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Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things integrates objects into web based systems and services. How does this impact on accessibility and as well what potential for assistive functionalities and increased accessibility for people with disabilities can be expected?

Contacts

Page author(s): Klaus Miesenberger


Keywords

[Internet of Things, Accessibility]


Description

The Internet of Things refers to a virtual representation of a broad variety of objects on the Interent and their integration into Internet or Web based systems and services. Based on interaction and commuication interfaces such as RFID, NFC, barcodes or 2D codes they expose information, features and functionalities which can be integrated into systems and services.

Background

It is outlined by severa researchers and research projects that after the web and the mobile revolution during the last two decade we are approaching the next revolution summarized with the term Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things refers to a virtual representation of a broad variety of objects on the Interent and their integration into Internet or Web based systems and services. Based on interaction and commuication interfaces such as RFID, NFC, barcodes or 2D codes they expose information, features and functionalities which can be integrated into systems and services. This allows connectivity for anything and not only for anyone at any time and any place. The physical world and (human) beings are connected and interact in virtual data and environments. As ICT and the web have been core enablers for an increased participaton and inclusion of people with disabilities in society, it is an indispensable requirement to take accessibility also into the age of the Internet of Things.

As the things become virtual als the Internet and virtual objects get a physical representation and might ask considering the inclusion of physical accessibility considerations.

Discussion

For people with disabilities two questions are of major interest regarding the Internet of Things:

  • The accessibility of the Internet of Things, meaning systems and services including interaciton and communication with end users based on according support by the "things" in terms of providing necessary patterns, attributes, features and functionalities requested for accessibility and seamlessly integrating into their user experience of employing alternative modes and tools (assistive technologies) of access.
  • The potential of the "Internet of Things" as an enabler of assistive functionalities and/or increased accessibility support and services for people with disabilities in domains such as
    • Independent living, Ambient and Assisted Living (AAL) and Environmental Control
    • Navigation and mobility support in public spaces including shopping, cultural places, public transport
    • Service provision and (health) care
    • Education and learning
    • Job integration

Further on this topic should address question like

  • do existing guidelines and recommendations cover and sufficiently include the Internet of Things
  • what requirements and guidlines can be defined for a "thing" that it seamlessly integrates into an accessible user experiences in terms of
    • general characteristics and features of the Internet of Things
    • specific characteristics and featrues for certain interaction aspects (e.g. navigation, information) and domains (e.g. learning, banking, mobility support, ...)
  • do existing and proposed architectures of the Internet of Things support accessibility or how could they do
  • Hardeare accessibility of the Internet of Things
  • Monitoring technical developments for accessibility
  • Monitoring and participating in standardisation

References

[References to related works and activities]

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