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The future of open source and assistive technologies

  1. Network, Learn, Share The future for Open Source in Assistive Technology David Banes and Joe Reddington
  2. 2 What do we mean by Open • Open Licencing takes a variety of forms • Creative Commons • OER-Commons • Open Source • Understanding the basis of open licences is important to use it effectively
  3. 3 Creative Commons
  4. 4 Open Educational Resource
  5. 5 Open Source
  6. 6 Open Source is increasingly important • To understand the importance of open source and open licences we need to understand the changing world in which we live • To meet the evolving global and local needs new approaches are needed • Some of these link with existing solutions • Others seek to disrupt
  7. 7 Change in Behaviour and expectations • The future of open source AT is dictated by a number of factors – Customer expectations – Customer behaviour – Funding pressure – Global Marketplace – Changing relationship between customer and developer
  8. 8 What is happening to the AT industry • Technology Shift – Mobile, portable, pervasive – Internet of Things, Wearables etc • Business model shift – From upfront payments to service and subscription – Freemium models • Customer shift – Changing demographics and users
  9. 9 Success stories in Open Licence • Android – Basis of wide range of devices – Phones, tablets, media players, smart TV • Moodle – Basis of elearning platforms and Moocs • Drupal – Used for website design by large and small web owners
  10. 10 Success stories in Open AT • NVDA – Widely used screenreader – Distributed for free – Supported by grants and donations • ATBar – Browser plug combining open access tools into a single interface – Supports Arabic, English and Swedish – Grant funded
  11. 11 Open Licencing Open-licencing is giving everyone the automatic right to use, modify and share work, free of charge. “Very worthy, but it obviously can’t succeed in practice….” -People who haven’t heard of Wikipedia or Firefox “Well, it obviously can’t be part of a commercial project.” - People who haven’t heard of mySQL (bought by Sun for over a billion dollars in 2008)
  12. 12 Expanding the scope of Open AT • Communication – Development of AAC Solutions – Open Symbol sets – Open Distribution • Low vision – Magnifiers for phones and tablets – Linked to hardware • On screen keyboards and physical access – Keyboards – Head controllers – Switch interfaces
  13. 13 AAC • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the term used to describe various methods of communication that can ‘add-on’ to speech and are used to get around problems with ordinary speech.
  14. 14 A Short History of AAC… • Pre-2010… – Few, big, manufacturers, expensive and dominant • 2010 – iPad! – Rise of commercial apps (proloquo2go) – Many traditional suppliers were bought out, close, withdraw, or merge.
  15. 15 A Short History… • 2015 – Openess – Free Symbols (Mulberry, ARASAAC, Tawasol) – Free Symbols put into open pagesets (CommuniKate) – Open pagesets put into open formats (Open Board Format) – Open formats starting to be used in free (the Open Voice Factory) and commercial (CoughDrop) software.
  16. 16 Open Licences can be applied in different ways • Source • Content • Platform • Distribution • Commercial v Non Commercial
  17. 17 Why Open Approaches are good. 1. Resilience – When companies went out of business following the iPad launch in 2010, lots of users where left high and dry. Open projects by nature are protected (Mulberry had closed down before it was used in CommuniKate) 2. Free – While the developed world might be able to afford all the AAC technology it needs, there are millions of people in developing countries that commercial solutions will never reach. 3. Prevent Lockout – Commercial approaches are invested in keeping people within their range, so it’s hard to move. Open approaches are invested in other people helping, so they make it much easier to convert. 4. Research – Current approaches are locked down and difficult to use my researchers, open approaches are modifiable and easy to access
  18. 18 Where Open approaches have problems 1. Hardware – Open software is easy, open hardware much harder – there will be a delay in catching up. 2. Cultural – The people who make open source software aren’t the people who work with AAC users. Cues can be missed. 3. Legal – The legal status of open software for ‘medical’ reasons is undefined – different in every country and the approval systems mesh badly with open ‘fast iteration’ approaches. 4. Poison Pill – What if free software for most users kills off the people who supply the software for the most complex cases?
  19. 19 Open Hardware • Distribution of designs and components • 3D printing • Sharealike principle • Manufacture locally with local tools
  20. 20 Now! • Now! – Pace of change is accelerating, and lots of little projects are starting to join up and work together. – Quality is rising – still NOT competitive with buying, but making a difference to real people.
  21. 21 Example Open voice factory
  22. 22 Example Coughdrop
  23. 23 Example Tawasol
  24. 24 What is changing ? • Distribution of mobile and portable solutions • Distribution of designs • Distribution of training
  25. 25 Open licences and localisation • Open licences can allow content to be modified • Open licences can allow content to be presented in different ways • Open licences can allow content to be translated and localised
  26. 26 Disruption and Open Licence Global Innovation • Key drivers of disruptive innovation stimulating open source • Changing global demographics – Aging – Increased disabled populations – Changing attitudes and policy • Growth of university innovation • No legacy of prior technologies and solutions • Addressing new ideas to meet local and global needs
  27. 27 Summary • The area has hit a critical mass and will keep growing. • Most likely that free solutions will cut their teeth in developing, and underserved countries and then come back. • The overall affect will be a growth in the market, NOT a loss of revenue. • Number of freelance trainers will grow, as will the ‘gig-economy’.
  28. Thank you for Attending! • CEUs – Session Code: AAC-60 – More info at: – For ACVREP, AOTA and ASHA CEUs, hand in completed Attendance Forms to INFORMATION DESK at the end of the conference. Please note there is a $15 fee for AOTA CEUs. • Session Evaluation – Please help us improve the quality of our conference by completing your session evaluation form in the mobile app. • Handouts – Handouts are available at: – Handout link remains live for 3 months after the conference ends.
  29. Network, Learn, Share David Banes Thanks to Joe Reddington and Steve Lee