2006 Conference General Sessions


Ken Salaets
Access Star/ITI
1250 Eye St. NW
Washington DC 20005
Day Phone: 202-626-5752
Email: kensalaets@itic.org

By creating an Internet portal dedicated to providing timely, credible information on accessibility trends, technology and market requirements, government policy makers, businesses and consumers can communicate and collaborate more effectively to help advance the development of accessibility technology and services.

Disabilities do not recognize borders.  A person who is blind in Bridgeport, for example, could benefit from the same technology solutions as a blind person in Brussels or Brisbane. Government legislators and policy makers around the world are starting to consider the needs of people with disabilities, spurred on in part by aging populations. This common need creates an excellent opportunity for collaboration, but how do we go about creating a global approach to accessibility?

How do we motivate governments to work together to create a common, streamlined policy framework? How do we motivate manufacturers to make the necessary investments to increase the accessibility and usability of hardware, software and Internet content? Of equal importance, how do we do all of this as rapidly and inexpensively as possible? The answer: create a single web portal with a global focus that can serve as a platform to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between all key stakeholders: government, industry and consumers.

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is committed to promoting a harmonized, market-driven global response to meeting the needs of people with disabilities and age-related limitations. To help advance this goal, we have developed an Internet portal, ACCESS STAR, to serve as the premier global resource for reliable information on accessibility trends, technology and market requirements.  

By highlighting innovation and best practices, we believe ACCESS STAR can serve as a catalyst for growing the global market for quality accessible solutions. This in turn will reduce costs for buyers and sellers, and make it easier for people with disabilities and age-related limitations to live, work and play in an increasingly digital world.

ACCESS STAR will be overseen by an advisory board drawn from ICT and AT vendors, government and consumer representatives from throughout the world. The portal will be developed in phases.  

Among other things, ACCESS STAR is intended to:
•  Help accelerate international harmonization of accessibility standards and policies for accessible ICT and assistive technologies
•  Promote excellence by featuring select case studies and advocating industry best practices
•  Facilitate effective communication and collaboration between government, industry and consumers around the globe.

ACCESS STAR will contain content and information of value to global ICT and AT sellers (manufacturers and service providers, including Internet-based services); global ICT and AT buyers (governments, institutions, corporations and consumers); legislators; regulators; and standards development organizations.

The portal will focus on global developments and trends in ICT and AT accessibility in the following regions: Asia/Australia; Europe; Latin America; Middle East/Africa; North America; and the People’s Republic of China. The primary language will be English. In the future, however, ITI hopes to be able to offer versions in other languages, such as French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish.

This session will feature a live demonstration of the features and functionality that have been built into ACCESS STAR, including some of the tools available to government, industry and consumers. We will also solicit ideas and feedback from the participants, as well as explore collaborations that may help make the portal an even more effective tool.

The demonstration will be provided by Ken J. Salaets, Executive Director of ACCESS STAR, who also serves at Director of Government Relations at the Information Technology Industry Council.  

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