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Integration of People with Special Needs by IBC

Objective

The main objective is the analysis and production of specifications of possible means of integration of people with visual/motor/speech disabilities into the multimedia communication network.
Research has been carried out in order to specify the means for integrating people with visual, motor and speech disabilities into the multimedia communication network. Personal use of general telecommunication service was investigated and involved the following:
interaction with multimedia retrieval systems in connection with applications such as teleshopping and telebanking;
access to information services (newsletters);
access to electronic mail services.

The impact of integrated broadcast communications (IBC) services and applications on the possibilities for communication and access to information by people with special needs has been assessed. Multimedia services and terminals have been functionally described and a survey was made of available hardware and software for use in terminals. Investigations have covered:
man machine interface (MMI) aspects of people with special needs;
redundancy and transferability in IBC signals;
IBC provisions for different people with special needs (PSN) user groups;
models of interaction between the user, the terminal and the network;
performance characteristics in monomodal and multimodal PSN user interactions;
future technological solutions;
social issues.

A framework for definition of specifications has been defined giving the only complete and general IBC terminal functional reference model (FRM) in the Research and development in Advanced Communications technologies in Europe programme (RACE).
The standard reference manual of specifications for terminal designers will give the data necessary to ensure accessibility, either directly or by modular adaptations, for all users of European IBC terminals. This will increase integration within professional and social environments, give access to culture and improve autonomy in private life.
Technical Approach

The main emphasis is on the support to be given to personal use of general telecommunication services. The main functions to be guaranteed are:

. interaction with multimedia retrieval systems in connection with such applications as eg tele-shopping and tele-banking
. access to information services (eg newsletters)
. access to electronic mail services
. access to interpersonal communication.

These will increase people's integration within professional and social environments, give access to culture and improve their autonomy in private life.

The starting model is an integrated terminal with data channel(s), voice channel(s), and graphics/image/video channel(s), each exhibiting characteristics governed by available bandwidth. These channels can be integrated to support the needs of particular users and special services; alternatively redundant representations of information can be introduced into the system, when a direct access through normal transactions is not possible.

Key Issues
Adequately catering for the needs of user groups, for whom the IBC could otherwise be expected to add to their handicap, relative to the norm of the population.

Achievements
Envisaged IBC services and applications have been analysed, and their impact assessed on the possibilities for communication and access to information by people with special needs. Multimedia services and terminals have been functionally described, and a survey made of available hardware and software for use in terminals.

Investigations have covered:

. MMI aspects of people with special needs
. redundancy and transferability in IBC signals
. IBC provisions for different PSN user groups
. models of interaction between the user, the terminal and the network
. performance characteristics in mono- and multi-modal PSN user interactions
. future technological solutions
. social issues.

A significant achievement has arisen from the work to define an IBC terminal functional model, as a framework for definition of specifications. As far as can be determined, this is the only complete and general IBC terminal FRM in RACE, and as such as has been the foundation for CFS L340: Functional Reference Model for IBC Terminals.

The work has so far led to four published papers.

Expected Impact
The project aims to produce a standard reference manual of specifications for terminal designers that will give them the data necessary to ensure accessibility, either directly or by modular adaptations, for all users of European IBC terminals.

Coordinator

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)

Participants (6)

Alcatel Air Navigation Face SpA
Italy
Address
Via Trento 30
20059 Vimercate Milano
FOUNDATION OF RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY - HELLAS
Greece
Address
Dedalou 36
INSTITUTE FOR REHABILITATION RESEARCH
Netherlands
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Belgium
Address
Oude Markt 13
TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND
Finland
UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE
United Kingdom
Address

DD1 4HN Dundee