (FG AVA)

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011 9:16:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 24, 2010
An international workshop on accessibility has identified priority areas where the development of International Standards could ease the lives of the estimated 650 million people worldwide with some form of accessibility problem.

The workshop “Accessibility and the contribution of International Standards” was organized on 3 to 5 November 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland, by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), which is the focal point for strategic cooperation set up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). A core objective of the workshop was to lay the groundwork for a road map of future initiatives on accessibility standards and related support for these standards, with the involvement of the key stakeholders.

After three days of input and discussion, the recommendations were viewed as highest priority for consideration by the WSC organizations:
  • Establish a "Strategic Advisory Group on Accessibility” between the WSC organizations
  • Develop a common accessibility policy between the WSC organizations
  • Encourage national members of the WSC organizations to actively promote the implementation of accessibility standards
  • Strengthen WSC organization linkages with the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and with disabilities organizations
  • Revise ISO/IEC Guide 71: 2001, Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities, to ensure consistent concepts in the area of accessibility
  • Identify accessibility-related content in proposed new standards of the WSC organizations
The workshop – which was supported by sign language interpretation – explored how International Standards could strengthen accessibility aspects in the design of products, services, environments and facilities. Break-out groups addressed the following subjects:
  • Accessibility and everyday products
  • Accessibility and buildings
  • eAccessibility and eInclusion
The workshop was opened by Rob Steele, ISO Secretary-General; Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, and  Gabriel Barta, Head of Technical Coordination, IEC Central Office, representing the IEC General Secretary.
 
Welcoming the participants, Rob Steele, highlighted the importance of identifying and understanding the areas where standards are needed and where the three organizations can work together. He said: “There are particular benefits and opportunities in using the standards process to gather representatives from a diversity of interests who may not usually meet together to discuss and resolve accessibility issues. The issue requires input from government, regulators, policy makers, industry, accessibility equipment providers, civil society NGOs, accessibility organizations, academia and researchers.
 
Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication standardization Bureau, declared: “The recent ITU Plenipotentiary Conference held in Mexico adopted the first ever Resolution on ICTs and accessibility which endorses and reinforces the actions we have initiated in recent years: facilitating the active participation of persons with disabilities in our work, for example by providing captioning and sign language, and wheel chair access etc.  All our new standards have to be checked to ensure they meet accessibility criteria. Many of the new ICT devices to assist persons with disabilities need international standards to ensure interoperability."
Gabriel Barta, Head of technical coordination, IEC Central Office, stated: "At the IEC, the need of persons with temporary or permanent disabilities are taken very seriously. We have issued at free guide that helps standards developers and manufacturers to build those needs into their work. We're delighted at the very positive outcome and the many promising directions that have been identified in the workshop, and look forward to seeing them implemented."
 
Participants in the workshop agreed that as a background to the recommendations, they wished to underline that “Accessibility” is not limited to addressing the needs of persons with disabilities, elderly people or persons with temporary impairments, but aims at the usability of a product, service, environment or facility by people with the widest range of capabilities.
 
Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, environment or facility is usable by as many people as possible, including by persons with disabilities. Its importance is underlined by the fact that the number of persons with disabilities, either congenital, acquired or as a result of age is estimated to be around 650 million worldwide. International standardization can be a powerful tool for strengthening accessibility in all the above areas by setting the same standards for use worldwide.
 
Key stakeholder groups participating in the Geneva workshop included disability organizations and consumer groups, governments and regulators, product designers, manufacturers and industry addressing accessibility needs, and standards developers from around the world. Under discussion were the current and future needs in the field of accessibility, as well as the possible contributions international standardization can make in facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.
 
Among those attending the opening plenary were: Wan Hea Lee, on behalf of Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Convention for the rights of persons with disabilities; Imed Eddine Chaker, International Disability Alliance, represented through the Arab Organization of Disabled Persons, Chairman of the Tunisian National Union of the Blind (UNAT); Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, Unit for the Integration of People with Disabilities, and Joan Durocher (USA), Executive Director, US National Council on Disability.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:38:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 16, 2010
A copy of the guidance note for the United Nations country teams to include the rights of persons with disabilities in their programming at country level has been recently published by the United Nations Development Group /Inter-Agency Support Group for the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The guidance note is a crucial tool for the UN Country teams and can play a significant role in supporting States to implement the UN Convention. This will be carried out through the design and implementation of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and through the work of individual agencies in their areas of mandate, ITU being one of the agencies actively working in this area.

Copy of the guidance note is available in the section Resources on accessibility in the ITU-T accessibility portal at:
http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/accessibility/Pages/default.aspx

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Monday, August 16, 2010 1:15:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Difficulty trying to access products, services, environments and facilities is an issue for any of us – let alone the millions of people around the world living with disabilities. To this end, an international  workshop will be held on 3 and 4 November 2010 to review and examine the standards needed for facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.

The workshop is the latest initiative organized by the three partner organizations of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC): IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), and ISO (International Organization for Standardization), which are also raising awareness of accessibility in this year's World Standards Day, celebrated each year on 14 October.

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, environment or facility is usable by as many people as possible, including by persons with disabilities. Its importance is signified by the fact that the number of persons with disabilities, either congenital, acquired or as a result of age is estimated to be at around 650 million worldwide.

The WSC workshop on “Accessibility and the contribution of International Standards” will bring together key stakeholder groups from all over the world representing disability organizations, government and regulators, standards developers, consumers, as well as product designers and manufacturers faced with accessibility requirements.  It will address three key subject areas:

•    Accessibility in the field of everyday products
•    Accessibility and buildings
•    eAccessibility and eInclusion (in Information and Communication Technologies)

In a combination of plenary and break-out group meetings, these three subject areas will be discussed and the potential of standardization – in particular international standardization – to contribute to strengthening accessibility aspects in the design of products, services, environments and facilities will be addressed.

The results of the conference will result in a better understanding of both the work on accessibility issues in standardization in the various areas and the needs of those most concerned. It is hoped that the groundwork will be laid and a road map drawn for future standardization initiatives and awareness creation initiatives with the involvement of the key stakeholders.

For further information, including the full programme and registration form for the workshop, please refer to http://www.iso.org/sites/WSC_Accessibility_2010/.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010 8:58:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 27, 2010
ITU will be co-organizing a one day workshop on Accessibility to ICTs at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. The event will be held on 23 July 2010 as part of i-CREATe 2010.

i-CREATe 2010’s 4th International Convention for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology is dedicated to the promotion of assistive technologies that can improve the lives of the elderly and people with disabilities and to provide a platform to address current and future development in these areas.
            
In the field of accessibility to ICTs, ITU focuses on a series of strategic issues ranging from the rights of the disabled, making technical design standards accessible and providing education and training on accessible ICT. With more than 650 million people in the world living with disabilities today the most important goal of ITU standards work on accessibility is to make sure that newly developed standards contain the necessary elements to make services and features usable for people with as broad a range of capabilities as possible.

The three main objectives of this workshop will be to discuss current trends and the future for accessibility to ICTs in ITU, encourage organizations to implement accessibility in their daily work, and highlight the impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRDP) on future standardization work. With registration open to all, we eagerly invite you to get involved. You may go online for more information and find it here.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:33:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 16, 2010

The United Nations magazine "UN Special" ran two articles in its April 2010 issue on the recent ITU/WIPO workshop on how to improve the accessibility on the web.

http://www.unspecial.org/UNS694/t33.html

http://www.unspecial.org/UNS694/t41.html

See also the ITU-T Newslog report here.

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Friday, April 16, 2010 1:42:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strong commitment to leveraging the potential of the web and advanced communication tools to empower persons with disabilities

Geneva, 15 February 2010 — ITU has again demonstrated its commitment to improving access to the information society for all, through a joint workshop aimed at promoting awareness of the importance of taking accessibility principles into account when developing websites within the UN system.

In 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which obliges its signatories to provide public information in formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities. Universal Design principles which make new technologies accessible for persons with disabilities are now becoming more of an imperative, with the wide adoption of the Convention.

Organized jointly with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and held from February 2-5, the workshop was designed to help UN technical staff engaged in web design better meet the needs of disabled users.

Speaking at the opening session, Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, highlighted the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve access to information for persons with disabilities, noting that ITU has been "embracing the challenges of accessibility through standardization efforts, and has long championed the principles of inclusion and Universal Design enshrined in the UN Convention." Johnson also stressed that ITU practices what it preaches, and is working hard to make itself more accessible to the disabled.

WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry, underlined the general importance of accessibility and reaffirmed WIPO’s commitment to establishing a web environment that promotes easy access to intellectual property information. This, Gurry said, is in line with WIPO’s visually impaired persons (VIP) initiative, launched in 2008, which is exploring ways to facilitate and enhance access to literary, artistic and scientific works. He noted that only five per cent of all published works are currently available in formats accessible to the VIP community. A first web accessibility workshop was hosted by WIPO in May 2009, following a request from the VIP community.

This year’s workshop brought together leading experts in the field of accessibility from around the world, including the World Wide Web consortium, the Mobile Web Initiative, Yahoo!, Adobe Systems, and the Royal National Institute for Blind People. It also featured a full day of training sponsored by Adobe.

In the field of accessibility, ITU focuses on strategic issues ranging from the rights of the disabled, to ensuring that new ICT technical standards incorporate accessibility principles, to providing education and training on accessible ICTs. An estimated 650 million people live with disabilities worldwide.

This year’s participants agreed on the need for an annual workshop to keep abreast of technological developments and to share knowledge and experience within the UN system. "There is no better place to demonstrate our accessibility than the online resources that act as our window to the world. This is why this workshop has been so important," concluded ITU’s Johnson.

For further information please contact:

Sarah Parkes                                                                          
Senior Media Relations Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: mailto: pressinfo@itu.int                                                                              

Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: mailto: toby.johnson@itu.int

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:04:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 01, 2010

ITU together with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will host a Web Accessibility Workshop for United Nations systems and other international organizations 2 – 5 February at WIPO headquarters, Geneva.

The objective is to promote encourage webmasters within the United Nations system and other international organizations to take accessibility into account in their daily work. Specifically, it aims to promote article 9 of the recent United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which requires that measures are taken to ensure that accessibility is taken into account in the design of new information technologies and systems.

More information available at http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/2010/wipo_itu_wai/

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Monday, February 01, 2010 2:38:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 23, 2009

ITU-T Workshop on "The impact of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the work of the ITU-T"

Geneva, 2 November 2009

Registration form

See ITU-T SG 16 Collective Letter 4 for more information.

More information

Friday, October 23, 2009 9:48:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 29, 2009
A new portal bringing together many standardization resources on accessibility has been launched.

The page is a one stop shop for accessibility resources with links to all ITU-T work areas, tools, workshops, news, photos and other resources. For example it carries links to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, an ITU Tutorial: "Making ITU Accessible: Web Design, Web Conferencing and Real Time Web Captioning" and the G3ict-ITU Toolkit for Policy Makers on e-Accessibility & Service Needs for Persons with Disabilities.

In addition it links to the Telecommunications Accessibility Checklist which allows standards authors to ensure that they are taking into account the needs of those to whom accessibility to ICTs are restricted. The checklist is a tool which helps to ensure that accessibility needs are taken into account at an early stage of the standards development process, rather than "retrofitted".

The new page can be found at:  http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/accessibility/index.html

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Monday, June 29, 2009 10:02:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Declaration on Internet Accessibility was adopted by the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability at the recent Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held in Hyderabad, India. DCAD counts ITU as one of its founder members.

ITU took part in twelve sessions at the IGF, organizing seven of them. As well as opening remarks from the Secretary General, and various addresses from the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, six other ITU staff participated. In addition ITU sponsored the participation of 39 people (27 from developing countries).

DCAD aims to facilitate interaction between relevant bodies and ensure that ICT accessibility is included in the key debates around Internet Governance in order to build a future where all sectors of the global community have equal access to the Information Society. It held its first face-to-face meeting on 6 December 2008 during the third Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Hyderabad.

The Declaration urges all governments to support the process of adoption, ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It also “strongly urges” that the needs of persons with disabilities be included in all aspects of designing, developing, distributing and deploying of appropriation strategies of information and communication technologies, including information and communication services, so as to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities, taking into account the universal design principle, existing standards, and the use of assistive technologies.

The Coalition has also approved an “Action Plan” for activities to be carried out in 2009.

Organizations that are members of the DCAD include ACMA, Council of Europe, DAISY Consortium, Digital Accessible Information System Consortium, G3ict, ICDRI, ISOC, ISOC-AR, Mais Diferenças, NCC, People Who, UNESCO, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. A new member joined during the IGF: the Indian “Centre for Internet & Society”.

Also during the IGF, ITU, in collaboration with DCAD members organized a workshop “Including Accessibility and Human Factors in the Universalization of the Internet - How to reach persons with disabilities, the 10% of the next billion”. Most of the panelists were persons with disabilities who brought varied experiences of Internet accessibility from various perspectives.

The DCAD, lead by ITU, will continue to facilitate inclusion of the needs of persons with disabilities in the global information society.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 5:03:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 18, 2008

Following an ITU-T workshop on accessibility last year at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio, a Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD) has been established by ITU-T. The DCAD will facilitate interaction between relevant bodies and ensure that information and communications technologies (ICT) accessibility and tools to facilitate it are included in the key debates around Internet governance.

DCAD aims to help build a future where all sectors of the global community have equal access to communications and online information as well as the ability to participate in IGF discussions and seminars. The initiative takes into account the fact that all communities can benefit from ICTs and improve their quality of life, a view supported by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The coalition is currently composed of eight organizations, and is open to any entity or individual working in the field. If you wish to be part of this effort please contact the Dynamic Coalition Secretariat.

Further information on ITU and ICT accessibility can be found here.

Friday, April 18, 2008 3:14:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 10, 2008

ITU will host a tutorial on how to improve websites and meeting facilities, in order to meet the requirements for an accessible ICT infrastructure. The event will take place 22 April 0900 – 1300, at ITU headquarters in Geneva.

Accessible ICT is one of the key obligations of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Recently, a Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF) has been established by ITU-T's Study Group 2 to coordinate standardization activities in the field. See previous story on ITU’s latest work in the field of accessibility.

The tutorial is aimed at ITU staff but open to staff of similar organizations working on public policy, web content management, web development and conference organization.

The event will provide a high-level overview of the delivery of accessible content on the web, including a discussion of the problems of inaccessible web content, markup of images, online forms and PDFs, as well as the solutions for addressing these barriers. Public policy benefits will also be addressed including the benefits of the accessible web for people without disabilities. Emergence of technical standards for the accessible design of ICTs will also be covered. Practical demonstrations of remote web captioning will be conducted and free resources for checking websites for accessibility will be highlighted.

See the event's website for more information. The tutorial is free of charge, if you need assistance to obtain access to the ITU premises in order to attend please contact the JCA-AHF Secretariat at: tsbjcaahf[at]itu.int

Thursday, April 10, 2008 3:15:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ITU together with G3ict is holding a joint Forum to review areas of challenges and opportunities for international ICT accessibility standards in light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The event will take place at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, 21 April 2008. See previous story on ITU’s latest work in the field of accessibility.

The Convention has been signed by an unprecedentedly high number of UN Member States in a relatively short time – 126 since 30 March 2007. This makes it all the more urgent to promote ICT accessibility standards that will support a better and faster implementation around the world of the many dispositions of the Convention regarding ICTs.

For the first time since the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly, an international group of experts from industry, standards development organizations, NGOs representing persons with disabilities, international development institutions, governments and academia will examine in detail its many implications for ICT accessibility standards. Proceedings will be edited to serve as a reference for future accessibility standards developments.

The event will review existing and in-progress technology standards and standardization of product development methodologies; discuss the role of public policy and procurement in support of standardization and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and identify follow-up actions to facilitate its implementation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 1:53:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 19, 2008

“Increase productivity, save time and money while reducing your company’s carbon footprint”; this is the ambitious sales pitch for a new family of tools that promise to offer the 3Cs - communication, collaboration and coordination - without the requirement for physical travel. For ITU-T, whose basic mission is to encourage collaborative work among a global membership on the development and adoption of international standards, remote collaboration is a daily necessity.

A new report, the fifth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports, describes how Remote Collaboration Tools can facilitate collaboration with colleagues, and support businesses in overcoming the geographical limitations of everyday work. Remote collaboration tools can be used alongside, or integrated with, traditional office applications (such as e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets) or as an enabler of collaboration, communication and coordination. Using online meetings, collaboration that might not have occurred otherwise (as a consequence of tight schedules, long distances, or the high cost of business travel), may now take place.

For developing countries, remote collaboration tools can thus be seen as a helpful instrument in overcoming the digital divide and for “Bridging the Standardization Gap”, an ITU initiative to facilitate the participation of developing countries in the standards development process.

Furthermore, replacing long-distance travel by online meetings makes remote collaboration tools a clean, green technology, which is particularly important in the context of current global concerns over climate change. In 2007, ITU-T organized and provided logistical and secretariat support for some 85 meetings/workshops, representing a total of 339 meeting days, as well as numerous smaller informal meetings, such as rapporteur groups of steering committees. Holding even a small number of those meetings online would reduce travel and therefore have a significant impact on ITU-T’s carbon footprint.

Two upcoming ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change (April 15-16 in Kyoto, Japan, co-organized and hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and 17-18 June 2008 in London, supported and hosted by BT) will be available as a webinar in order that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world. Provision will also be made for remote participants to submit comments and questions.

Download Technology Watch report on Remote Collaboration Tools

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 5:51:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The website for a new group to coordinate standardization activities on accessibility and human factors issues has gone live. The joint coordination activity on accessibility and human factors (JCA-AHF) is open to experts working in the field to improve access to the information society by people with varied capability of handling information and the controls for its presentation. Participation will be mainly by electronic means – to take part simply send a mail to tsbjcaahf@itu.int.

ITU has been active in accessibility and human factors for many years. Two of the best known standards are one relating to the designation of a “tactile identifier” - the number five on a telephone keypad - for easy identification for those with impaired sight (ITU-T Recommendation E.161) and a standard for text telephony (ITU-T Recommendation V.18). Recently accessibility guidelines have been drawn up to ensure that new standards are developed with the needs of those with disabilities taken into account (see previous newslog entry here).

JCA-AHF has organized a tutorial session on web design, web conferencing and real time web captioning to improve current ITU practices. It will be held in Geneva on 22 April. Details will follow.

For more detail on ITU-T’s work on accessibility see here.

Another ITU initiative related to the topic is the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability which has been created under the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). See here. More details will follow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 5:55:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 04, 2008

The quadrennial event that defines the future direction for the ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T) – the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) – will take place for the first time in Africa in 2008. It will also be the first chaired by a woman (Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole, Director-General of the South African Department of Communications), and for the first time is preceded by a Global Standards Symposium (GSS). WTSA-08 will be held 21 - 30 October 2008, at the Emperors Palace, Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.

An official ‘Circular’ letter has been issued encouraging Member States and ITU-T Sector Members to participate in discussions on the future structure of the Sector: the study groups (including regional tariff groups under Study Group 3); and the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). WTSA-08 will also be unique in that the term limit for chairmanships agreed at the WTSA-2000 will apply for the first time and many of the current chairmen and vice-chairmen will retire. Although this will mean the loss of much experience, it does offer the opportunity to consider a major restructuring of the Sector. Member States and ITU-T Sector Members are therefore advised to await the outcome of the next TSAG meeting in July, when a new structure for the Sector should be clearer, before submitting candidatures for chairmen or vice-chairmen.

The Global Standards Symposium (GSS) will be held at the same venue on 20 October 2008. It will see leading figures in the telecom/ICT field, both from government and the industry, give their vision of the future, and suggest ways of increasing the involvement of developing countries in the development and implementation of standards (bridging the standardization gap). Additionally the event will examine global ICT standards challenges, such as accessibility, climate change and collaboration among standards development organisations (SDOs). Although not formally a part of the WTSA-08, the GSS will provide a report to the WTSA for information and action as appropriate, giving participants a unique opportunity to provide input to the event that decides the future direction for ITU-T.

Monday, February 04, 2008 5:09:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 05, 2007

ITU is holding a workshop - Making accessibility a reality in emerging technologies - at the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, 13 November, 1430-1600.

ITU’s standardization arm - ITU-T - has a long history of providing standards in the field of accessibility. It started in the early 90's with the international text telephone standard, ITU-T Recommendation V.18, which ties together text telephone protocols allowing different textphone types to communicate.

ITU-T’s accessibility experts have helped to incorporate accessibility needs into standards for multimedia, network interoperability, multimedia service descriptions and multimedia conferencing.

The latest work has focused on taking accessibility needs into account in the development of all standards. For this reason an ‘Accessibility Checklist’ has been created for the makers of standards to ensure that they are taking into account the needs of those to whom accessibility to ICTs are restricted, the deaf or hard-of-hearing for example. Experts say that such a list will help to ensure that accessibility needs are taken into account at an early stage, rather than ‘retrofitted’.

An area of current intensive standardization activity is that on the next generation network (NGN). Accessibility features have been included at the first stage of standards work where requirements are defined. However it is important that these needs are taken into account as work progresses.

This workshop, organized by ITU, as part of the Internet Governance Forum brings together experts from around the world to examine how best to take into account accessibility needs in emerging technologies.

Further information here (ITU page) here (IGF page).

Friday, October 05, 2007 3:10:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Standards that will ease the wide spread rollout of video over IP networks took a step forward in January.

IPTV architecture and requirements, two fundamentally important areas in standards work were progressed at a recent meeting of the ITU-T Focus Group on IPTV. There was general consensus in the meeting that FG IPTV will successfully develop documents which will accelerate introduction of IPTV to the global market. Setting the architecture and requirements in stone allows the rest of the work to continue with greater ease.

Meeting at the Microsoft conference center, Mountain View California, at the invitation of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Standards (ATIS) the group saw a record number of contributions and experts worked often late to keep up with the workload. Nearly 90 documents were dealt with in the fields of architecture and requirements alone.

Malcolm Johnson, newly elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said in a message he sent to the event: “The excellent cooperation between ITU-T and ATIS is an example of the spirit of cooperation that I believe now pervades in the standards world... From what I have seen there is a great deal to be satisfied by in terms of the progress that FG IPTV has achieved so far.”

In opening comments, ATIS President & CEO Susan Miller shared with the 200 meeting attendees that IPTV is serving as a “change agent” for the industry, and “as both the business case and principal driver for accelerating deployment of the next generation network.” Miller noted that for North American service providers in particular, “IPTV is a critical ingredient to bundled service offerings that encompass television services, mobile services, Internet access, and much more. We have seen in the last decade, enormous investments in broadband, and fiber deployments to the home and to the premise,” said Miller.

Also important a document outlining terms and definitions in the field was created. While seemingly mundane this work is crucially important in ensuring consistency of comprehension in an area where many standards outlining different aspects of IPTV will co-exist.

Further discussion is expected on whether and how to treat the issue of redistribution of content to a point past an IPTV terminal device, and, in particular, how content protection and content management functions can or should apply in a home network environment.

Other issues examined and progressed were accessibility issues for people with disabilities, AV codecs and content format requirements. Output (and other) documents can be seen here.

The next meeting of FG IPTV will be held from 7 to 11 May 2007 in Bled, Slovenia.

 

 

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 9:14:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 25, 2006
Study Group 16 has published an ‘Accessibility Checklist’ for the makers of standards to ensure that they are taking into account the needs of those to whom accessibility to ICTs are restricted, the deaf or hard-of-hearing for example. Experts say that such a list will help to ensure that accessibility needs are taken into account at an early stage, rather than ‘retrofitted’. The list will be published on a new webpage acting as a repository for accessibility in standards information.

Study Group 16’s standardization work in the field of accessibility aims to ensure that all sectors of the global community have equal access to communications and online information. This effort goes back to the 1990s with V.18 (an ITU-T Recommendation on a multi-function text telephone).

The work takes into account the fact that users of ICTs have a varied capability for handling information and the controls for its presentation. The source of this variation lies in cultural and educational backgrounds as well as in age-related functional limitations, in disabilities, and in other natural causes. Everyone can benefit from this accessibility standardization work as anyone can be permanently or temporarily disabled due to physical, environmental (e.g. a phone call in a noisy environment) or cultural (e.g. spoken language diversity) conditions. Moreover, we will all grow old and lose facilities that we take for granted now, thus enlarging the part of the population that benefits from accessible communication.

The most important goal of ITU-T’s accessibility activity is to make sure that newly developed standards contain the necessary elements to make services and features usable for as broad a range of people as possible. Standards describe how equipment should interact and what quality is necessary for media to be usable for all, additionally suitable methods of media delivery for people with disabilities are described.

 

Thursday, May 25, 2006 4:32:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |