Wot usecases

From Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group

Part of Web of Things.

Web Of Things Use Cases [DRAFT]

The following are items suggested by Joshue O Connor (W3C/WAI) for further technical discussion within the Accessible Platform Architecture Working Group (APA) and the Research Questions Accessibility Task Force (RQTF) around the Web of Things (WoT) space and its potential need to support accessibility use cases and requirements for people with disabilities.


This document is a [DRAFT], and part of initial discovery into potential use cases. These will be used as the basis for initial review and the work is ongoing and aims to produce use cases that have had wider expert and public review. This document does not represent a formal working group position.

Unified Smart Home Control and Status Interface [From WoT Group]

Smart home functionality (window blinds, lights, air conditioning etc.) is controlled through a multimodal interface, composed from modalities built into the house itself (e.g. speech and gesture recognition) and those available on the user's personal devices (e.g. smartphone touchscreen). The system may automatically adapt to the preferences of a specific user, or enter a more complex interaction if multiple people are present.

Sensors built into various devices around the house can act as input modalities that feed information to the home and affect its behavior. For example, lights and temperature in the gym room can be adapted dynamically as workout intensity recorded by the fitness equipment increases. The same data can also increase or decrease volume and tempo of music tracks played by the user's mobile device or the home's media system.

More about this WoT use case is available on the WoT Use Cases Github page - this is under review in RQTF/APA as of June 2020.

Audiovisual Devices Acting as Smartphone Extensions [From WoT Group]

Many of today's home IoT-enabled devices can provide similar functionality (e.g. audio/video playback), differing only in certain aspects of the user interface. This use case would allow continuous interaction with a specific application as the user moves from room to room, with the user interface switched automatically to the set of devices available in the user's present location.

On the other hand, some devices can have specific capabilities and user interfaces that can be used to add information to a larger context that can be reused by other applications and devices. This drives the need to spread an application across different devices to achieve a more user-adapted and meaningful interaction according to the context of use. Both aspects provide arguments for exploring use cases where applications use distributed multimodal interfaces.

More about this WoT use case is available on the WoT Use Cases Github page - this is under review in RQTF/APA as of June 2020.

Direct Hearing Aid Support

To date support for individuals living with hearing loss has been localised to individual rooms or devices. This requires a higher level of user interruption than need be the case any longer.

If a user acquires a network aware hearing aid, perhaps that can be driven over wifi (though that's a power challenge), a campus network profile could simply offer and automatically connect to amplification systems as the user moves across campus.

Disambiguation would be limited to choosing between adjacent rooms only.

Not only could this provide amplification as needed, it could provide the far more valuable service of personalized equalization.

Navigation Beacons

The American Printing House for the Blind has equipped recent CSUN conferences with navigational beacons. We should look into if they have has this service tested on a good sized campus, where available paths of human navigation are not rectilinear.

Ideally, this could help blind users navigate walking paths safely. Think in terms of network effect in a defined locale for users on the move.

Description of purpose

Providing a description of a machines purpose via wifi or bluetooth that can be consumed by a users AT on their mobile phone. This could be a vending machine, ticketing booth - its name and description of how to use it could be passed to the users device.

Accessibility profiling thru a network

A preference or profile that can follow a user through a sensor enabled network. This could be for the purposes of navigation (similar to the Beacon use case above) or could relate to information that needs to be served to a user as they progress through a building or task flow.

Container Content detection

A fridge or other container that can detect its contents and inform a blind user of same or what is out of date, needs to be replaced etc.

Directional traffic lights

Traffic lights that can tell the user the *direction* the active way is. Blind users at a junction often hear a sound only and are not informed of if the active way is to their left, right, or straight ahead. A signal, such as haptic feedback could be sent to a persons device to be used with the sound, to help orientate the blind user or user with a cognitive impairment who finds it hard to 'understand' auditory only feedback.

Use of alternate controllers

WoT needs to facilitate alternate controllers for accessibility - where a user may prefer to bypass any built in user interface - and inherent accessibility issues and use their own preferred interface to interact with a WoT powered system.

Related Work and Resources

IoT: Education

Download Internet of Things (IoT): Education Implications for Students with Disabilities (Accessible PDF, 920 kbs)

Overview of IoT: Education

A 6-month research project was undertaken at Curtin University to determine the significance of the Internet of Things (IoT) in a tertiary education context. The research consisted of both an analysis of the current literature – focussing on consumer-based IoT, the IoT and disability, and the IoT and education – and interviews conducted to determine the perspectives of IoT of five students with disabilities. While the deployment of this technology in higher education, particularly in relation to students with disabilities, is still in its infancy, recent developments – such as the ubiquitous availability of smartphones, improvements in consumer- based IoT engagement such as standalone digital assistants, greater affordability, as well as the ease of collecting real-time data – provide significant opportunity for IoT innovations and solutions. The potential to seamlessly link students to their learning environment – in traditional classrooms or remotely – has great promise. In addition, students access the IoT via their own devices, thereby enabling their preferred assistive technologies (AT) and their individualised settings. Nevertheless, it is also critical that issues relating to privacy, security and interoperability are also addressed within the IoT context.

Useful Current work for technical specification creators

Framework for Accessible Specification of Technologies (FAST) advises creators of technical specifications how to ensure their technology meets the needs of user with disabilities. It addresses primarily web content technologies but also relates to any technology that affects web content sent to users, including client-side APIs, transmission protocols, and interchange formats. Specifications that implement these guidelines make it possible for content authors and user agents to render the content in an accessible manner to people with a wide range of abilities.


These use cases come from Janina Sajka, Johannes Hund, Saleem Rahman. IoT in Education research is from Scott Hollier, Leanne McRae, Katie Ellis, Mike Kent of Curtin University (Western Australia). Compiled by Josh O'Connor (W3C) with edits from Jason White (ETS).