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Bridging the Gap? Access to telecommunciations for all people



1. Introduction - Patrick Roe

2. Evolution of telecom services and equuipment for people with limited ability

2.1 General overview of situation between 1989 and 2001 - Jan Ekberg, Julio Abascal, Klaus Fellbaum, Leonor Pereira, Patrick Roe

2.2 Relay services: A comparison between 1991 and 2001 - Patrick Roe

3. Are products and services reaching the market?

3.1 Development in telematics research for disabled and older people between 1989 and 2001 - Jan Ekberg, Julio Abascal, Leonor Pereira, Viveca Arrhenius, Mathijs Soede, Patrick Roe

3.2 From R&D to market products - The TIDE Action - Jan-Ingvar Lindström and Julio Abascal

3.3 Industry awareness and transfer in Europe and the USA - Hannele Hyppönen, (Europe), Chris Law, Gregg Vanderheiden (USA)

3.4 Is Education helping bridge the gap? - Diamantino Freitas, Bob Allen, Leonor Pereira, Christian Bühler, Anton Civit

3.5 Legislation, regulation and standardisation: Their contribution to services and equipment for disabled and elderly people - Mike Martin, Erkki Kemppainen, Tony Shipley, Gunela Astbrink, Chris Law, Gregg Vanderheiden, Knut Nordby

4. Future strategies - Pier Luigi Emiliani, Constantine Stephanidis

5. Classification of communication terms and services - Klaus Fellbaum, Dirk Hoepfner, Maik Hampicke, Jan Engelen

6. Conclusion

Appendix I Glossary of Acronyms

Appendix II Addresses of Authors and COST 219bis members

Appendix III Other COST 219 Publications

Appendix IV Further information


Since the original launch of the COST 219 action in 1986, there has been a massive change in the telecommunications field both from a technological and economic point of view. Within this overall environment there is a growing awareness amongst decision makers that new telecommunications facilities have to be accessible to all people, including disabled and older people.

COST is a framework for scientific and technical co-operation in Europe. The main aspect is co-ordination of the national research on a European level.

COST219bis "Telecommunications: Access for Disabled and Elderly People", is a continuation of the original COST 219 Action. This group is therefore uniquely placed to review the development of telecommunications products and services for disabled and older people over the past 15 years whilst keeping an eye on the future challenges that lie ahead.

The main objective of COST219bis is to increase the availability of telecommunications services and equipment so that they are accessible to all people, including disabled and older people. The "Design for all" or "Inclusive design" concept has been strongly advocated by the COST219bis. Where it has not been possible to implement this concept from the design phase, equipment should be adapted or appropriate supplementary facilities should be proposed.

The signatory countries in COST 219bis are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malty, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Australia and the United States of America are participating as non-COST members.

This book is therefore a collaborative effort with contributions from more than twenty experts from all over the world. It will give the reader a snapshot of the latest situation concerning the development of telecommunications products and services for disabled and older people and all the related issues.

I would like to personally thank all the authors without whom it would not have been possible to produce this book. I would also like to thank the Commission of the European Communities for their support for this publication. And finally I would like to thank the living COST 219 deliverables for their support during this venture.

Patrick R.W. Roe

Published by the Commission of European Communities

Acknowledgments: Book design and type-setting: Laura Goeldlin

Cover design: Ariane Bondroit

Editing financed by: Office Fédéral de l'Education et de la Science (OFES), Switzerland

Additional support from the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (Stakes), Finland and CEAPAT/IMERSO, Spain

Legal Notice: Neither the Commission of the European Communities nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission of European Communities is responsible for the use which might be made of the information contained in this publication.

© COST 219bis, Printed in Switzerland by Presses Centrales Lausanne SA, November.2001



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