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Boards and Councils

NCAM's mission demands our active collaboration with a number of other organizations, projects, outreach efforts and advisory boards. One or more NCAM staffers are active members of the following groups (our historical activity is listed in the "Previous Collaborations" section below).

FCC DTV Closed Captioning and Video Description Working Group
NCAM helped establish this working group within the FCC which has as its goal to conduct an assessment of closed captioning and video description technical issues associated with the switch to digital television (DTV transition), and to recommend to the Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) solutions to any technical problems arising with these services in conjunction with the DTV transition. NCAM chairs the video description subgroup.

FCC Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee (CMSAAC)
NCAM's work on accessible emergency alerts for people with disabilities led to appointment to serve on the federally mandated FCC Commercial Mobile Service Alerts Advisory Committee (CMSAAC). CMSAAC addressed issues surrounding the dissemination of emergency warnings and alerts via mobile devices, with specific recommendations to address user needs, network structure, technical standards and protocols to facilitate the ability of commercial mobile service providers to transmit emergency alerts to their subscribers.

FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC)
NCAM's work on emergency alerting standards that take into account the needs of people with disabilities has led to membership on this Federal Advisory Committee that will provide guidance and expertise on the nation’s communications infrastructure and public safety communications.

Next Generation Safety Consortium
Our work on emergency alerting standards led to becoming a founding member of this consortium, which brings together national organizations involved in emergency response, academic institutions, government leaders, and technology partners in a broad, multi-dimensional effort to deploy next generation emergency Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum (ISDCF)
ISDCF is a forum for technical stakeholders in the digital cinema transition, including studios, exhibition and theater chains, and equipment manufacturers. The forum also has liaison with various SMPTE committees and working groups, DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives), and NATO (National Association of Theater Owners).

AT&T Advisory Panel on Accessibility and Aging (AAPAA)
AT&T's Advisory Panel on Access & Aging (AAPAA) is composed of national leaders in assistive technology, aging and cross-disability issues. It provides advice and counsel to AT&T's subsidiaries, affiliates and leadership teams regarding issues of mutual interest. AAPAA meets quarterly to discuss a specific area of the business with guest speakers & corporate subject matter experts.

World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) Technical Committee
As part of the federally funded R&D project, Access to In-flight Entertainment and Information, NCAM worked with the airline industry on methods to incorporate captions, descriptions and accessible user interfaces for new and emerging on-board and seat-back entertainment and information systems. NCAM continues to contribute to World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) technical specifications.

Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies
NCAM is a member of this flagship advocacy initiative of UN-GAID, the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Initiated in December 2006 by W2i, the Wireless Internet Institute, G3ict is a public-private partnership dedicated to facilitating the implementation around the world of the Digital Accessibility Agenda defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Mobile/Handheld
NCAM brought captioning issues to the Specialist Group on ATSC Mobile/Handheld (M/H) technologies. The standard now supports CEA708 caption data. Other activities of this group include evaluation of “backwards compatible” proposal(s) for delivery to mobile and handheld devices using the DTV broadcast signals, development of recommended changes to existing Standards or new Standards when necessary, and where applicable development of associated Recommended Practices for mobile and handheld services using DTV broadcast signals.

Public Broadcasting Metadata Dictionary Project (PBCore Metadata Standard)
NCAM staff helped initiate and guide this technical standard which provides—for television, radio and Web activities—a standard way of describing and using data, allowing content to be more easily retrieved and shared among colleagues, software systems, institutions, community and production partners, private citizens, and educators.

Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards (AEGIS)
Member, External Advisory Board, of this consortium of companies, research organizations, and end-user groups funded by the European Commission to study deeply embedded generalized accessibility support within future mainstream ICT-based products and services, including desktop PCs, cell phones, PDAs, set-top/cable boxes, and rich media.

National Center for the Study of Supported Text in Electronic Learning Environments
NCAM advises this cooperative agreement between the University of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The project established and conducts a national center for the study of electronic text. The center's mission is to research the ways in which supportive resources embedded in or linked to electronic text can be used to enhance the reading comprehension and content-area learning of students with disabilities.

W3C/Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
NCAM was a founding member of the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative and continues to participate in committees on Education and Outreach, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, User Agent Guidelines and other W3C activities focused on the goal of assuring that Web content and technologies are accessible and usable by the widest audience possible.

SMPTE Engineering Committees
NCAM participates in the standards-setting activities of this leading international organization of broadcast and motion picture engineers. NCAM staff submit draft standards and guidelines, write technical papers for the prestigious SMPTE Journal, and make numerous presentations at SMPTE conferences. Present work includes standards governing digital cinema accessibility and captioning of web-based media.

Previous collaborations and memberships
Since 1993, NCAM staff have been members of the following advisory boards and committees:

National Task Force on Technology and Disability (Mott Commission)
The Task Force was established in 2001 to create recommendations on increasing the access to and usability of accessible technologies for people with disabilities. This blue ribbon panel of private industry, technology experts, disability advocates, education and government was funded by a grant from the CS Mott Foundation and issued a final report, "Within Our - Reach Findings and Recommendations of the National Task Force on Technology and Disability."

Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee (Federal Access Board) (EITAAC) and Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC)
The EITAAC was convened by the Access Board in September 1998 to assist the Board in fulfilling its mandate under section 508 (which requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, they shall ensure that the electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities). The advisory committee unveiled its recommendations in the form of a final report it submitted to the Board in May 1999.

From 2006-2008, the Access Board conducted a "refresh" of the 508 and 255 (telecom access) standards: the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC). NCAM chaired the Audio/Video subcommittee, which submitted recommendations for updates of section 508 accessibility requirements related to multimedia.

ATSC Implementation Subcommittee
NCAM chaired the Closed Captioning Working Group for ATSC as it developed voluntary standards for digital television, interactive systems and broadband multimedia.

America Online Accessibility Advisory Committee
AOL's Accessibility Advisory Committee helped the company evaluate new products and services, customer service and relevant and useful content for persons with disabilities.

Consumer Electronics Association
NCAM has been a long-time participant in this home electronics industry standards organization. NCAM currently chaired a test materials task group for digital television data systems.

FCC Consumer/Disability Telecommunications Advisory Committee
NCAM was a pioneer member of this FCC advisory committee when it was established as the "Consumer/Disability Telecommunications Advisory Committee" whose purpose was to "keep consumers in the picture" at the Federal Communications Commission by providing general guidance to the FCC, and to make specific recommendations on consumer issues and questions. NCAM served for three terms on what is now called the CAC - the Consumer Advisory Committee.

FCC Technology Advisory Council
NCAM served on the FCC's TAC from 2001-2006. The purpose of the TAC was to provide technical advice to the Federal Communications Commission and to make recommendations on the issues and questions presented to it by the FCC. Regulations must be examined in light of rapid advances in technology, and the Federal Communications Commission relied on the TAC to remain abreast of new developments in technology.

Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC at Georgia Tech) National Advisory Council
The Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access (CATEA) was supported by a cooperative agreement from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), to establish the Information Technology Technical Assistance & Training Center (ITTATC) to promote the development of accessible electronic & information technology (E&IT) by providing technical assistance, training and information.

Microsoft Corporation Accessibility Advisor
Microsoft is dedicated to developing technology that is useable and accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. Microsoft's Accessibility Advisors provided assistance in areas such as: strategic advice; feedback for engineers; design issues; market testing; usability and Beta tests.

Trace Center/Gallaudet University Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Advisory Board
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S. Department of Education supports the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) at the Trace Research & Development Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison, which works in partnership with the Technology Assessment Program at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

The focus of this RERC is to identify telecommunication access barriers in current and future technologies, work with others in the field to identify solution strategies, test them, implement any necessary standards, and assist industry in transferring the ideas into commercial products.

Trace Research & Development Center Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Interface and IT Access
The Trace R&D Center serves as the NIDRR Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) covering the area of disability access to information technologies. This RERC covers access by individuals with all types, degrees, and combinations of disabilities to a wide range of new and emerging information technologies.