CACP addresses a wide range of advanced communications policy issues and related technology applications, particularly in the wireless and new technology arenas. These activities result in timely papers, reports, and articles, as well as advisories and published research filings before regulatory authorities.
Mobile Phone Accessibility
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a statutory obligation to evaluate the impact of their regulations that implement the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). Every two years the FCC submits a report to Congress on the state of industry compliance with the CVAA. In anticipation of the FCC's call for stakeholder input to inform their 2018 CVAA Biennial Report, the Wireless RERC conducted a 2017 Mobile Phone Accessibility Review (Accessibility Review/Review). Preliminary results of the review were submitted to the FCC[i] in response to the request for “input on the state of accessibility of “mobile” or wireless services, including basic phones and feature phones (collectively referred to herein as non-smartphones), as well as smartphones.”[ii] This report contains the full summary and comparative analyses.
[i] Mitchell, H., LaForce, S., Moon, N., Baker, P.M.A., Garcia, A., & Jacobs, B. (2018, May 3). Comments submitted in response to the Public Notice in the Matter of The Accessibility of Communications Technologies for the 2018 Biennial Report Required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act [CG Docket No. 10-213, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau]. Federal Communications Commission: Washington, D.C.
[ii] Federal Communications Commission. (2018). FCC Invites Public Comment in the Preparation of Biennial Report to Congress. Retrieved from https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-18-340A1.pdf
-> New Wireless RERC Research Brief: Accessibility, Usability, and Social and Cultural Acceptance of Next-Generation Wireless Devices
Volume 2018, Number 18-01, December 2018
A new research brief by CACP researchers Nathan W. Moon, Paul M.A. Baker, and Kenneth Goughnour, summarizes findings from focus groups which explored accessibility, social appropriateness, and cultural acceptability issues of wireless technology related use among individuals with disabilities. The research was conducted for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC). A total of 41 individuals with disabilities who use smartphones, wearables, and "smart home" devices participated in the study. [PDF]
Driving New Modes of IoT-Facilitated Citizen/User Engagement (CDAIT Paper)
July 2018 – A new white paper by the Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT), Thought Leadership Working Group (co-chaired by Wireless RERC researcher, Dr. Paul M.A. Baker) defines IoT and its dimensions, and more broadly, addresses the opportunities and limitations of SmartCities, IoT deployments, use cases (e.g., public safety, transportation, healthcare, utilities), data ownership and security, business models, ethics, and so much more. Dr. Baker ensured that the Thought Leadership Working Group were thinking of an accessible, inclusive IoT framework. According to the report: “With an eye toward increasing the utility of IoT for end users, other aspects that need to be considered are the accessibility and usability of these technologies, which can increase participation for a great number of users. This is a typically overlooked design component and one that designers and developers of Smart City-connected applications, devices, and technologies could facilitate by obtaining input from a wide range of users, especially those who could potentially benefit the most from IoT technologies: people with disabilities, the aging, minorities/underrepresented groups, and other underserved populations.”[PDF]
A Science Policy Research Report: A Research Agenda for the Science of Broadening Participation: STEM Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.
Kaye Husbands Fealing, Paul M. A. Baker, Connie L. McNeely, and Andrew Hanus. Presented at the Innovation Policy Forum Workshop on Government Decision-Making to Allocate Scientific Resources, January 8-9, 2018, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
CACP/Wireless RERC Research Brief: Accessibility, Usability, and the Design of Wearables and Wirelessly Connected Devices (Brief #17-01)
October 2017 - Researchers at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) have conducted a review of representative applications and examples of currently available wearable and connected technologies. Drawing on the findings, the research brief explores the potential impact of inclusive design principles on future device development for users with disabilities – a critical approach to ensuring that these technologies truly meet the needs of this target population. Inclusively designed technologies can: 1) enhance accessibility, 2) increase independence and community participation, and 3) support a more inclusive society, a trend which we feel will become increasingly the norm in the future.[PDF]
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Research Brief: Observations of the 2016 National EAS Test
December 2016 – The Wireless RERC completed a study observing the 2016 nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and released a research brief outlining findings and recommendations. EAS is a national warning system in the United States established in 1997 by the FCC to alert the public of local weather emergencies as well as national security incidents. The most recent National EAS Test was conducted on September 28, 2016. Before this test, the FCC provided key recommendations and technical requirements to broadcasters based on the first national EAS test in November 2011.
In 2011, the Wireless RERC conducted focus groups and surveys regarding the accessibility of the first nationwide test to set a baseline for comparing EAS with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). The findings from our study concluded that inconsistent implementation of EAS rules rendered the test not reliably accessible to people with visual and/or hearing difficulties. Therefore, during the most recent nationwide EAS test on September 28, 2016, we observed the test in its standard format to assess if issues that were present in the 2011 test were remedied in the 2016 test. Based on our sample of television and radio tests, we concluded that the 2016 National EAS test revealed technical and compliance-related challenges that affect accessibility. In a subsequent report by the FCC, Initial Findings Regarding the 2016 Nationwide EAS Test [15-94], they mirrored some of our annotations concerning the quality of the audio, accessibility of text, and the provision of Spanish-language alert messages. This report summarizes the findings.[PDF]
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WEA - Optimizing Ability of Message Receipt by People with Disabilities
February 9, 2016 - In 2014, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate funded the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Center for Advanced Communications Policy to examine and report on how to optimize Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) message receipt by people with disabilities. Reaching people with disabilities, including the deaf and hard of hearing, with WEA messages is critical, in part because people with disabilities utilize and depend on wireless devices, including mobile phones at more than 96 percent. Their devices become even more important during emergencies. The aim of this project was to assist in understanding and identifying ways to ensure that people with disabilities had timely and effective access to WEA messages. This report summarizes the findings.[PDF]
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Bennett, D. (2015). Gaps in Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Effectiveness. Atlanta, GA: Wireless RERC and the Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies surveyed the public (with emphasis on people with disabilities) to assess the awareness and understanding of Wireless Emergency Alerts. The findings assisted the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) by highlighting potential gaps in WEA effectiveness for people with disabilities. [PDF]
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Bennett, D., Sharpe, D., & Williams, A. (2014). Mobile Apps Catalog. Atlanta, GA: Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
The Mobile Apps Catalog is a collection of emergency management and assistive mobile applications intended to assist first responders, emergency managers, and the public, specifically people with disabilities or others with access and function needs. Highlighted in this catalog are readily available preparedness and response apps that can be accessed by wireless devices, as well as assistive resources to advance the usability of wireless devices for consumers with disabilities. [PDF]
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Bennett, D., Benson, B., & Sharpe, D. (2014). Dissemination of WEA: Survey of Alert Authorities. Atlanta, GA: Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
This brief summarizes the survey results on how FEMA approved alert authorities used IPAWS to send WEAs to the public. The survey was sent to all 425 alert authorities in 2014. The questions asked were intended to assist the CACP in identifying current best practices that can be used as benchmarks for emergency managers and other potential alerting authorities regarding ways to assist the identified population. 139 alerting authorities (33%) responded to this survey. [PDF]
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Mitchell, H., & Levy, L. (2014). Review of Industry Initiatives on Mobile Device Accessibility. Atlanta, GA: Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
The review identifies, describes, and assesses industry initiatives in mobile device accessibility, focusing on existing hardware and highlighting available software APIs. The majority of this review was referenced from industrial, governmental, organizational, and end user compliance documents and similar materials. Links to relevant and suggested references are provided. [PDF]
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Workplace Accommodations for People with Disabilities
Baker, P.M.A. & Moon, N.W. (2010). Workplace Accommodations for People with Disabilities: Results of a Policy Delphi Study. (Working Paper #02-2010): Atlanta, GA: Workplace Accommodations RERC and the Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
The WorkRERC and CACP looking at policy aspects of developing workplace accommodations.
Analysis of Responses to the ICDR’s Call for Recommendations on Emerging Disability Research Topics
Baker, P.M.A., Bricout, J.C., Hazlett, R. & Moon, N.W. (2009). Research Brief: Analysis of Responses to the ICDR’s 2009 Call for Recommendations on Emerging Disability Research Topics: The Central Role of Collaboration in Advancing a New Policy Agenda. (Working Paper #12-2009). Atlanta, GA: Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
State-Level Variations in Open Source Policies
Baker, P.M.A., Moon, N.W., Noonan, D., & Seavey, A. (2009). State-Level Variations in Open Source Policies. (School of Public Policy Working Paper #49). Atlanta, GA: Georgia Institute of Technology. View here.
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Collaborative Policy Networks
Baker, P.M.A., Dickson, A., & Moon, N. (2008). Collaborative Policy Networks: Coordinating Disability and Technology Policy. (CACP Paper #01.10.08). Atlanta, GA: Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
A newly issued working paper by CACP, in collaboration with the Wireless and Workplace Accommodations RERCs, addresses key factors and practices that can be used to develop a set of virtual interactive tools which support a community of practice focusing on disability and technology policy. It probes online contexts that can leverage the research, academic, and advocacy nodes of the disability community into effectual policy-making. It also provides a brief review of three distinct bodies of literature: policy networks, online social networking, and communities of practice.
Open Source Index (OSI) Study
Baker, P.M.A., Moon, N., & Noonan, D. (2008). Open Source Software Study/Barrier and Opportunity Analysis. Atlanta, GA: Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
Red Hat Inc. has released the Open Source Index (OSI) study conducted by Paul M.A. Baker, CACP, Professor Doug Noonan, School of Public Policy, and Nathan W. Moon, CACP researcher in the School of History Technology and Society. The index compares and contrasts open source activity and environments across 75 countries. The global growth of open source continues to increase across the private sector, government and individuals. The study measures open source using two separate indices: one for activity and another for environment.
Workplace Accommodations Policy Highlights
Baker, P.M.A. & Bell, A. (2007). Workplace Accommodations Policy Highlights. Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
Workplace Accommodations Policy Highlights is a bi-monthly newsletter produced for the purpose of identifying policy, regulatory framework and market factors that can be useful in reducing barriers to integrating people with disabilities into the workforce. These bi-monthly highlights support the Workplace RERC’s other research efforts and provide people with disabilities and industry with a centralized source of information supportive of the principles of the ADA and other regulations whose intent is to promote fairness and equity for people with disabilities. View here.
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Final Report of the Subcommittee on New Technologies
Baker, P.M.A., Bakowski, A., Bankoff, J., Greene, T., & Mitchell, H. (2005). Final Report: City of Atlanta Telecommunications Policy Advisory Committee, Subcommittee on New Technologies. Atlanta, GA: Center for Advanced Communications Policy.
The focus of this report is on potential investments in new telecommunications technologies by the City of Atlanta, Georgia. In March 2004, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution creating a Telecommunications Policy Advisory Committee (TelePAC) with the purpose of “reviewing City policy so as to advise the Mayor and City Council on maximizing the use of telecommunication technology and programs so as to benefit the public’s health, safety, and welfare.” Part of TelePAC’s mission is to advise City policy “regarding the deployment of new technologies within the city that would maximize the availability of telecommunications services.” This report broadly examines potential investments in new technologies that the City of Atlanta could make, compares alternative policy options, and makes recommendations for changes in the City’s telecommunications policies.
The Virtual Workspace: Telework, Disabilities and Public Policy
Baker, P.M.A. & Fairchild, A. (2005). The Virtual Workspace: Telework, Disabilities and Public Policy. In D. Remenyi (ed.) Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on e-Government (ECEG 2005). Reading, UK: Academic Conferences Ltd.
Although policymakers are beginning to recognize that the use of ICTs can be used to help create reasonable workplace accommodation for people with disabilities, focused, comprehensive programs targeted at advancing these applications of ICT have yet to be developed. This paper provides an overview and a philosophical comparison of both the U.S. and European policies on telework for people with disabilities.
Virtual Exclusion and Telework: The Double-edged Sword of Technocentric Workplace Accommodation Policy
Baker, P.M.A., Moon, N., & Ward, A. (2005). Virtual Exclusion and Telework: The Double-edged Sword of Technocentric Workplace Accommodation Policy. Presented at: Workplace Accommodations State of the Science Conference, September 15-16, 2005, Atlanta, GA.
Workplaces are complex social communities, in which social capital plays no small part (Burt 1995, Wellman, et. al, 1996). The productive and efficacious achievement of tasks (that is "doing work") frequently requires the flow of information and interactive engagement with coworkers. Given the current level of technology this could be somewhat problematic in a virtual work (teleworking) environment. From a policy standpoint, this leads to the question of "how can we design policy to facilitate the integration of people with disabilities into the workplace in such a way as to optimize their interactions with other workers?" [PDF] [PDF PPT]
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Getting Out the Vote: Assessing Technological, Social and Process Barriers to (e)Voting for People with Disabilities
Baker, P.M.A., Moon, N., Roy, R. (2005). Getting Out the Vote: Assessing Technological, Social and Process Barriers to (e)Voting for People with Disabilities. Presented at The Twenty-Seventh Annual APPAM Research Conference, 3-5 November, 2005, Washington, D.C.
This paper presents some of the preliminary findings of a pilot survey of voter satisfaction with the voting process, using manual and electronic voting and including voters with and without disabilities, to help assess and identify potential issues, barriers and opportunities that may impede the voting process for people with disabilities.
Municipal Advanced Telecommunication Infrastructure Project (MuniTIP) (OTP Policy Study No. 50103)
Clark, K.E., & Baker, P.M.A. (2003). Municipal Advanced Telecommunication Infrastructure Project (MuniTIP) (OTP Policy Study No. 50103). Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology, Atlanta, GA. April. The Municipal Advanced Telecommunication Infrastructure Project (MuniTIP) examined the role of municipal involvement in advanced information infrastructure development. A schematic process model for considering the factors influencing infrastructure development was created to allow municipalities, their stakeholders and policy makers to consider the factors which most influence infrastructure development. Six policy options offer a range of strategies to assist municipalities when deciding how to proceed with these complex issues ranging from ownership of the infrastructure to doing nothing.[PDF]
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DigitalGeorgia: A White Paper on Information and Communications Technology in Georgia
Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology (GCATT). (2000). DigitalGeorgia: A White Paper on Information and Communications Technology in Georgia. Office of Policy and Programs, GCATT. Prepared for the Office of the Governor, Atlanta, Georgia, 2000.
This white paper was commissioned by the Office of the Governor to assist the State of Georgia in establishing policy guidelines that would improve the ability of all Georgians to participate in a digital society. Our daily lives and workplace opportunities increasingly require the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).1 To this end, the Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology (GCATT) was selected as the neutral party to gather information and solicit statewide viewpoints from government, business, and citizen groups. [PDF]
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