November 2006

e-ISOTIS

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ASK-IT aims at enabling mobility impaired people to travel independently from one country to another, making use of the latest ICT available, in an accessible and affordable manner.

ASK-IT project
ASK-IT (Ambient Intelligence System of Agents for Knowledge based and Integrated Services for Mobility Impaired users) is an integrated project partially financed by the EC’s DG Information Society and Media under FP6, and aims at developing an extended ambient intelligence space for the integration of functions and services for elderly and people with disabilities across various environments (car, bus, airplane, home, work, leisure and sport).

Through the use of ICT systems following the ‘design for all’ ethos, the provision of relevant content, and the advantage of both Internet and mobile-based services, ASK-IT aims at addressing specifically the following impairments:

• Lower and upper limb impairment
• Wheelchair users
• Upper body impairment
• Physiological  impairment
• Communication impairment
• Psychological  impairment
• Cognitive impairment
• Vision impairment
• Hearing impairment

More than 50 project partners from 13 European countries and also Mexico participate in this project. The project leader is SIEMENS S.A.(Spain), the technical/scientific leader is CERTH/HIT (Centre for Research and Technology Hellas / Hellenic Institute of Transport), while the global dissemination is led by e-ISOTIS (Information Society Open To ImpairmentS).

In its quest to support the user in a holistic manner, ASK-IT focuses on geo-referenced and personalised transport and tourism services. The emphasis is on seamless service provision, independent of the media, user location (i.e. indoors, outdoors, in a city, during a trip, etc.), user type and residual abilities.

The Information Technology (IT) capabilities have seemingly infinite potential usefulness for elderly and disabled (E&D) users, given their relatively limited mobility and specific requirements for ‘assistive’ services. This population needs and deserves a ‘design for all’ consideration to access easily both the Internet and mobile-based services that calls for the following requirements:

• Easy to use ‘one stop shop’ service and information delivery sites: offering relevant and integrated content as needed, i.e. age-concerned info on travel, accessible transport and accommodation, events and sites of interest, and ‘how to’ advice on getting there;
• Alternative data delivery methods: methods that will adapt the information context and the user interface to individual abilities, interest and preferences, whether derived from the user profile or implied by the user’s habits;
• Relevant and reliable services: services that are available on call by the user throughout a journey or service request, providing guidance for coping with regional variations that may affect the specific service needed;
• Geo-referenced services: services that allow the user to request ‘nearby’ info and services;
• Integrated general-market services: services that enable access to any information, offering a full choice and ability to purchase the relevant service in a convenient and worry-free way.

ASK-IT offers solutions to all these requirements and, in this respect will offer the following services:

• Localisation services
• Accessible Intermodal Route Guidance services
• e-Commerce and e-Payment services
• Domotic services
• In-vehicle services
• Health and Social Care services
• e-Working and e-Learning services

ASK-IT mobility impaired (MI) dimension

• The driving vision behind the project is to develop services based on Information Communication Technologies (ICT) that will allow people with special needs (or mobility impaired people) to move independently, lead a quality life and as an immediate result achieve economic and social integration. These services include the provision of relevant and real-time information, primarily for travelling, but also for use at home, and at work. These services will be implemented in at least 8 European cities (Athens, Bucharest, Genoa, The Hague, Helsinki, Madrid, Newcastle, Nuremberg, Thessaloniki), demonstrating how ASK-IT will enhance the socio-economic integration of mobility impaired people. This is aimed at achieving in the following ways:
• Mobility Impaired people will be able to benefit from ASK-IT services during their daily lives, in order to travel/use public transport, organise their leisure time and take part in educational, economic and social activities. Information could include assisting a disabled traveller who when s/he just arrives at the airport is directed to a bus stop and s/he’s guided how to get there and when to get off to find his/her hotel or restaurant with accessible facilities. S/he can even use the ASK-IT system to make a reservation.
• While visiting a town, the user with mobility impairments will be able to use his/her mobile to request information about local facilities, including whether they are accessible to him/her or not. His/her profile, stored on his/her mobile device, may include parameters such as the turning radius of his/her electric wheelchair, so that restaurants meeting these specific needs are selected.
• Information will be available everywhere at anytime via a mobile device (mobile phone, PDA, small gadget, wearable kit, etc.) that will be intelligent enough to address the personal needs of the user. In this respect, this device for example will present only the information appropriate to a person with visual problems, be voice enabled for people who have difficulty in physical movements, use symbols, audio support and simple text for illiterate and people with learning difficulties/cognitive impairments, and will use only a visual display with captions for people with hearing problems.

Vision of e-ISOTIS for the disabled community
e-ISOTIS developed a video for the ASK-IT project, depicting in an easy and understandable manner what ASK-IT is about and what it aims at achieving, namely allowing mobility impaired people to travel independently from one country to another, making use of the latest ICT available, and all this in an accessible and affordable manner.


Profile e-ISOTIS
In brief, the scope of e-ISOTIS is to support the people with disabilities and older persons to overcome the existing barriers and to experience an Information Society Open to ImpairmentS (ISOTIS). e-ISOTIS has been established in 2003 and is a non-profit making organisation that brings together people with disabilities, their spouses as well as members of the ICT (Information Communication Technology) community from the whole globe. It cooperates closely with National Associations of people with disabilities as well as with universities, ICT companies and public authorities in many European countries. e-ISOTIS is a dynamic and evolving unit, rapidly developing and due to its highly professional, motivated, and devoted staff, its reputation is gradually growing. The greatest asset of the organisation is its human factor. More specifically, it is supported by an ambitious team of experts with its first priority, the advancement of independent living for disabled people via legal advice, education/learning, support of employability, social support and familiarisation with accessible ICT.

The organisation via its umbrella association has links to more than 360.000 people with disabilities. In spite of its recent establishment, it has shown strong activity and experience in cooperation at local, regional, national and trans-national level. Moreover, associate members of e-ISOTIS are federations and social organisations that advance better quality of life for all. Such organisations are, the Flemish Federation of Disabled People in Belgium, the Union of Blind people in Italy, the Federation of Disabled people in Croatia, the Federation of Moving Impaired people in Hungary, the MTU-Milocerdie in Estonia, the Marie Curie Association in Bulgaria, the Sonokids Foundation in Netherlands, the Bethany Foundation in Romania, the Association of Paraplegic in Drama and the Pan-Hellenic Federation of People with Moving Impairments from Greece as well as the European Social Forum in Cyprus, the FENACERCI from Portugal and the Society for the disabled persons of Lithuania. Last but not least, ZIVOT 90 from the Czech Republic representing more than 10,000 senior citizens is also an associate member.

e-ISOTIS has provided scientific support to the European Union’s Information Society policies through the ‘eInclusion@EU’ project, and has also provided legal expertise on anti-discrimination in Europe though the European project ‘Stimulating Public Interest Litigation at a Pan-European Level- Raising Knowledge and Imparting Skills’.

Furthermore, e-ISOTIS is involved heavily in European RTD projects that deal with semantics, ambient intelligence, mobile applications, adaptive and self-configured user interfaces for disabled people mainly through the ASK-IT Integrated Project and Access e-Gov. e-ISOTIS is also involved in the analysis, design, development, testing, enhancing and dissemination of e-Learning platforms via 7 European projects, MOTRASUP, GET_CONNECTED, PEDA, EURIDICE, ALPE, DEA and EU4ALL projects, and is also involved in VET (Vocational Education and Training) and promotion projects via the Leonardo and Socrates Programmes. These projects are
e.g. Validation of Mentoring, Careers without Barriers, Voca2, and 9th May

For further details, visit: ASK-IT project: www.ask-it.org
Vision of e-ISOTIS (online video streaming) : http://www.e-isotis.org/news_comments.php?id=462_0_11_0_C.
Associated member organisations: www.e-isotis.org/members.php
Associated projects : www.e-isotis.org/projects.php

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