In February of 2011 the European Commission provided 7 million euros to a consortium of 25 members and collaborators in Europe, Canada, and the US to begin building and testing additional components of the GPII. (see also Cloud4all)
Prosperity4All builds on and extends the work of Cloud4all, UIITA-RERC, Fluid/Floe and Preferences for Global Access projects in building the GPII. In particular Prosperity4All is building the foundations for a robust evolution of the ecosystem to lower the cost to create and market new solutions (products and services) internationally.
In our global society, access to information and communication technologies and services is increasingly becoming essential for everyone, leaving those who cannot effectively access and use these technologies at risk of exclusion from education, employment, commerce, health information, and almost every other aspect of daily living and civic participation. Those at risk include those who cannot use ICT and services due to disability, low literacy, low digital-literacy or aging related barriers.
The Prosperity4All aim and objectives
Prosperity4all aims at a paradigm shift in eInclusion. It focuses on developing the infrastructure to allow a new ecosystem to grow; one that is based on self-rewarding collaboration, that can reduce redundant development, lower costs, increase market reach and penetration internationally, and create the robust cross-platform spectrum of mainstream and assistive technology based access solutions required. This will be done through a process based on true value propositions for all stakeholders and resulting in a system that can profitably serve markets as small as one, at a personally and societally affordable cost.
Prosperity4All seeks to create the infrastructure from which a new ecosystem can grow over time that can address these problems. We have identified 14 requirements that any such ecosystem must meet. Prosperity4All is built around these requirements, with the requirements becoming the Prosperity4All long‐term vision. Prosperity4All is providing the infrastructure and building blocks necessary for reaching the following post‐project vision.
- Reduce costs: For developers, vendors, service delivery personnel, public access points, consumers, companies, and governments.
- Address the full range of users: including disabilities, literacy, digital literacy, and aging
- Address the tails and the tails of the tails: We can no longer ignore the tails and focus only on the larger groups where it is easier, where there is a larger market, or where there is more return on investment. We need some mechanism to shrink the “unprofitable” so that special measures are affordable to reach them.
- Address all technologies: platforms, OSs, devices, systems, etc. that a person encounters in their lives where they have to use them in 5, 10, and 15 years.
- Provide a plan for creating a vibrant and profitable AT market: Although it would be ideal if all mainstream products could have interfaces that could adapt to the needs of any user, we do not currently know how to do this in any commercially practical fashion, across all disabilities and technologies. We will need AT and will need it for a long time.
- Decrease costs and expertise required of mainstream companies: Modern technologies have the ability to present flexible interfaces that can adapt to the needs of a wide variety of users. However, the expertise to do so is not within all of the company design teams who will be developing these interfaces. Companies are still struggling with usability for the masses. We need to solve this problem in some other way than expecting mainstream industry to become experts in accessible design for any but very mild.
- Do a better job of moving research and development to market: Most current eInclusion R&D reaches life’s end at project review or publication, and is not making it to market and into the hands of users who need. We need to direct research energies better and make it easier to get good ideas out.
- Involve consumer expertise in product development: This is easy to say but hard to do in commercial development processes. This needs to be easier and more effective.
- Be based on realities, business cases, and value propositions: although equal access to information technologies is rapidly being recognized as essential for equal participation, progress in this area is not likely to occur if there is no business case or value proposition for the players that are expected to carry it out. Any proposed ecosystem for the creation and delivery of such solutions therefore must be based on economic realities, business cases, and hard value propositions for the implementers.
- Recruit and engage more and different players: We currently do a poor job of enticing and engaging much of the best scientific and technical talent in our society. To address the above challenges we will need to tap the best and brightest, not only in accessibility or inclusion, but the best in other focused scientific and technical areas as well. Any new ecosystem needs to provide a mechanism to allow people to contribute to this area without dedicating themselves to the area, or even having a deep interest in learning much about the area. We also need to be able to figure out how to engage our clinicians and other service delivery personnel who have deep expertise of a different type, that is equally needed and equally thin in our science and technology oriented research core. We involve them as contributors, but we need mechanisms to allow them to become developers and explorers in their own right.
- Not forget documents, media, and services: Information and communication technologies take many forms and all of them must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Access to an e‐book reader but not the books is not sufficient to allow education. Access to the computers in a company but not to the documents, manuals, and communications is not sufficient to allow employment. Access to the website but not to electronic health records is not sufficient for patients. And lack of access to training materials, legal documents, etc. cannot be replaced with access to a home computer or any tablet application. Any ecosystem needs to support and promote access across all aspects of ICT if it is to support inclusion of these groups in all of these environments.
- Provide both technology and human accessibility service support: Any ecosystem must recognize that technology cannot possibly meet all of the accessibility needs of all of these populations today. Particularly where cognitive or complex aging issues are involved, we do not have assistive technologies, or interface techniques, that can make devices and information automatically usable and understandable to all users. Any ecosystem must therefore, be able to seamlessly integrate human and technology based assistance alternatives.
- Work across all domains of life: any ecosystem must also develop solutions that work across all of the domains that we must operate in as a part of daily life. This includes communication and daily living, work and commerce, education and e‐learning, health and safety, mobility and transport, and access everywhere a person goes.
- Be applicable, and work internationally: any ecosystem must be able to create solutions that can be applied internationally. The needs are international, and only through international development can development for all users be affordable. And only through international distribution can the economies of scale be brought to the needs of those on all of the tails of all of the distributions. This means that the ecosystem must support solutions that work across languages, cultures, economies and fiscal systems, and legal systems (e.g. copyright, privacy, entitlement etc.)
The official Prosperity4All website is: http://prosperity4all.eu/
see also Cloud4all