Wireless RERC on the Record: Advancing Access to an Inclusive Internet of Things

Filing Date
March 13th, 2017

The Wireless RERC, in collaboration with Georgia Tech’s Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP), submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Request for Comments on the Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Roles for the Government in Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things [IOT] [170105023-7023-01]. CACP and the Wireless RERC strongly recommend that NTIA specifically articulate policy recommendations that support early stage inclusion of people with disabilities to further accessibility and usability of IoT technology and services before development and deployment of the same. Properly designed and developed, the IoT can realize its potential to empower all citizens, including people with disabilities to achieve an improved quality of life and greater social and economic inclusion. Comments also suggested that the federal government focus future policy initiatives as well as technological design on addressing the ability of IoT to apply “on demand” contextually aware information. This display of consumer-digestible information, coupled with the intelligence of devices and applications can meet and anticipate the needs of users with disabilities in ways which increase user independence, opening new opportunities in areas as broad as education, workforce participation, safety, e-health, and social engagement. Further, when implemented in the workplace, IoT technologies can profoundly change the experience of persons with disabilities, providing tools for independence and autonomy while at work. But implementation is to some extent dependent on availability and suitability of current (or in development) devices and services. It is here that the NTIA could provide formidable leadership in driving the development of the IoT framework by supporting multi-stakeholder engagement, not only formally, regarding policymaking, standards setting and regulation, but also by supporting the formation of public-private partnerships and other multi-stakeholder collaborations to envision innovative types and uses of IoT.