Chairman of the ITU JCA-AHF, Coordinator of the IGF DCAD, Permanent G3ict Representative to the ITU and other organizations dealing with access for Persons with Disabilities and advisor to United States Delegations to the ITU since 1991
Ms Andrea Saks is a known advocate for ICTs for persons with disabilities. She grew in a family of two deaf parents and assisted them from an early age as their interface with the hearing world: She was responsible for making doctors’ appointments, arranging guests’ visits and other appointments by using the telephone which was then inaccessible to her family without her. Her father, the late Andrew Saks, the late Robert Weitbrecht and the late James C. Marsters deaf themselves, were the first pioneers to create a telephone system that the deaf could use independently. The created a modem called the “Phonetype” coupled to the normal telephone and using surplus teletypewriters as the printing device they had a deaf telephone system that spread throughout the world. These devices were the precursors of textphones and today’s real-time text messaging. She took her role as an interface to the next level when she relocated from the US to the UK in 1972 to promote the use of textphones internationally. She worked with the British Government Post Office, OFTEL, and Deaf organizations and was granted a license in 1976 for the connection of those early text telephones on the regular British telephone network which created the first international deaf telephone system as it was interoperable with the US system. She was able to successfully lobby the US FCC to allow the first transatlantic text phone conversation over the voice telephone network (1975) proving that international telecommunications was viable and necessary for persons who were deaf. Her first involvement with ITU standardization activity started in 1991 because unwisely, the British deaf were badly advised to “upgrade” to a non-compatible system thus destroying interoperability between the two English speaking countries. The ITU was the place to make international standards and she hope to rectify this problem. V.18 a standard for making all protocols of textphones interoperable. Sadly industry refused to implement V.18 into the modems of the day. Since then she has ever increased her scope of involvement internationally to make it possible for all Persons with Disabilities and specific needs to have international access to all communication technology. She has been responsible for encouraging the ITU to welcome the participation of Persons with Disabilities in the Standardization process with captioning and sign language interpretation and alternate print formats and other techniques to ensure full participation. Self-funded, she currently attends many ITU-T, study groups promoting the inclusion of accessibility functionality in systems being standardized by ITU, such as multimedia conferencing, cable, IPTV and NGN… After the creation of ITU-D Question 20/1 on accessibility matters in WTDC-06, she also started attending that group. She now performs as a bridge between all sectors on the subject of accessibility for persons with disabilities. She is working with ITU-R working parties re broadcasting for accessible television and spectrum allocation to prevent interference to ADLs, Assistive Listening Devices. She also was largely responsible for the first ITU wide Accessibility Resolution PP 175 created in 2010 at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara Mexico and chaired the update of that resolution at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014 in Busan, South Korea which continues to bring the ITU accessibility policies in line with UNCRPD. She advises many US delegations to the ITU on the subject of Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities and persons with specific needs. She has been a key person in the creation of all accessibility events in ITU, and currently is the Chairman of the ITU JCA-AHF, the Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human factors, as well as the coordinator of the IGF DCAD, the Internet Governance Forum’s Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability. She is the permanent representative to the ITU for G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs. In 2008 she was given the ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award and made a Laureate for her lifelong work in accessibility to telecommunications and ICTs for persons with Disabilities. She has been given two additional awards this year from Deaf Communities for her work. One from the International World Federation of the Deaf and the other from the Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of hearing Inc.in the USA.
IPTV Global Standards Initiative, ITU-T
Keio University, Japan
Dr Masahito Kawamori is a Project Professor at the Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan. He is currently the Rapporteur of Question 26 “Accessibility to multimedia systems and services” in the Study Group 16, which is the lead Study Group for Multimedia of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for Information and Communication Technology. He is also the coordinator of IPTV-Global Standards Initiative (GSI), which oversees the work on IPTV in ITU-T. His Question 26 recently approved a new Recommendation, H.702, “Accessibility Profiles for IPTV Systems”, which is the first international standard on Accessibility for IPTV.
Before assuming the current position at Keio University, he was a senior research engineer at NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) R&D, Japan, working on enabling technologies for telecommunication/broadcasting and broadband/mobile converged environments, which involved the development and deployment of NTT Group’s “Hikari TV” IPTV service.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Dr Pilar Orero teaches at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), where she is the director of the European MA in Audiovisual Translation at UAB (http://mem.uab.es/metav/). Recent publications: Mangiron, Carme, Pilar Orero & Minako O’Hagan (eds) (2014): Videogame Localisation and Accessibility: Fun for All. Anna Maszerowska, Anna Matamala and Pilar Orero (eds) (2014) Audio Description. New perspectives illustrated; and with Anna Matamala Researching Audio Description. New Approaches (2015).
She is a leader of numerous research projects funded by the Spanish and Catalan Governments. Leads TransMedia Catalonia http://grupsderecerca.uab.cat/transmediacatalonia She took part in the working group at UN agency ITU 2011-2013 on Media accessibility http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/ava/Pages/default.aspx and she is now participating in the IRG-AVA — Intersector Rapporteur Group Audiovisual Media Accessibility http://www.itu.int/en/irg/ava/Pages/default.aspx and ITU-D creating an online course on Media Accessibility. Co-editor of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 35 N on Audio Description.
She holds the INDRA Accessible Technologies Chair since 2012 (http://www.tecnologiasaccesibles.com/en/university_collaboration.htm) and leads the EU projects HBB4ALL (2013-2016) (http://www.hbb4all.eu/) and KA2 ACT (2015-2018) (http://www.actproject.eu).
HbbTV a new standard for a new broadcast access service ecology
During the last years a new technological paradigm has arisen. It is named “Connected TV” and is characterised by hybrid terminals capable to receive and to play multimedia content coming from both a broadcast network (e.g., digital terrestrial television or satellite) and Internet. Actually, this new paradigm reflects a more general convergence frame that integrates two traditionally different technological worlds: on the one hand, broadcasting and audiovisual content, and on the other hand, computers, IT devices and Internet. It is within this new audiovisual content distribution ecology where accessibility services are thriving in possibilities. While connected TV will seamlessly deliver access services either from IP or broadcast or both, the end user will notice the difference. Customising some features in some access services is now a reality.
Chief, Department of Infrastructure, Enabling Environment and E-Applications
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) / Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)
Dr Kemal Huseinovic is the Chief of the Infrastructure, Enabling Environment and E-Applications Department at the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.
His Department assists with:
Before joining ITU in 2014, Dr Huseinovic was Director General of the Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He holds two Master’s Degrees in Telecommunications/Economy and Business Administration and a PhD on Competition Enlargement through Establishment and Development of Regulatory Authorities of Communication Market.
New Technologies and Innovation officer, European Disability Forum
Mr Alejandro Moledo del Río coordinates the European Disability Forum (EDF) advocacy work on policies concerning e-accessibility for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), research and innovation, and EDF involvement in standardisation activities. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with honours in Journalism from University of Valencia (Spain, 2005-2010), and Master’s degree in political and corporate communication from University of Navarra and George Washington University (Spain and US, 2011-2012). During his bachelor’s studies he worked as communication officer for a political group within the parliament of the Valencia Region (2009 and 2010). After working as a journalist in digital media and an internship in a Communication agency in Andorra, he joined Political Intelligence (Madrid) in 2012, a European public affairs company before joining the European Disability Forum in 2013. Mr Moledo del Río is member of the Spanish Blind Organisation (ONCE), for which he worked as a journalist and regional representative of young visually impaired people inside the organisation (2008-2011).
Chairman, Electronic communications Council of the Republic of Slovenia
Dr Dušan Caf is Chairman of the Electronic Communications Council of the Republic of Slovenia. The council is appointed by the National Assembly to provide advice and directions on the development of electronic communications in the Republic of Slovenia. It issues opinions, proposals and recommendations, including on matters related to the protection of the rights of consumers, persons with disabilities and those with special needs. He is also Chairman of the Council of the Agency for Communications Networks and Services of the Republic of Slovenia, and Steering Committee Member of the Slovenian Internet Governance Forum.
He is an advocate for universal and affordable internet access as well as for accessibility of information and ICT. As an adviser focused on regulation and institutional setup he was engaged in the United Nations Development Programme’s initiatives in South Eastern Europe and participated in several regional initiatives aimed at stimulating the development of telecommunications and information society in South Eastern Europe.
His areas of expertise include policy and regulation in electronic communications and internet, including information and ICT accessibility, privacy, data protection and information security. He is a principal consultant and managing director of CAF Consulting and research director of the VIRIS Information Security Institute. He was a fellow and lecturer at Faculties of Information Science and Applied Social Studies, fellow at the Jožef Stefan Institute, and a visiting researcher at Loughborough University. He was also a director of the Slovenian Information Technology Industry Association and advocate for competition in the Slovenian electronic communications markets.