Smart Cities Library™

Citizen Engagement, Accessibility, Cybersecurity Are Top Smart City Priorities

Smart City Engagement, Accessibility, Cybersecurity Are Top Priorities

 If you asked a ballroom full of government leaders what keeps them up at night, what do you think they would say?  According to our latest “What’s Next in Digital Communications for Local Government” survey results, expanding citizen engagement, increasing digital accessibility and minimizing cybersecurity risks top their to-do lists. Nearly 370 municipal and county government officials across North America…

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New Smart City App Calls Out Landmarks Helping People Who Are Blind Get Where They Need To Go

A New App Calls Out Landmarks To Help People Who Are Blind Get Where They Need To Go

Advancements in technology can play a deep and meaningful role in the independent mobility of people who are blind or have low vision. That is why we created Soundscape, a free app available today on iOS and iPhone in the UK. Soundscape empowers more people to explore the world around them through a 3D audio experience. The app enriches your…

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Accessibility awareness remains low as deadline approaches

Accessibility awareness remains low as deadline approaches

Beginning Jan. 18, 2018, government agencies across the U.S. will be required by law to make their websites accessible to the more than 60 million Americans with visual, hearing or other disabilities. Yet more than 87 percent of 430+ local government respondents to Vision’s 2017 What’s Next Survey said they have moderate, weak or no knowledge of federal web accessibility requirements.

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Empowering the Transformation to a More Inclusive and Accessible World

Empowering the Transformation to a More Inclusive and Accessible World

United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (UN IDPD) serves as an important reminder that globally there are over a billion people with a disability. This year’s theme, “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” is especially relevant to our accessibility efforts here at Microsoft. This is a fact reinforced by the World Health Organization in which they shared that only 1 in 10 have access to the assistive technology they need: technology that can empower functioning, well-being and independence. This is a statistic that needs to change.

Disability is something that can affect any of us at any time, and technology has the power to change lives and help transform society on multiple levels. There have been many advances in assistive technology, especially in the last couple of years, and it’s both exciting and humbling to see the progress. There’s a lot more to do (and trust me, we’re on that!) but in the meantime, let’s talk about some of the steps we’re making at Microsoft to make accessibility easier to find, use, and become a master at….

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Scant progress on federal website accessibility performance

Scant progress on federal website performance — GCN

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.”

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Microsoft using AI to empower people living with disabilities

Microsoft using AI to empower people living with disabilities

“Accessibility by design” is an important concept for Microsoft, and one that underpins many of its artificial intelligence-powered products, including Seeing AI.

Announced on Wednesday among a series of other AI tools, Seeing AI is a free mobile application designed to support people with visual impairments by narrating the world around them. The app — which is an ongoing research project bringing together deep learning and Microsoft Cognitive Services — can read documents, making sense of structural elements such as headings, paragraphs, and lists, as well as identify a product using its barcode….

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