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Pakistan Launches Award with Focus on Apps for Persons with Disabilities
The 2016 edition of Pakistan Mobile App Awards has been launched with focus on development of ready-to-use mobile applications addressing needs of Persons with Disabilities. The theme for this year awards is “Embracing Mobile Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in Pakistan.” Experts on Friday said around 10% of Pakistan’s population face some form of disability. In his comments, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Dr. Syed Ismail Shah hoped there would be support for this cause from all across Pakistan as work on accessibility does not stop with mobile applications.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/14/pakistan-launches-award-with-focus-on-apps-for-persons-with-disabilities/, April 14, 2016

Building a New Disability Strategy for New Zealand
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on issues that affect people with disabilities as public consultation on building a new disability strategy begins. The new disability strategy will establish a clear direction for the government over the next ten years, providing a framework to help make informed decisions on issues that impact disabled people. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will also be incorporated into the strategy.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/13/building-a-new-disability-strategy-for-new-zealand/, April 14, 2016

USA: Most K-12 Online Learning Content Does Not Meet Needs of Students with Disabilities
Online education is growing rapidly, reaching millions of students every day. However, a Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas study has found the majority of online educational products are not designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities and struggling learners. Sean J. Smith, professor of special education and a co-principal investigator with the center, has authored “Invited In: Measuring UDL in Online Learning.” The report analyzes how six popular vendors of online learning products meet the principles of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, the concept that education should be designed to meet the needs of all students. It also provides a tool that K-12 school districts across the country can use to evaluate online education programs they are using or considering for their students.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/13/most-k-12-online-learning-content-does-not-meet-needs-of-students-with-disabilities/, April 14, 2016

Google.org Pledges $20 Million to Support Disability Technologies
The World Health Organization estimates 1 billion people across the world live with disabilities, and Google's philanthropy division, Google.org, just pledged $20 million to help improve their situations. The money is spread across 29 programs working on disability technologies -- the average amount they'll each receive is $750,000, with six of the grant winners getting more than $1 million, Wired reports.
From http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/12/google-org-20-million-disability-technologies/, April 13, 2016

Gamification in Citizen Participation
Before getting your hands dirty with building a citizen participation program, rethink why citizens would participate nota bene. Understanding the motivations and motives of citizens correctly leads to a more effective participation policy. One of the instruments to increase civic engagement is called gamification. By bringing a more competitive and fun character to your next crowdsourcing project, the engagement rate can be significantly higher.
From http://citizenlab.co/blog/civic-engagement/gamification-in-citizen-participation/, April 13, 2016

Internet of Things Technology & Application Market Worth $1,423 Billion by 2020
According to a new market research report “Internet of Things Technology & Application Market by Communication Technology (ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, RFID), Application Vertical (Building Automation, Consumer, Wearable Electronics, Industrial, Automotive & Transportation, Agriculture) & Geography - Global Trends & Forecasts to 2014 - 2020” published by MarketsandMarkets, the value of Internet of Things market was worth $1029.5 billion in 2013, and is expected to reach $1423.09 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 4.08% from 2014 to 2020.
From https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/internet-things-technology-application-market-worth-142309-p, April 13, 2016

Juniper: Expect Contactless Payments to Surge
Contactless payments from smartphones and wearables is still a small segment of the payments market, but might see a surge in usage over the next two years, according to Juniper Research. The research firm predicts the value of the smartphone and wearable contactless payments to rise from $35 billion to $95 billion in 2018. Juniper claims that smartphones will account for the vast majority of non-card contactless payments, asserting that “while nearly nine million Apple Watches had been shipped by the end of 2015, these numbers were dwarfed by near field communication (NFC)-capable iPhones.”
From http://readwrite.com/2016/04/12/apple-google-contactless-payments-growth-juniper-vm4, April 13, 2016

Proposal for a Directive on the European Accessibility Act
The European Commission made a proposal for a directive on a European Accessibility Act, which will set common accessibility requirements for certain key products and services, and will help people with disabilities at EU level to participate fully in society. The EESC is currently preparing an opinion on the Commission's proposal . On 13 April 2016, the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) will hold a public hearing in conjunction with the work on this opinion. The conclusions of the hearing will feed directly into the work of the drafting group which will hold its second meeting in the afternoon of the same day.
From http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.events-and-activities-eu-accessibility-act, April 13, 2016

World Health Day: Countries Making Strides in Disability Rights and Where They Need to Improve
To mark World Health Day, Barney Cullum of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity explores how different corners of the world are faring on accessibility and disability rights.
From http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/world-health-day-countries-making-strides-in-disability-rights-and-where-they-need-to-improve-uk-a6971661.html?platform=hootsuite, April 08, 2016

Seeing AI: New Technology Research to Support the Blind and Visually Impaired Community
Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, which includes creating and delivering technology for people of all abilities. As a part of this effort, last week at the Microsoft Build Conference, we debuted a new research project in development – Seeing AI – aimed at helping people who are visually impaired or blind to understand more about who and what is around them. Seeing AI will use computer vision, image and speech recognition, natural language processing and machine learning from Microsoft’s Cognitive Services and Office Lens to help describe a person’s surroundings, read text, answer questions and even identify emotions on people’s faces.
From https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/accessibility/2016/04/07/seeing-ai/, April 08, 2016

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