[community] Fwd: PRESS RELEASE: G3ict and World ENABLED Launch Accessible Smart Cities Initiative

Deborah Fels dfels at ryerson.ca
Mon Jun 13 16:29:00 UTC 2016

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From: G3ict - The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs <
G3ict_The_Global_Initiative_for_ at mail.vresp.com>
Date: Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 12:12 PM
Subject: PRESS RELEASE: G3ict and World ENABLED Launch Accessible Smart
Cities Initiative
To: deborah.fels at ryerson.ca


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*[image: G3ict Logo]         *[image: World ENABLEd-logo]


*G3ict and World ENABLED leading the way with Microsoft support. *
*WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2016) *-- G3ict, the Global Initiative for
Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, and World ENABLED
announced today on the occasion of the 5th M-Enabling Summit that they are
teeming up in the launch of a joint global *Defining Accessible Smart
Cities Initiative*. The objective, over the coming year, is to increase
awareness about the role that accessible technology must play in the
planning, deployment and functioning of smart cities worldwide and how
smart cities can better engage persons with disabilities and aging
communities in those processes. The initiative is sponsored by the
Microsoft Corporation.
At a signing ceremony held today at the M-Enabling Summit to celebrate
G3ict’s 10th year anniversary and the new partnership between G3ict and
World ENABLED, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer,
announced the company’s support and sponsorship of the initiative stating,
“Technology empowers persons with disabilities to achieve more in the
places where they live and work. As cities evolve and integrate new
technologies, we can help them define what it means to be smart – and
accessible – to make sure no one is left behind.”

Urbanization is a significant and lasting trend. The global urban
population climbed to 54% in 2014 and is projected to rise to 70% by 2050.
Smart cities are using technology to empower employees and promote deeper
civic engagement. Dr. Victor Pineda, President and Founder of World
ENABLED, added, “With the generous support and global leadership of
Microsoft, we have an incredible opportunity to unlock the potential of
both technology and urban planning and help people with disabilities
contribute to the vitality of their own cities.”

The Defining Accessible Smart Cities Initiative brings together industry,
government, and civil society experts and practitioners worldwide to define
how a smart city can also be a digitally inclusive city. A smart city is an
urban area in which digital technologies are integrated into the
infrastructure in order to provide services for the citizens and government
of the city.

“We have designed this initiative to improve the accessibility of the
technology infrastructure of smart cities worldwide,” said James Thurston,
Vice President for Global Strategy and Development at G3ict, adding, “This
requires building a significant knowledge base, including core principles,
inventories of technical standards, and model policies for accessible
cities, as well as a platform for smart cities to share best practices and
innovate new inclusive technologies.”

This unique, new initiative will address the vital issues of the
interaction between increasing urbanization and integrative technology at a
time when the proliferation of smart cities threatens to widen the gap
between persons with disabilities, aging communities, and the rest of the
population. G3ict and World ENABLED will release initial project results in
September 2016.

Kathryn Willson, Director of Microsoft’s CityNext initiative emphasized
this point, stating, “For years, Microsoft and our CityNext partners have
been helping cities in their digital transformation journey to become more
efficient, safer, healthier, more educated, and more sustainable places to
live and work. We are excited to support the global leadership of G3ict and
World ENABLED in raising awareness about the need to make cities more
accessible and inclusive and to partner with them in making progress
towards that important goal.”

G3icts and World ENABLED’s shared vision for infusing accessibility into
smart cities programs to improve human rights, civic engagement, and
business outcomes is laid out in an initial concept paper which can be
viewed on the G3ict website

*For more information, please contact:*
James Thurston, Vice President, Global Strategy and Development, G3ict
Email: smartcities at g3ict.org.

*About G3ict *
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication
Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 to
promote the ICT accessibility provisions of the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in cooperation with the Secretariat for
the CRPD at UNDESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the
implementation of the dispositions of the CRPD promoting digital
accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Participating organizations
include industry, academia, the public sector and organizations
representing persons with disabilities. G3ict produces jointly with ITU the
e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities, as well as
specialized reports which are widely used around the world by policy makers
involved in the implementation of the CRPD. For additional information,
visit http://www.g3ict.org

*About World ENABLED*
World ENABLED is a global education, communications and strategic
consulting group that supports companies and governments with the full
implementation of legal mandates that promote the rights of persons with
disabilities. Our fieldwork and research initiatives are focused on urban
planning and inclusive urban policy development. We help our clients create
an inclusive human and civil rights approach to disability programs and
policies. With our international partners, we work to build inclusive
societies where people with disabilities can develop their talents, skills
and abilities and reach their full potential. Visit www.worldenabled.org

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Deborah Fels, PhD. P.Eng.
Professor, Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management
Director, Inclusive Media and Design Centre
Ryerson University
55 Dundas St. W. rm 3-090
Toronto, ON
M5B 2K3

416.979.5000 x 7619

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