India: 'Tech Innovations Will Improve Lives of the Visually Impaired'
Android smartphones are smart enough to assist the visually impaired. But, they could be smarter with more innovations," said Kiran Kaja, who himself is afflicted with visual impairment. Kaja, currently working as an engineer with Google with a specialization in the field of technical assistance for visually impaired, opined that technological advancements such as 'text to speech' and 'speech to text' conversion software and screen readers could be of much help to the visually impaired and will improve the quality of their lives.
From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/Tech-innovations-will-improve-lives-of-the-visually-impaired/articleshow/51887238.cms, April 21, 2016
AT&T: Improving Communications for the Hard of Hearing Through HD Voice
For people with disabilities, it is rare that there is a single solution that meets everyone’s accessibility needs. Different circumstances and environments often require different solutions and this is certainly true for people who are hard of hearing or experiencing hearing loss. Hearing aids have become smaller, more comfortable and more powerful in recent years. They can make it possible to undertake activities that were previously more challenging – but they also have their limitations. The development of Hearing Aid Compatibility technologies that improve the ability of hearing aids to amplify mobile devices has greatly enhanced the experience for people with hearing loss, but it isn’t always the best solution for everyone.
From http://www.4-traders.com/AT-T-INC-14324/news/AT-T-Improving-Communications-for-the-Hard-of-Hearing-Through-HD-Voice-22193008/, April 21, 2016
ICTs Can Help Fast-Track Realization of SDGs, Says Global Tech Firm
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a powerful tool to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new report by technology firm, Ericsson indicates. The Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility 2015 report notes that ICT is a critical tool toward the realization of all 17 SDGs because ICT is a cross-cutting enabler of development.
From http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-04-18/199038/, April 18, 2016
Microsoft Taps Into Big Data to Improve Government Efficiency Worldwide
Governments across the globe are tapping into big data to transform their everyday operations. They’re using predictive analytics to dramatically improve the quality of their decisions. And they’re collecting and analyzing large volumes of information to enhance both their efficiency and their service to citizens. Indeed, big data is transforming the public sector in powerful, new ways, making government far more efficient and responsive than was possible in the past. And as governments embrace big data, Microsoft SQL Server 2016 represents a large leap forward—helping them transform complex information into actionable insights.
From http://enterprise.microsoft.com/en-us/industries/government/microsoft-taps-into-big-data-to-improve-government-efficiency-worldwide/, April 18, 2016
What is a Smart Sustainable City?
People move to urban areas in the hope of finding a better job and enjoying a higher standard of living. However, the increasing number of people migrating to cities creates congestion, puts pressure on limited resources (for example, energy and water), and escalates the demand for services such as sanitation, health care and education. The concept of the smart city emerged more than a decade ago, and a number of cities in the world have jumped on the smart city bandwagon, labelling themselves “smart” in some way or another. But rapid urbanization and the obvious need to develop a sustainable model to support anticipated population growth in cities led the ITU to coin the term “smart sustainable cities” to highlight concerns about resources, and to incorporate characteristics of both eco-cities and smart cities.
From https://itunews.itu.int/en/5215-What-is-a-smart-sustainable-city.note.aspx, April 18, 2016
Australia: Consumer Information Critical to Assistive Technology Take Up
Improving the quality of information and ready supply of assistive technologies (AT) in Australia is critical to realizing the potential of AT in the lives of older people and people with disability, says Dr Natasha Layton, an occupational therapist and board member of the Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association. Speaking to Community Care Review ahead of her presentation to the ATSA Independent Living Expo in Melbourne next month, Dr Layton said Australia currently imported only a proportion of AT devices available on the international market, and even fewer were available through state equipment funding schemes.
From http://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2016/04/13/consumer-information-critical-assistive-technology-take-expert/, April 18, 2016
What Twitter's New Accessibility Feature Could Mean for People Living With Sight Loss
There are currently around 38million active social media accounts in the UK; that's around one account for every two people living here. This number rockets to two billion on a global scale. And while there's no hard stats, I'd bet that a decent percentage of these users are blind or partially sighted - there's two million people in the UK alone living with sight loss, after all. So I was pleased with last week's news that Twitter is set to introduce a new accessibility feature to the platform, to enable blind and partially sighted people to digest images more easily.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/terry-hawkins/twitters-new-accessibility-feature_b_9625974.html, April 18, 2016
Google Releases New Tool to Scan Android Apps for Accessibility Issues
For anyone designing Android apps, Google just released a tool that will help make your apps more accessible for all users. The company's new Accessibility Scanner looks at any Android app and will call out aspects of it that could be improved, particularly for differently abled users. The app will even suggest ways you can alter things for the better. It seems pretty simple to use: just download the Accessibility Scanner to your mobile app, go to Settings and Accessibility, and turn on the Accessibility Scanner tool.
From http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/03/google-releases-new-tool-to-scan-android-apps-for-accessibility-issues/, April 15, 2016
Moovit Expands Accessibility Features for Blind Users
It’s easy to get caught up in the new, cool thing aspect of transportation tech and apps, but there’s some real social benefit and freedom to be found here. Take, for instance, Moovit’s latest upgrade. The public transportation app recently added features to make it easier for blind users to take transit using VoiceOver (iOS) and TalkBack (Android) integration. The app launched worldwide in 2013 and now covers transit in 800 cities with 35 million users.
From http://techcrunch.com/2016/03/30/moovit-expands-accessibility-features-for-blind-users/, April 15, 2016
FCC Proposes Rule to Expand Accessibility of Television Programs for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (link opens a Word document) that recommends updating its video description rules. The new rules would expand the availability of video described programming for people who are blind or visually impaired. Current FCC regulations require certain TV broadcast stations and pay-TV systems to provide video descriptions on some programming. Link opens a PDF file. Get information in text format.
From https://www.disability.gov/fcc-proposes-rule-to-expand-accessibility-of-television-programs-for-people-who-are-blind-or-visually-impaired/, April 15, 2016