Innovation in Accessibility Technology and Policy


The World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2015 represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The WSIS Forum, co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, in close collaboration with all WSIS Action Line Facilitators/Co-Facilitators, has proven to be an efficient mechanism for coordination of multi stake holder implementation activities, information exchange, creation of knowledge, sharing of best practices and continues to provide assistance in developing multi stake holder and public/private partnerships to advance development goals. This forum will provide structured opportunities to network, learn and participate in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on WSIS implementation. The Accessibility Workshop has gathered experts in the field of accessibility and ICT from different but complementary fields. Moderated by Andrea Saks, Chairman of the ITU Joint Coordinating Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors, presentations will show the state of the art in policy issues both from a global and regional perspectives. The latest developments in communication systems impacting media and telecommunications accessibility for persons with disabilities will be presented.  This workshop will also show how the ITU involves persons with disabilities who will be participating both in person and remotely in workshops demonstrating the ITU’S commitment to include persons with disabilities.

Real-time Captioning

Moderator, Speakers, affiliation and abstract:

Andrea J Saks

International Telecommunications Specialist for the Deaf

Chairman ITU JCA-AHF (Joint Coordinating Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors)

Coordinator IGF DCAD  (Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability)

1- Susan Carroll Schorr

Head Special Initiatives Division


Title: Model ICT Accessibility Policy

Ms. Schorr will present the Model ICT Accessibility Policy report developed by ITU and ITU Sector Member G3ict.  The report identifies concrete steps ICT policy makers and regulators can take to ensure that persons with disabilities can use affordable and accessible ICTs in their home countries.  The presentation will highlight some of the best practices in the area of mobile phone accessibility, television/video programming accessibility and accessible public ICT services as well as the role played by public procurement in promoting ICT accessibility.

2- Dr Abeer Farouk Shakweer, Egypt

Minister’s Advisor for Social Responsibility and Services,

Ministry of Communications and Information Technology”

Title: The role of ICT is empowering  Persons with Disabilites) in Egypt: Achievements, challenges and opportunities


With almost 15 million PwDs (Persons with Disabilites) in Egypt, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) launched its strategy to empower PwDs in 2012 using ICTs. Since then the Ministry managed to support the education, training and employment of PwDs. However the ministry had to overcome several challenges to reach its targets. One of the main obstacles is the lack of ICT tools for PwDs which support the Arabic language. Although this is a real challenge, MCIT considers it as a great opportunity if the ministry manages to serve PwDs in the Arab countries. The presentation will introduce the ongoing ICT projects to empower PwDs, the associated challenge and how they were faced or handled as opportunities.

3- Dr Masahito Kawamori

Keio University, Japan

Rapporteur to Question 26 (Accessibility to multimedia systems and services) in ITU-T Study Group 16 (the lead study group on Accessibility

Title: IPTV for accessible resilience in emerging economies


Possibly due to the recent effects of climate change, many countries in the world experience hardship due to natural disasters. Many emerging and developing economies especially suffer because their infrastructures are not sufficiently prepared for such events. In these circumstances, persons with disabilities and specific needs included persons with age related disabilites, are the ones who suffer most.

At the same time, it is ironically true that many emerging economies are experiencing and benefiting from the rapid changes in information technology.  For example, some of the emerging economies will have digital TV, IPTV and mobile broadcasting that will be faster than in some developed countries.

In this presentation, it is reported how ITU-T's standard IPTV can provide essential information for people with special needs immediately before and during a disaster, such as typhoon and earthquakes.

4- Dr Pilar Orero

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Title: Smart Accessible Solutions for Connected TV


Since access to information was officially declared by the United Nations a Human Right in 2003, much work has been carried out by stakeholders at many levels, but still, media access deployment across the world is not equitable. Legislation, policy and regulations have been introduced, standards are in place to assure e-inclusion. However, “content” processes (from conception, production, translation, exchange and archiving to distribution and use) are still complex procedures, both technologically and commercially. All access services (be them for the elderly or for people with disabilities) are language dependent. To turn the accessibility vision into reality, the active participation of multiple stakeholders is required in the value chain. This presentation will focus on the possibilities offered by the new connected TV by broadcast and IP, and the accessibility services: captions, subtitles, audio description, clean audio, sign language, and a combination of these.

5- Christopher FG Jones

Vice Chair of JCA-AHF, member of ITU-T SG16/Question 26 Accessibility and multimedia. Co-editor of the ITU-T draft F.Relay Recommendation. Chair of DAC - Deaf Access to Communications UK.

Title: Am I able to use a telephone?


How do persons with hearing disabilities and persons with speech disabilities use the telephone? What is a relay service? A brief description of different types of relay services will be explained and to whom each type is catered for.  Why do we need to use the telephone?  The importance of enhanced employment abilities and better social integration into the wider society.

6- Mike S Chartier

Intel Corporation , USA

Title: Keeping Hawking Talking


Professor Stephen Hawking is arguably as famous for his computerized voice as he is for his ground-breaking work with general relativity and black holes. Intel has been working with Professor Hawking since 1997 when co-founder Dr Gordon Moore promised him that Intel will support all his technology needs throughout his life. 3 years ago, he reached out to Gordon Moore and told him that he is having problems controlling his current system due to continued deterioration of his muscle control. This presentation will describe Intel’s efforts, lessons learned and new technologies that improved Professor Hawking’s system and are broadly applicable to improving the accessibility of ICTs. This presentation will demonstrate how Intel's technology has developed over the years enabling Professor Hawkins to have accessibility and be accessible to all of us globally.


Speakers / panellists

Moderator: Andrea J Saks


1. Susan Carroll Schorr

2. Dr Abeer Farouk Shakweer

3. Dr Masahito Kawamori

4. Dr Pilar Orero

5. Christopher FG Jones

6. Mike S Chartier and Pete Denman

Session's link to WSIS Action Lines
  • C6. Enabling environment

WSIS Forum 2015 | Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development
25–29 May 2015, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Place des Nations, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland