Over $3.25 Million Paid by Greyhound to Individuals in Disability Settlement

greyhound legal ada settlement

Disability Settlement Greyhound

The Department of Justice today announced payments by Greyhound Lines, Inc. totaling $2,966,000 to over 2,100 individuals who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound. The payments were part of a broader settlement from 2016 resolving the Department’s complaint that Greyhound, the nation’s largest provider of intercity bus transportation, engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide full and equal transportation services to passengers with disabilities.  The $2,966,000 amount is in addition to $300,000 paid by Greyhound in 2016 to specific individuals identified by the Department, bringing the total distributed to individuals to over $3,250,000. To read the press release regarding this event, click here. For more information about the ADA, call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.

What accessibility looks like 30 years after the ADA passed

Excerpt from The Denver Post May 2019

It is also a reminder of why it’s important to keep the pressure on government and private entities to make public places accessible to all.

“The sort of run-of-the mill storefronts, restaurants, retail store, those really should be accessible now and a lot are but too many still are not,” said Kenneth Shiotani, senior staff attorney for the National Disability Right Network, which is based in Washington, D.C.

He said outdoor spaces, such as beaches and trails, pose more challenges than man-made structures when it comes to accessibility and for that reason, new guidelines were set for them in 2013. But Meridian Hill Park, which boasts of having the largest cascading fountain in the country, seems much more structured than other outdoor spaces, he said.

“I think the wedding party had reasonable expectations that 30 years later [after the ADA was passed] a federal park would be accessible,” Shiotani said. “It’s a public park, it’s paid for by public dollars, it should ultimately be accessible for everybody.”

How Your Company To Prevent ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits

Excerpt from Search Engine Journal May 2019

Every day, websites and mobile apps prevent people from using them. Ignoring accessibility is no longer a viable option.

How do you prevent your company from being a target for a website accessibility ADA lawsuit?

Guidelines for websites wanting to be accessible to people with disabilities have existed for nearly two decades thanks to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative.

A close cousin to usability and user experience design, accessibility improves the overall ease of use for webpages and mobile applications by removing barriers and enabling more people to successfully complete tasks.

We know now that disabilities are only one area that accessibility addresses.

Most companies do not understand how people use their website or mobile app, or how they use their mobile or assistive tech devices to complete tasks.

Even riskier is not knowing about updates in accessibility guidelines and new accessibility laws around the world.

Investing in Website Accessibility Is a Wise Marketing Decision

Internet marketers found themselves taking accessibility seriously when their data indicated poor conversions. They discovered that basic accessibility practices implemented directly into content enhanced organic SEO.

Many marketing agencies include website usability and accessibility reviews as part of their online marketing strategy for clients because a working website performs better and generates more revenue.

Adding an accessibility review to marketing service offerings is a step towards avoiding an ADA lawsuit, which of course, is a financial setback that can destroy web traffic and brand loyalty.

Convincing website owners and companies of the business case for accessibility is difficult. One reason is the cost.  Will they see a return on their investment?

I would rather choose to design an accessible website over paying for defense lawyers and losing revenue during remediation work.

Another concern is the lack of skilled developers trained in accessibility. Do they hire someone or train their staff?

Regardless of whether an accessibility specialist is hired or in-house developers are trained in accessibility, the education never ends.

Specialists are always looking for solutions and researching options that meet guidelines. In other words, training never ends.

Many companies lack an understanding of what accessibility is and why it is important. They may not know how or where to find help.

Accessibility advocates are everywhere writing articles, presenting webinars, participating in podcasts, and writing newsletters packed with tips and advice.

ADA lawsuits make the news nearly every day in the U.S. because there are no enforceable regulations for website accessibility. This is not the case for government websites.

Federal websites must adhere to Section 508 by law. State and local websites in the U.S. are required to check with their own state to see what standards are required.

Most will simply follow Section 508 or WCAG2.1 AAA guidelines.

If your website targets customers from around the world, you may need to know the accessibility laws in other countries. The UK and Canada, for example, are starting to enforce accessibility.

In the U.S., there has been no change in the status of ADA website accessibility laws this year.

Some judges have ruled that the lack of regulation or legal standards for website accessibility does not mean that accessibility should be ignored.

Read complete article at Search Engine Journal May 2019

Accessibility at the forefront of tech

Excerpt from TheNextWeb 5/19/2019
STORY BY
Andrew Burton

Smart City ADA AccessibilityFounder, The Circuit Board — Andrew is Head of Communications for 600+ staff music technology leader, Native Instruments in Berlin, a company with a vis… (show all)

In March 2019 IKEA was praised for partnering with nonprofits to develop accessories that make its products more accessible for people with impairments. It’s a novel step forward but I can’t shake the feeling we need to reframe the conversation on accessibility in technology entirely. Accessibility should be a topic at the forefront of design. Here’s why:

Roughly one in five people in the US have registered with a disability, with a similar figure for the UK. But when creating new products or services, investing resources to make technology accessible for impaired users can seem like taking the scenic route to market. An expensive deviation from a lean go to market strategy.

It’s easy to toss accessibility considerations in the ‘nice to have’ bucket. ‘Accessibility as an afterthought’ is a frustration I’ve heard on repeat for the last decade. But to do this is to abandon a unique opportunity to unlock true innovation and realize a much bolder ambition.

The traits separating tasks that AI excels at, and those that remain distinctly human, are consistently cited as creativity, empathy, imagination, and vision. Indeed the Gospel of Jobs clearly states: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” So before we hand over the reins to AI, why don’t we focus on perfecting the human side of technology solutions.

If you’ve even dabbled in brainstorming techniques — or the hyper-trendy ‘design thinking’ — you’ll be familiar with the art of reframing a problem to see new solutions. What better way to do this than looking at new tech through the lens of our senses, with varying degrees of physical or sensory ability?

Thinking about impairments of sight, hearing, or touch from the outset forces designers, creators, and technologists to ‘look at’ problems from very different perspectives, and that brings opportunity for untold and exciting innovation.

Read complete article from TheNextWeb 5/19/2019

US Access Board News for March/April 2019

Access Currents

News from the U.S. Access Board  •  March/ April 2019


Access Board to Hold Town Hall Meeting and Training in Indianapolis on May 21

Indianpolis skylineThe Access Board will hold a town hall meeting in Indianapolis on the afternoon of May 21 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The event will provide an open forum where members of the public can pose questions to the Board or share comments or concerns about accessibility for people with disabilities. There also will be panel discussions with area speakers on accessible recreation and outdoor environments, the Indiana AgrAbility Project, and local compliance initiatives under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The event will take place in the Pacers Square Room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Registration is not required. An assistive listening system, computer assisted real-time transcription (CART), and sign language interpreters will be available. Attendees are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of all participants. The meeting will not be streamed online, but there will be a call-in option and streaming CART.

Earlier in the day, the Board will also offer free training sessions on the ADA Accessibility Standards at the town hall site. There will be a program on how to apply the standards and common sources of confusion (9:00 am – 10:30 am). This will be followed by a session on recreation facilities and outdoor sites (10:45 am – 12:15 pm). Advance registration is not required, and participants can attend either or both sessions. Qualified attendees can earn continuing education credits (1.5 per session) from the American Institute of Architects.

For further information, contact Dave Yanchulis at [email protected], (202) 272–0026 (v), or (202) 272–0027 (TTY).

Bankers Life Fieldhouse logoU.S. Access Board Training and Town Hall Meeting, May 21
Pacers Square at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
125 S. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN

Training Session on the ADA Accessibility Standards (free)
• 8:00 – 9:00 Registration & Welcome
• 9:00 – 10:30 Application of the Standards & Common Sources of Confusion
• 10:30 – 10:45 Break
• 10:45 – 12:15 Recreation Facilities & Outdoor Sites

Town Hall Meeting
• 2:00 – 2:15 Opening Remarks
• 2:15 – 3:30 Panel Discussions
• 3:30 – 4:30 Overview of the Access Board & Open Forum

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Karen Tamley Elected Access Board Chair

Board Chair Karen Tamley and Vice Chair Lance RobertsonAt its March meeting, the Board unanimously elected Board Member Karen Tamley as its new Chair. Tamley just completed a term as Vice Chair of the Board and has served as the Commissioner of the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities since 2005.

“I am honored to serve as the Chair of such a dedicated agency that is a true force for change and that has done so much to advance accessibility both in the U.S. and abroad,” she stated after the vote. “I look forward to working with Board members and staff in the year ahead.”

Tamley joined the Board in 2015 as a public member. As head of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, she leads numerous disability policy and compliance initiatives in transportation, city infrastructure, emergency preparedness, housing, schools and technology, and other areas. She also oversees the delivery of independent living services to city residents.

She succeeds Lance Robertson who represents the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Board and who was named Vice Chair by acclamation. He serves as Assistant Secretary for Aging at HHS and heads its Administration for Community Living and previously was Director of Aging Services at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Board officers serve for a term of one year. The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Half of its members are representatives from most of the Federal departments. The other half is comprised of members of the public appointed by the President.

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Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board seadEnsuring that public streets and sidewalks are accessible to people with disabilities can be a challenge, especially since accessibility guidelines for public rights-of-way have yet to be finalized. The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place June 6 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will be devoted to answering the various questions that come up in addressing access to sidewalks and street crossings, pedestrian signals, on-street parking, roundabouts, transit stops and other components of public rights-of-way as well as shared use paths. Board Accessibility Specialists will answer questions submitted in advance or during the live webinar and offer guidance, solutions, and best practices based on guidelines the Board proposed for public rights-of-way. Attendees are encouraged to submit their questions in advance.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register for the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar
The Board also offers a free webinar series on its Section 508 Standards for ICT in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series will be held May 28 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will review the Trusted Tester for Web and highlight significant updates. Developed by Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Accessible Systems and Technology in coordination with other agencies, the Trusted Tester Process provides a scalable, repeatable, accurate process for evaluating web and software products for conformance with the 508 Standards.

Representatives from the Board and DHS will review the latest edition (Version 5) which supports the revised Section 508 Standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (2.0). Trusted Tester 5.0 improves the format, flow, and construction of the evaluation process and test conditions. Presenters will discuss the new testing tool, the Accessible Name and Description Inspector (ANDI), and how it aids testers with code inspection-based testing. They will also cover the availability of DHS online training and certification. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar.

Visit the webinar site for further information or to register. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board. Prior webinars can be accessed on the site.

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Poland Creates Entity Modeled after the U.S. Access Board

National Symbol of PolandThe Polish government has established an agency to promote accessibility that is modeled after the U.S. Access Board. Created in December, the Accessibility Council is responsible for reviewing laws and regulations and making recommendations to the government on implementing a sweeping new law to advance accessibility nationwide. The Council is comprised of 50 members representing ministries and government bodies, disability groups, and academia and meets quarterly. The Council will play a lead role in implementing the Accessibility Plus Program, an new measure that aims to make Poland a leader in accessibility by eliminating barriers in architecture, transportation, education, health care, digital and other services.

Poland’s Minister of Investment and Development Jerzy Kwieciński, who heads the Accessibility Council, credits the work of the U.S. Access Board and a speaking tour by Board Executive Director David Capozzi as the inspiration for the new entity. At the Council’s inaugural meeting in February, he recognized the Access Board’s influence and stated, “I believe that now Poland will become a model for other countries.” He supports a study tour of the U.S. for Council staff, including further consultations with the Board.

Capozzi travelled throughout Poland in 2017 as part of State Department’s speaker program to share the American experience in ensuring accessibility for people with various disabilities. During his weeklong stay in Warsaw, Gdynia, Gdańsk, and Kraków, he met with national and local authorities, advocacy groups, and other representatives, some of whom were instrumental in creating the Council. Capozzi discussed achievements and challenges of ensuring accessibility in the U.S. and shared lessons learned. He participated in dialogues on different aspects of accessibility, including the built environment, information and communication technology, employment, enforcement, and the important role standards play, among other topics.

“It was an honor to travel to Poland on behalf of the State Department and our embassy to meet with those leading the effort to make the country a model for accessibility,” states Capozzi. “The Board looks forward to learning more about their efforts and achievements and exploring how we can further advance accessibility in both our countries.”

In Warsaw, Board Executive Director David Capozzi (right) met with Senate Member Jan Filip Libicki and others.

David Capozzi with Senate Member Jan Filip Libicki

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Congressional Measures Address Airline Accessibility

airplaneLegislation was recently introduced in Congress to supplement the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which prohibits discrimination in air transportation. Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) submitted bills in the House (H. R. 1549) and Senate (S. 669) to amend the ACAA to further improve access at airports and on aircraft. The bills would create accessibility standards for new airplanes, require removal of barriers on existing airplanes where readily achievable, strengthen enforcement mechanisms, including establishment of a private right of action and enhance safety.

Under these measures, the Access Board would be responsible for issuing standards for aircraft and equipment for boarding and deplaning, including seating accommodations, lavatories, stowage of assistive devices, announcements, and in-flight entertainment and video displays. The standards also would address airports, including ticketing counters, gates, customer service desks, audible announcements, kiosks, and websites. The bills were referred to the appropriate House and Senate committees for consideration.

In addition, under a law passed last year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) began reporting data on the number of passenger wheelchairs and scooters that are damaged or mishandled by airlines on a monthly basis. A total of 701 (2.18%) wheelchairs and scooters were damaged last December, an average of more than 25 a day, as reported in DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report (February issue). The total for January was 681 (2.06%) and for February was 593 (1.7%).

In a statement, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who authored the law said, “Every airline passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, but too often they aren’t. Travelers should be able to find out if certain airlines have high rates of breaking wheelchairs and other equipment that people depend on, just like we can find out if certain airlines have high rates of flight delays or cancellations.”

Further information on this reporting is posted on DOT’s website.

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Guidelines for Voting Systems Available for Public Comment

Election Assistance Commission sealFederal guidelines for voting systems implemented under the Help America Vote Act are currently available for public comment. Issued by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) provide principles and criteria for assessing the basic functionality, accessibility, and security of voting equipment.

The EAC released the document, referred to as VVSG 2.0, on February 28 for a 90-day comment period, as indicated in a notice published in the Federal Register. The VVSG 2.0 updates guidelines first issued in 2005 and revised in 2015 and features a new streamlined structure comprised of high-level system design goals with broad descriptions of the functions that make up voting systems. The proposal also includes moving technical requirements and test assertions to separate documents that detail how voting systems can meet the new Principles and Guidelines in order to obtain certification. Those requirements and test assertions will be made available for public comment at a later date. The EAC seeks comments on all sections of the Principles and Guidelines including the proposed restructuring. Comments are due May 29.

For further information, visit the EAC’s website or contact Ryan Macias at (301) 563-3931 or [email protected].

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Updated VPAT Now Available from the IT Industry Council

Information Technology Industry Council logoThe Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) maintains a free reporting tool known as the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to help determine whether information and communication technology products and services satisfy accessibility requirements, including the Section 508 Standards. ITI recently released revised editions of the VPAT (2.3) based on the Board’s revised 508 Standards (VPAT 2.3 508), including the referenced Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). It also offers VPATs for WCAG 2.1 (VPAT 2.3 WCAG), the European Union’s ICT requirements (VPAT 2.3 EU), and another based on all three (VPAT 2.3 INT).

Visit the ITI’s website for further information or send a message to [email protected].

Accessibility – Philadelphia Bans Cashless Stores

Reprinted from Kiosk Industry

Full article as originally published on NPR.org

underbanked unbanked image
Philadelphia just became the first large city in the nation to ban cashless businesses in the city, in part to protect people like some construction workers who don’t have a bank or credit card.

Nearly 13 percent of Philadelphia’s population — close to 200,000 people — are unbanked, according to federal banking data. That’s more than double the regional average.

Excerpt: The following is except from news article from PBS on Philadephia deciding to ban “cashless” stores.

The Unbanked and Underbanked in Philadelphia

Last fall, a veteran lawmaker in PA introduced a bill outlawing cashless businesses — shops and restaurants where customers can only pay with credit and debit cards.

The Mayor of Philadelphia signed it into law last week, making Philadelphia the first big city in the country to ban cash-free stores. Beginning July 1.

The PA lawmaker thought it was discriminatory for businesses to turn away low-income residents who don’t have bank accounts, a population often referred to as the “unbanked” or the “underbanked.”

Read The Full article on NPR.org


More on Cashless and Underbanked

2017 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

The FDIC is committed to expanding Americans’ access to safe, secure, and affordable banking services. The FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households is one contribution to this end.

To assess the inclusiveness of the banking system, and in partial response to a statutory mandate, the FDIC has conducted the survey biennially since 2009.1 The most recent survey was administered in June 2017 in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting responses from more than 35,000 households. The survey provides estimates of the proportion of U.S. households that do not have an account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but obtained (nonbank) alternative financial services in the past 12 months. The survey also provides insights that may inform efforts to better meet the needs of these consumers within the banking system.

Estimates from the 2017 survey indicate that 6.5 percent of households in the United States were unbanked in 2017. This proportion represents approximately 8.4 million households.   Some other estimates put that number as high as 50 million. An additional 18.7 percent of U.S. households (24.2 million) were underbanked, meaning that the household had a checking or savings account but also obtained financial products and services outside of the banking system.

The 2017 survey examines a number of additional topics, including the methods that banked households used to access accounts, bank branch visits, use of prepaid cards, use of alternative financial services, saving for unexpected expenses or emergencies, use of credit, and the methods that households used to conduct financial transactions in a typical month.

See economicinclusion.gov for survey findings, the ability to generate custom tables and charts using 2017 and earlier years of survey data, and data downloads and documentation.

The 2017 survey report, executive summary, and other related materials are linked below. (All items are PDF files. See PDF Help for assistance.)

Related FDIC Initiatives

Lawsuits targeting business websites over ADA violations are on the rise

Smart City ADA Accessibility

Originally published on LA Times

The boutique Avanti Hotel is known for its poolside, dog-friendly rooms. Yet its website uses the valuable opening page not to highlight the Palm Springs inn’s amenities, but to explain, in stark black letters on a plain white background, that the Avanti violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Like thousands of other businesses in the United States, the 10-room hotel on East Stevens Road has been sued because it hasn’t fully complied with the 1990 law that requires public places — hotels, restaurants and shops — to be accessible to people with disabilities.

In 2010, the Justice Department began to draft formal regulations for websites to meet ADA goals. But last December, the agency announced it was withdrawing its “rulemaking process,” at a time when the Trump administration was calling for a rollback of federal regulations.

The department said it was killing the regulations because it was “evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of web information and services is necessary and appropriate.”

In a June 20 letter, 103 members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — urged then-Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to adopt website regulations, saying the absence of such regulations “only fuels the proliferations of these suits.”

Lawyers who defend ADA lawsuits say the Justice Department’s actions to pull the plug on adopting new regulations may have instigated the latest surge in lawsuits.

Business owners who are sued under the ADA complain that the law allows plaintiffs to demand huge payouts in damages without first giving the business owner the opportunity to fix the websites.

Read full article as originally published on LA Times

A Smart City Is an Accessible City

Smart City ADA Accessibility

Originally published on The Atlantic

A new breed of accessibility apps can make life easier for people with disabilities. They can also make it harder.

Excerpt:

A group gathers on a Nashville street corner, some rolling in wheelchairs and others walking. They have arrived holding their smartphones and make friendly chatter while a coordinator helps them log in to an app. Dispersing in small groups, they examine restaurants, cafes, and shops, looking for features signaling that disability is welcome there: a parking sign with the International Symbol of Access, a wheelchair ramp, an automatic front door, a wide bathroom stall with grab bars, braille text, low-flicker lighting, glare-free floors, scent-free soap. The groups use the app to document and rate these features. Once submitted, the information accumulates in a database that others can use to find accessible locations.

Excerpt:

But even if all these problems were solved, digital-accessibility apps still pose one final threat to disability advocacy in urban environments. Apps can make cities more navigable, but they do not change the material features of that environment. Most of the time, they record the current conditions in the built environment rather than advocate for better ones. Before apps came on the scene, disability activists used mapping to catalog injustices and to imagine alternative futures: new environments in which accessibility was the norm, rather than the exception. Contemporary projects should incorporate that lesson, too. By incorporating knowledge from broad groups of people with disabilities, digital mapping could do more than just record the world as it is today. It could also drive political, design, and policy improvements. After all, to deserve the name, a smart city ought to be a better city, not just a more technological one.

ADA Committee Chairpersons for KMA Announced

Kiosk Manufacturer Association with ADA, NRF, and Emergency Kiosk updates

EASTLAKE, Colo.Oct. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Kiosk Manufacturer Association (aka KMA) is pleased to announce the appointments of inaugural Chairpersons for the ADA and Accessibility Committee.

Laura Miller of KioWare (https://kioware.com) and Randy Amundson of Frank Mayer, Inc. (https://frankmayer.com) have been named as Co-Chairperson for the ADA and Accessibility Committee. Both Laura and Randy have extensive experience in both software and hardware aspects of self-service technology and how assistive technology best serves the public.

The Kiosk ADA and Accessibility Committee includes:

As of 2015, according to U.S. Census surveys, over 12% of all persons in the United States have some type of disability and that number is growing.

To help address disabilities and the ADA regulations, the KMA has recently released a proposed framework for Voice Recognition and Speech Command.  Working with the U.S. Access Board directly, the KMA is hopeful that a proposed Code-of-Practice can be adopted for this type of assistive technology. Public comment and working group participation is encouraged and only requires expertise and experience.

This is intended for global adoption with much of the input by the UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

In another related public service, the KMA recently released a white paper describing emergency alert and detection technologies for public terminals for use in education, government, retail, transportation, hospitality and entertainment segments. Smart City and smart transportation are target markets. Mission critical public safety tools are the proposed end solution.

The purpose of the document is to define how Wayfinding Technology, Digital Signage and Kiosks can be networked and used to detect and/or prevent active shooter and mass casualty attacks and expedite the response of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services First Responders to catastrophic events in large public venues. We focus on several of the most respected technology providers in the industry and how they would each play a critical role as foundational partners to bring a combined solution to market.

The KMA has joined as a member of the National Retail Federation in order to help communicate education and issues on self-service kiosk technology. The most public iteration of this technology is in the QSR or Fast Casual segment where companies such as McDonalds and Wendy’s have chosen to adopt in order to serve all of their customers as they wish to be served.

In January 2019 in New York, the KMA will be exhibiting on the main floor of NRF’s Big Show and will be accepting members from providers to deployers. An Advisory Panel of companies deploying self-service which can provide their unique perspective on all of the above issues is the objective.

Kiosk Hall of Fame – we are now taking nominations for hall of fame candidates. Marsha Mazz of U.S. Access Board, John Glitsos of FirstWave and Dave Heyliger of Rocky Mountain Multimedia are the initial candidates. See https://kioskindustry.org/kiosk-about/kiosk-hall-fame/

For more information on all of these items, visit https://kioskindustry.org the communication site for the KMA. You can also contact Craig Keefner the manager at [email protected]

We want to thank our supporting sponsors:

Olea Kiosks – https://www.olea.com
KioWare – https://kioware.com
iPadKiosks – https://www.ipadkiosks.com/
Pyramid – https://www.pyramid-computer.com/home.html
KIOSK – https://www.kiosk.com/
Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. – https://www.frankmayer.com/
Nanonation — https://www.nanonation.net/
Turnkey Kiosks — http://www.turnkeykiosks.com/
22Miles — http://www.22miles.com/
ZIVELO — http://www.zivelo.com/kiorg/
Dynatouch — https://www.dynatouch.com/
Qwick Media — https://www.qwickmedia.com/
OptConnect — http://www.optconnect.com/
PROVISIO – https://www.provisio.com/
ARCA — https://www.arca.com/
Storm Interface — http://www.storm-interface.com/
Peerless AV — https://kioskindustry.org/feature/peerless-av-kiosks/
CSA — http://www.csakiosk.com/
Mimo Monitors — https://www.mimomonitors.com/
OTI Global — https://www.otiglobal.com/cashless_payment_systems/otikiosk/

“Satellite” websites include RetailSystems.org, Selfservice.io and ThinClient.org.
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Join our LinkedIn Group with over 1600 members.

Related Images

voice-recognition-and-speech.jpg 
Voice recognition and Speech Command 
Framework for latest technologies and how to best incorporate into self-service.

voice-icon.png 
Voice icon 
Informing users of voice operation options

sound-adjustment.png 
Sound Adjustment 
Tactile discernible technology

emergency-kiosks.jpg 
Emergency Kiosks 
For shooter detection and more detection by wayfinding systems in large people venue.

Related Links

Kiosk Manufacturer Association

Kiosk Industry Group

SOURCE Kiosk Manufacturer Association

Related Links

https://kma.global

Whitepaper – Voice Recognition and Speech Command Technology as an Assistive Interface

The Use of Voice Recognition and Speech Command Technology as an Assistive Interface for ICT in Public Spaces.

Voice RecognitionA whitepaper published by Peter W Jarvis (Senior Executive VP, Storm Interface) and Nicky Shaw (Operations Manager North America).

September 2018.

Introduction.

The emergence and increasing use of smart speakers (AI) in the home environment has delivered significant benefits for those with mobility, sensory, cognitive or dexterity impairment. For millions of disabled people voice recognition and speech command technology, allied with audible confirmation and presentation of requested information, permits more informed decision making and personal control of their immediate environment.

This improved access to information and control opens a new world of communication, entertainment, education and opportunity for those who are unable to see, read or interact with content presented on a display screen and for those who lack the mobility or dexterity to manipulate tactile system interface devices (such as keyboards, trackballs or touch screens etc.). Speech Command Technology creates significant new opportunities for independent living.

This improved accessibility also creates unique challenges for system designers, legislating authorities and those concerned about privacy and misuse of personal data. As Voice Recognition and Speech Command technology moves beyond the domestic environment into public spaces and the urban infrastructure we will need new guidelines to increase public awareness and new regulation to protect the general population against the misuse of recorded information.

This whitepaper explores the implementation and integration of Speech Command technology within ICT kiosks and self-service applications. It is intended to provide a framework for a proposed Code-of-Practice. This CoP to be drafted for public consultation and possible adoption by the Kiosk Manufacturer Association (KMA) as an addendum to its Accessibility Guidelines.

To illustrate certain devices or technologies there are some references in this document to products manufactured by Storm Interface. These are intended as exemplars only. Other brands and products are available.

1. Who’s Listening

1.1 When a private citizen purchases a connected smart speaker device for home use, he/she makes an informed decision to install that device into their home environment. Before connecting their new device to the manufacturer’s cloud-based AI applications new customers are required to agree and accept many terms and conditions of service. By doing so they make a decision to accept a listening device into their home; albeit with an option to mute that device or switch it off at any time. The customer knows where the device is located, what its connected status is and how to switch it off.

1.2 However, to overcome the latency (delay) inherent in delivering cloud-based AI services to a device that has just been switched on, these devices (by default) usually remain in a powered and connected configuration. Amazon have referred to this default configuration as “Always on, always ready”. This configuration is sometimes referred to by more cynical commentators as “Always on, always listening”. The device needs to be configured in this way to operate as an effective ‘hands free’ Voice Recognition and Speech Commanded information system.

2. In a Public Environment.

2.1 Speech Command and Voice Recognition technology will provide an effective and valuable improvement in accessibility to public ICT systems. Applications such as public transport ticketing and airline check-in terminals would be typical examples.

2.2 As part of a multi-modal approach to accessibility, Speech Command will provide an additional option for those with disabilities (and those without) to confirm their biometric identity and to interface with the kiosk’s application software. The kiosk user will be able to choose from a combination of tactile, audible or visual interface devices to best meet their specific accessibility needs.

2.3 However, it will be essential that all kiosk users and those members of the public in proximity to the kiosk be made aware that the terminal includes Voice Recognition and/or Speech Command technology and that the Speech Command facility is “on and listening”. This awareness is essential for two reasons:

2.3.1 To inform the kiosk user that Speech Command / Voice Recognition technology is available for their use and convenience.

2.3.2 To warn members of the public (in proximity) that their conversations may/will be picked up by the Speech Command / Voice Recognition facility and may be transmitted to a remote server for analysis, processing and possible retention.

2.4 This awareness must be provided for members of the public who are sighted, partially sighted, non-sighted or hearing impaired.

3. A Universal Symbol

3.1 It is proposed that a universally recognized symbol for Speech Command functionality be adopted by the Kiosk and Self Service industry.

3.2 The symbol’s purpose is to indicate the presence of Voice Recognition or Speech Command technology.

3.3 Storm Interface have designed a high contrast, highly visible and tactilely discernible symbol that can be easily applied to the kiosk. During the development of this logo, Storm Interface worked closely with the UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Feedback received from the RNIB has influenced the logo design. This to aid recognition and ease of use, and to ensure that all contours and edges are rounded to make it comfortable to the touch.

3.4 As with any new logo, but in particular tactile logos, people will need to learn its meaning. This highlights the importance of introducing a standard logo which can be used across all kiosks and sectors to ensure that blind people need only learn one symbol.

3.5 When Voice Recognition or Speech Commanded services are activated the symbol will be illuminated with bright white LEDs.

3.6 The applied symbol should be positioned such that it can be easily seen or tactilely located as a user approaches or addresses the kiosk.

3.7 When the kiosk is in home screen or screen saver mode, with no detected user activity, an audible signal or statement to indicate the presence of an activated Voice Recognition or Speech Command facility should be played periodically. Alternatively, a proximity sensing device could be used to un-mute a VR or SC device only when a kiosk user approaches the kiosk interface zone.

3.7.1 Similar audible indicators of a functioning Voice Recognition or Speech Command technology should also be given when such a facility is activated (switched on or un-muted) after a period of non-functionality.

3.8 A proposed specification for the symbol is reproduced below. Storm Interface and the RNIB propose to make this symbol available as a “free-to-use” graphic device. Storm Interface propose to offer a physical, manufactured version of the graphic device, in the form of an illuminated tile, for sale to and use by kiosk manufacturers, specifiers or operators.

Figure 1: Images courtesy of Keymat Technology Ltd. All rights recognized.

Coice Recognition Symbol

4. Hardware

4.1 Microphones

4.1.1 Kiosks that offer Speech Command or Voice Recognition technology must support and provide the means for voice input.

4.1.2 This should be by provision of a suitable standard connection point for an audio headset or ear piece (equipped with its own microphone) and by provision of a suitable microphone (or microphone array) permanently installed as a fixture of the kiosk.

4.1.3 In many public kiosk locations or applications it will be necessary to employ advanced noise cancelling and beam focusing technology to enable effective operation of the Speech Command or Voice Recognition technology.

4.1.4 Connection of a headset or assistive hearing device (equipped with its own integrated microphone) should be detected by the host kiosk and the functionality of any permanently installed microphone (or microphone array) should be automatically adjusted to accommodate and allow correct functioning of the headset or hearing aid device

4.1.5 To facilitate reliable and continued functionality, provision and installation of audio device connection points and/or permanently installed microphone devices should accommodate requirements for regular sanitation (wash-down) procedures and should resist the hard use and abuse associated with ICT installations in public spaces. As a minimum requirement, water and dust resistance in accordance with IP54 (or equivalent) should be achieved. A minimum impact resistance of 10J should be achieved.

Figure 2. Beam array microphone for outdoor or unsupervised public environments. Other brands and products are available.

Beam Array Microphone

4.2 Speakers

4.2.1 Kiosks that offer Speech Command or Voice Recognition technology must support and provide the means for audible reproduction of sound or speech.

4.2.2 This should be by provision of a suitable connection point for an audio headset or earpiece and by provision of a suitable amplified speaker system permanently installed as a fixture of the kiosk.

4.2.3 In many public kiosk locations or applications it will be necessary to employ sound directing or sound focusing technology to prevent noise pollution or irritation to those in the local vicinity of the kiosk.

4.2.4 Connection of a headset or assistive hearing device (equipped with its own integrated speakers) should be detected by the host kiosk and the functionality of any permanently installed amplified speakers should be automatically adjusted to accommodate and allow correct functioning of the headset or hearing aid device.

4.2.5 Tactile discernable sound volume controls must be easily accessible to those using assistive headsets, earpieces or hearing aid devices. Tactile sound volume controls should be accessible and functioning throughout the kiosk user session. Wherever possible tactile discernible controls should be suitably shaped to enable function with headsticks or assistive easy grip styli.

Figure 3. Tactile discernable sound volume controls must be easily accessible to those using assistive headsets, earpieces or hearing aid devices and those using headsticks or easy-grip styli.

Volume Control

4.2.6 To facilitate reliable and continued functionality, provision and installation of audio device connection points and/or permanently installed amplified speakers should accommodate requirements for regular sanitation (wash-down) procedures and should resist the hard use and abuse associated with ICT installations in public spaces. A minimum requirement for water and dust resistance in accordance with IP54 (or equivalent) should be achieved. A minimum impact resistance of 10J should be achieved.

4.3 Wireless Devices

4.3.1 For those kiosk users who prefer to use wireless headsets, earbuds or implants in preference to wired devices with a cable and jack-plug connector, it should be possible to connect a personal wireless transponder (powered by a button cell battery) into the jack-plug socket. These personal devices provide encrypted communication between the transponder and a paired personal headset. The transponder would be removed and retained by the kiosk user when the kiosk session is completed.

Figure 4: Compact wireless transponder. These devices can be paired with a wireless headset or earpiece to provide a private listening capability. The transponder can be plugged directly in to the kiosk’s audio jack socket. Other brands and types of transponder are available.

wireless transponder

5. Conclusions:

The emergence of Voice Recognition as a means of biometric confirmation of identity, coinciding with the profound impact of AI on speech commanded ICT, will drive adoption of speech command technology in public spaces and applications. Whereas this presents many challenges and risks to privacy and protection of personal data, it will lead to a new era of equality in access to information, freedom and independence for those with disabilities. It will be necessary for accessibility mandates, regulation and standards to be adapted in support of this revolutionary change in the way humans interface with the digital world. Speech Command Technology creates significant new opportunities for independent living.


Copyright Peter W Jarvis 2018. All rights retained.
Contact: Peter Jarvis: [email protected]
Nicky Shaw: [email protected]

We welcome any comments and feedback which can assist us in evaluating this proposed framework.