By Max Starkov Background: There are approximately 48.9 million Americans with some form of disability. People with disabilities spend over $17.3 billion annually on travel, and the economic impact is at least double that figure since many of them travel with at least one or two other adults (Open Doors Organization). The vast majority of them use the Internet to plan…Read More
San Antonio officials announced Tuesday night it had formed a new standing committee to address technology and innovation. break According to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, the innovation and technology committee will take on smart city goals, strategy for growing the cyber security industry, digital inclusion initiatives, open data and expanding municipal broadband access all under one roof. “We’ve been working in…Read More
Inclusive innovation is an action. We believe in a Pittsburgh where if it’s not for all it’s not for us! It is providing equal access to products and services through the infusion of new ideas, people, and technology to meet complex challenges. From the arts to community development, to computer science; inclusive innovation is possible in everything. We know there is…Read More
This project was completed in Pittsburgh, the city of bridges. Residents of the city may cross multiple bridges on a daily basis. Yet, they rarely think about the bridge as they cross it or ponder how different their lives would be without it nor do they analyze what went into building that bridge. Even so, bridges are extremely important. They…Read More
On December 14th, we hosted our final Smart City Hub Meetup of the year with special guest speakers David Keyes (Seattle IT), Azmeena Hasham (Verizon), and Bob Akers (e-Stewards). Thus far, the meetups have been focused on emerging technologies such as broadband and sensors, connected & autonomous vehicles, blockchain, cybersecurity, shared mobility platforms and advanced data analytics. But last week,…Read More
The NSW Disability Inclusion Plan was launched on 26 February 2015 at the Sydney Opera House. The plan is the NSW Government’s commitment to identifying and breaking down the barriers which prevent those with disability from enjoying the same opportunities and choices as everyone else. It aligns with the Australian National Disability Strategy and our obligations under the United Nations…Read More
Digital Inclusion Evaluation Toolkit The Evaluation Toolkit is a collection of resources designed to help any organisation looking to evaluate a Digital Inclusion project. Documents Digital Inclusion Evaluation Toolkit: Overview PDF, 2.9MB, 9 pages Digital Inclusion Evaluation Toolkit PDF, 12.9MB, 35 pages Digital Inclusion Evaluation Toolkit: Stakeholder Engagement Guide PDF, 2.75MB, 9 pages Digital Inclusion Evaluation Toolkit:…Read More
Defining “digital equity” and “digital inclusion” In May 2016, digital inclusion practitioners, advocates, academics, Internet service providers, and policymakers gathered in Kansas City at Net Inclusion: The National Digital Inclusion Summit and a funny thing happened on our way to the library: we discovered we were speaking different languages. We were gathered to discuss current and potential local, state, and…Read More
While digital divide and digital literacy have entered into common use – and into discussions by policy makers – the term digital inclusion is still quite new. Digital inclusion is a much broader category that addresses the other two. Importantly, “digital inclusion” has been articulated specifically to address issues of opportunity, access, knowledge, and skill at the level of policy.…Read More
n the Government, digital services projects too often fail to meet user expectations or contain unused or unusable features. Several factors contribute to these outcomes, including the use of outdated development practices and, in some cases, overly narrow interpretations of what is allowed by acquisition regulations. OMB is developing tools to significantly upgrade the ability of Government digital services to deliver better results to our citizens and improve the way we capitalize on information technology (IT ) to better serve the American people.
One tool is the Digital Services Playbook, which identifies a series of “plays” drawn from proven private sector best practices to help agencies successfully deliver digital services. Another tool is the TechFAR, which highlights flexibilities  in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR ) that can help agencies implement “plays” in the Playbook that would be accomplished with acquisition support.
The vision for the TechFAR is that it will be expanded in future iterations to address many areas of IT. This edition of the TechFAR is aligned with the Digital Services Playbook guidance to use contractors to support an iterative development process. In particular, it emphasizes Agile software development , a technique for doing modular contracting and a proven commercial methodology that is characterized by incremental and iterative processes where releases are produced in close collaboration with the customer. This process improves investment manageability, lowers risk of project failure, shortens the time to realize value, and allows agencies to better adapt to changing needs. Agile software development is geared towards projects where significant design and development are needed, such as digital services (e.g., healthcare.gov or recreation.gov) as well as internal digital services and business systems. It is not designed to be used for commodity IT purchases, especially where commercially available off-the-shelf items can be used as-is at a lower cost and lower risk to the Government….Read More
ities all over the world are investing in infrastructure like fiber-optic networks, a range of sensors, and interactive touch-screens and in practices like open data collection in a race to become “smart and connected.” Cities are rushing to get “smart” in order to create new economic opportunities, to take advantage of potential systems efficiencies, and to not be left behind the technological curve. They’re making smart-city investments with the best of intentions to improve quality of life and increase opportunities for commerce, tourism, and their citizens alike.
As part of these smart and connected investments, many communities are developing smart-city strategies to guide development and implementation. For example, members of the Mayors Bistate Innovation Team published a digital playbook in 2011 in order to leverage a newly installed Google Fiber network to spark economic development, advance opportunities, and improve daily life in Kansas City. In 2013, the mayor of London formed the Smart London Board, which published the “Smart London Plan” to harness “the creative power of new technologies to serve London and improve Londoners’ lives.“ The plan lays out the numerous ways the city will utilize technology and big data to re-create London not only as a cutting-edge city, but as one able to handle the influx of people expected to move there by 2030. Creating and executing such a plan in a way that is intentionally responsive and relevant to the whole of a community can create the opportunity for a city to go beyond “smart” and instead become an “intelligent community.” This is, of course, easier said than done, but some essential steps toward enabling an intelligent community to flourish are outlined below….Read More
Beth Blauer, Founder of GovEx at Johns Hopkins University, Kate Garman, Smart City Coordinator for the City of Seattle, and Erie Meyer, Senior Director of National Network at Code for America, describe the importance of digital and cultural inclusivity for the future of smart cities.
On November 14, The Washington Post brought together city officials, urban strategists, innovators and technologists to discuss and debate the advancements that are shaping the future of cities across the country.Read More
Cities capture people’s imaginations because they are a whirlwind of change, adaptation, and challenge. Cities change on almost a daily basis, with the influx and exit of commuters. To survive over time, cities have to adapt to economic change, migration patterns, and citizens’ needs. Cities also have to face society’s toughest problems—poverty, crime, homelessness, and more—all while delivering the public services that help make a city hum.
In the early part of the twenty-first century, information and communications technologies (ICTs) have come to be seen as a way to help cities thrive. With the right deployment of technology, cities can become “smart” so that they can better deliver public services. Running parallel to the “smart city” discussion is the notion of inclusion; that is, a city is better off if a wide range of people participate in how it grows and evolves. In this context, inclusion has a lot to do with diversity—in the economy, civic life, and urban design. The upshot can be greater equity, as opportunities for economic and social growth open up to a wide range of a city’s population. ICTs may be among the tools deployed to enhance inclusion.Read More
With 2018 approaching, federal agencies are preparing for a major update to the government’s digital accessibility requirements — standards that are designed to modernize and widen access for disabled users.
The specifications, that take effect in January, establish new guidelines to help seeing- and hearing-impaired residents access information on government websites, apps and from other digital media. The rules target federal agencies, but are intended to be a reference point for states and cities.
The changes come through an update to Section 508, a 2001 amendment of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The U.S. Access Board, an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities, announced in an overview of the update that one of the most significant revisions is a wider application of the rules…..Read More
ITU’s suite of accessible publications for people with disabilities is now more readily than ever — available on a dedicated online portal. With over 60 titles available, and many translated into different languages, this is one of many ways ITU is working to advance digital inclusion.Read More
Americans depend on more than 4,500 federal websites to access critical government services and information, but a report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation finds of 91 percent of the most popular agency websites are failing to perform well in at least one key performance metric.
The second edition of ITIF’s “Benchmarking U.S. Government Websites” report follows up and expands on the initial ITIF report released in March. The organization tested 469 websites using publicly available tools for page-load speed, mobile friendliness, security and accessibility.
“As more people go online for public services and as security threats continue to evolve, it is important for federal websites to be more convenient, accessible, and secure,” ITIF research fellow Galia Nurko said. “This report shows a significant amount of work left to be done to modernize federal websites and ensure that, as technology advances, federal websites improve in turn.”Read More
Marcy Sutton – November 20, 2017 Earlier this year, Microsoft debuted their Sonar project, dubbed a “linting tool for the web”. Sonar encourages developers to test for accessibility early in the development process using Deque’s axe-core library under the hood, in addition to rules for interoperability, security, and performance. We’re thrilled to see our work leveraged in open source projects…Read More
15 per cent of the world’s population lives with a disability. This represents about 1 billion people globally. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, satellites or the Internet, are a unique infrastructure that expand access to key public services, promoting digital inclusion. Throughout the world, persons living with disabilities are already benefitting from the advantages of ICT-enabled applications. But…Read More
Now is the Time to Build Smarter and More Accessible Cities There are currently more than 1 billion persons with disabilities worldwide and the rate of urbanization is increasing throughout the world. By considering the needs of all people, we can design for and ensure that our cities become simultaneously smarter and more accessible. As cities invest in Smart City…Read More
Accessibility in the News—11/03/17. This issue: A journalist paralyzed for more than twenty years uses a high-tech exoskeleton to walk, new glasses enable a man born without optic nerves to read the abundance of text in his environment, and accessible computer applications provide a voice to a young college author and presenter with cerebral palsy. NOTE: To get news like…Read More