Brussels, 16 Sep 2002
Draft Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of a European Concerted Research Action designated as COST Action 219ter "Accessibility for All to services and terminals for next generation networks". European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research - COST Secretariat.
9 September 2002 (document COST 259/02)
The signatories of this Memorandum of Understanding, declaring their common intention to participate in the concerned Action referred to above and described in the Technical Annex of the Memorandum have reached the following understanding
1. The Action will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the document COST400/94 "Rules and Procedures for Implementing COST Actions", the contents of which are fully known to the Signatories.
2. The main objective of the Action is to increase the accessibility of next generation telecommunication network services and equipment to elderly people and people with disabilities by design or, alternatively, by adaptation when required.
3. The overall cost of the activities carried out under the Action has been estimated, on the basis of information available during the planning of the Action, at roughly 9 million € in 2002 prices.
4. The Memorandum of Understanding will take effect of being signed by at least five Signatories.
5. The Memorandum of Understanding will remain in force for a period of 4 years, unless the duration of the Action is modified according to the provisions of the document referred to in Point 1 above.
The next generations of mobile systems will have the capability to transmit data, text, voice and pictures and will also be able in due course to transmit videos between fixed or moving terminals with a varying bandwidth that responds to instant demand with the customer being charged accordingly. These systems will provide Internet access as well as point-to-point communication, and will merge with other wireless technologies - such as broadcasting, as well as with fixed systems to a very significant extent. They will also embrace short-range communication links like Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11b, so that mobile equipment can automatically identify and communicate with appliances at home or in the street that have these capacities. Because the new mobile systems will be general conduits for information carriage, and will not be function-specific, they have the potential to form the ideal foundation for an inclusive telecommunications arena....
B. OBJECTIVES AND BENEFITS
The main objective of the Action is to increase the accessibility of next generation telecommunication network services and equipment to elderly people and people with disabilities by design or, alternatively, by adaptation when required.
In cases where this cannot be achieved, the Action will aim at promoting the establishment of appropriate supplementary assistive services and equipment.
Taking always into account the "Design for All" concept in telecommunications and teleinformatics, especially in the mobile field, the objectives of the Action can be specified in operational terms as follows:
- Extend the existing COST 219 database and the knowledge required for designers on consumers and their requirements, so that many more disabled and elderly people can be catered for in mainstream design,
- Support the exchange of Inclusion and Accessibility issues so that these can be freely explored with developers, researchers and representatives of the telecommunications industries and service providers, so that
- Disabled and elderly people are enabled to share in the benefits of new mobile communication systems as discriminating consumers from the outset, but not being discriminated against.
C. SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMME
Building on the results achieved by COST Action 219 and COST Action 219 bis (especially the knowledge of the field and the network of contacts) the work will be to:
1. Continuously update information on relevant, existing services and technical solutions as well as ongoing and planned R & D work, and retrieve and disseminate information through use of databases and informatics services (e.g. on http://www.cost219.org),
2. Study user accessibility to mobile devices (assessment and test of current mobile devices according to the requirements for disabled and elderly people based on a thorough analysis of their needs and assessment of proposals for supplementary equipment or alternative devices),
3. Promote feasibility studies and concepts for improving accessibility or improving adaptability of mobile phone based services or for new special services and their implementation (e.g. accessibility of Bluetooth applications),
4. Identify gaps in the technical development that inhibit the development of equipment and services accessible to all potential users, and suggest/develop new technology aimed to favour this development,
5. Study accessibility of different types of contents such as sophisticated multimedia contents, etc.
6. Assess augmentative and alternative mobile services for interpersonal communication, access to information and other services.
7. Initiate or continue existing dialogues with service providers, e.g. by providing guidelines for new services,
8. Create liaisons with relevant groups within COST, ETSI, ITU, EC, EURESCOM, AAATE, EIDD, EDF etc. and organise joint seminars or conferences on topics of mutual interest,
9. Promote collaborative research through the short-term mission exchange of young scientists.
10. Promote co-ordination of national research efforts by stimulating exchange of information on on-going research activities.
11. Disseminate information for mobile accessibility through workshops and publications.
- Creating a network of laboratories to test next generation telecommunication devices and services for accessibility,
- Setting up activities to support the development of hardware and software solutions aimed at producing a technology that is inherently accessible to all the potential users,
- Assess adaptation methods and special solutions in the cases where the future telecommunication services and devices can not be made fully accessible.
- Assess conversion methods enabling information to be adapted to the capacity of the channel and the actual terminal used as well as to the preferences and momentary abilities of the user.
- Focus the research on interoperable mobile and fixed multimodal networks providing a seamless infrastructure for communication, access to information, communication between user agents and ambient intelligence....