Benefits for Authors, Developers and ICT Companies

A Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure can help to lower the per device costs of developing accessibility/usability features and assistive technology by providing a common base from which to develop new products, by reducing duplicated efforts around compatibility with new mainstream technologies, and by increasing the market for accessible products though general awareness campaigns and ubiquitous presence.

The GPII can reduce the costs for Web developers to create content that can be accessed by all, by providing more users with more powerful assistive technologies, allowing web developers more freedom and the ability to use newer web technologies and still be accessible.

The GPII can reduce the cost for mainstream companies who are trying to make products that are compatible with assistive technologies for all disabilities by providing common code and approaches that are used across the different types of assistive technologies. Mainstream vendors can also participate more directly in the process of creating interface options.

The GPII can enable new on-demand accessibility services opening up new markets and ways to assist users where technology alone cannot reach.

Finally the GPII can be a facilitator for service-based assistive technology delivery

"As we move into a mobile, interconnected environment we are rapidly reaching a tipping point where the static models for assistive technology licensing reach diminishing returns. Mobile devices change constantly resulting in low cost devices that change in a very short time span. This makes the cost of expensive AT prohibitive to users and also makes the development of an all-inclusive AT for that device a questionable investment. The static model does not scale. Rather, a high volume low price solution is more appropriate. What is needed is a way to deliver an AT using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model such that assistive technologies can be delivered as a cloud-based service or as a standalone application which makes use of services delivered through the GPII. In this business model AT services can be charged using a varying array of licensing means while leveraging other available assistive technologies, provided and licensed through the GPII. In short, the GPII should be considered a facilitator for more rapid deployment of assistive technologies wanting to enter the mobile arena and a means to prototype new business models for new assistive technologies. Without such an infrastructure it will be much harder for assistive technologies to enter these new markets." - Richard Schwerdtfeger, IBM


Benefits to Web Authors and Developers

The lack of effective and affordable assistive technologies increases the burden on authors and developers of both web applications and web content.  Creating an accessible web page or application involves designing for direct access as well as ensuring that it will work with the assistive technologies. The better the technologies that users have, the easier the job is for web designers. When there are users that can only afford weak AT, then Web authors are faced with a choice of using only technologies and designs that will work with weak AT or leaving these users behind and unable to access their content and applications. A GPII can lead to better affordable AT which means more freedom of design for users.

For Example:

  • When users have more capable affordable assistive technologies, web authors can use more modern technologies and designs and still work with the assistive technologies that the users have.

  • Web developers or consortia can work with the GPII to build better tools or modules that can make it easier for their members and other web developers to create accessible web sites. All access technologies and services that build off of the GPII modules will inherit this advantage.

  • Websites that would like to create special "access interfaces" that are machine (assistive technology) readable. Today this isn't attractive because these same "machine readable" interfaces could be used by other (non-disability related) 3rd parties who could "re-sell" the site with alternate advertising and identity. With the GPII, special APIs to websites can be created that are available only through the GPII allowing access without other use.

Assistive Technology Manufacturers and Vendors

AT companies can use the GPII components to reduce cost, increase compatibility with new mainstream technologies (and, importantly, increase compatibility with other assistive technologies), and free up development funds to innovate. AT vendors will also be able to use the GPII distribution system to make their AT available anytime, anywhere to those who purchase it, and to move AT into "Software as a Service (SaaS)" models.  AT vendors can benefit from the larger market that the GPII awareness campaigns and ubiquity of use will generate.

For Example:

  • AT companies, instead of each having to adapt their products every time mainstream technologies change, would be able to take advantage of the GPII core modules. As mainstream companies update technologies or introduce new technologies, AT that is based off of these continually updated modules would have less (or sometimes no) work to do to make their AT work with the new technologies/updates.

  • AT companies who make their AT GPII-distribution-system-compatible can make their products available anytime anywhere and take advantage of the 'one sign-on' feature where a user gets all the access features they purchased at once when they sit down to use a computer. This GPII delivery capability will be available for even totally proprietary AT.

  • AT companies can see a broader exposure of their products due to the national awareness campaigns and the evaluation wizards that can match people unfamiliar with AT to all available solutions that address their needs.

New Developers and Assistive Technology Companies

New AT companies and developers will be able to get started more easily when creating new features and new types of AT for different disabilities, by building from existing modules rather than having to start from scratch. The GPII will also create new markets. One market will be for what might be called "Micro AT" (individual features or add-ons that can be sold to extend or adapt the existing free public access features or commercial AT for particular disabilities or uses). The other market will be for "assistance on demand" (AOD) services.

For Example:

  • The existence of common 'building block' modules and services that are open-source and have no licensing fees can allow new potential AT vendors to build new types of AT almost entirely from existing components, add their special ideas, support service etc, and then make it available through the GPII distribution system.

  • Because the GPII will have a development system that is friendly and easy to use (like that available for the iPhone and Android Phone), it will be possible for many people who are not advanced programmers, or who are just working with a contract programmer, to be able to build new types of access technologies or services. This can bring new people and ideas into the accessibility developer community.

  • Micro AT will also be possible where a person or company creates and markets a single feature that will work with other AT that was built and/or marketed through the GPII. (This would work somewhat like a plug-in for a browser).

  • Because of the lower bar for both developing and distributing new access solutions, users, friends, clinicians and others who are familiar with the real problems of people with disability, aging, or literacy related barriers can contribute new ideas and solutions to the marketplace where this would have been impossible to do before.

Mainstream Technology Companies

Mainstream ICT companies can participate directly in ways not possible with fully proprietary assistive technologies. The open source nature of the GPII and its common components and tools will allow mainstream companies to better ensure that their new technologies and special products are compatible with built-in access features and any commercial AT that is built on these common components.

For Example:

  • A mainstream company that is introducing a new (or updated) technology can work with the GPII and make direct contributions to its code components to ensure that their new technologies will work with all of the different AT (for different disabilities) that is built off of the GPII common core components.

  • As companies implement cloud technologies and products, they can ensure that there will be cloud based AT to work with them - so that 'anywhere use of their products' becomes ' anywhere accessible use of their products'.

  • Operating system vendors can link their built-in access features to the GPII infrastructure so that

    1. their built-in features can be automatically invoked and configured by GPII personalization system;

    2. when their built-in features are not enough (or don't handle this type or combination of disabilities a person has) GPII network features (free or commercial) can be invoked seamlessly to augment their built-in features - and work with them; and

    3. access can be more efficient and higher quality for people using their OS because local access components (like text-to-speech or enlargement) from their OS can be used as part of GPII network delivered solutions.

Open Source Developers

Open-source developers can create new access features and approaches and then release them for use and improvement by others.  Some of these open source developments will be modules that are then incorporated by others into both built-in features and commercial assistive technologies. Some will be turned into commercial products that are then sold commercially by the developers or others, often packaged with other products or with support. Others may be released as free apps. In all cases, the tools and the distribution system will allow these new features and approaches to have a much greater chance of making into widespread availability and use.

For Example:

  • An open-source project develops a new way to interpret web pages with poor markup and add markup to facilitate navigation and understanding. The module can be added to the GPII core library, or sold as an add-on to other products making them able to better deal with poorly coded web pages. Because of the GPII, the developer can focus on just the aspect they are interested and talented in developing yet see their development make it out into widespread use.

  • An open source developer can create a new application building on existing open source modules and packaging it with service and selling it commercially to people who can pay but want access features they know will be supported.

Researchers

The GPII will support researchers in a number of ways, helping them to create research prototypes more easily, helping them to deploy them for testing, and greatly increasing the probability that their work will make it into widespread use commercially and/or in built-in access features.

For Example:

  • A researcher interested in a new technique for facilitating reading of complex web pages for those new to a language can use common GPII components to create a prototype that the then add their proposed feature. The common components allow them to create the prototype quickly and allows them to focus their efforts on the feature not the prototype. They can then use the distribution system to make the feature available to their test users.

  • A researcher creates a new feature but then their funding runs out. Rather than having their feature live on only in a publication, they are able to make their feature available commercially because it is already in a compatible modular form that can be easily adapted and adopted by others.