The Commission recently announced that it would be accepting nominations for the second annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman's AAA). This project, coordinated by the Commission's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I Initiative), seeks to recognize innovations in the field of Accessibility and Technology. The Chairman's AAA and the A&I initiative are based on recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, an FCC report to Congress in 2010.
In a rapidly changing world, we must ensure that newly developed technologies continue to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Technological advances, moreover, provide opportunities to bridge current accessibility gaps in a cost-effective and efficient manner. To this end, the A&I Initiative works to foster collaborative problem-solving among industry, consumer, and government stakeholders so that people with disabilities can reap the full benefit of broadband communication technologies. The Chairman's AAA encourages innovation in this field through high-profile recognition.
In 2011, nominations for the inaugural Chairman's AAA were received from a variety of entities, including small and large communication businesses, institutions of higher learning, app developers, government agencies, the assistive technology industry, and public-private partnerships. A cross-bureau advisory group was formed inside the Commission to review the nominations and advise the Chairman on the awards. Chairman Genachowski and Commissioner Copps presented awards to winners and honorable mentions at a ceremony held at the Commission on October 28, 2011. The FCC's Technology Experience Center also featured demonstrations of technologies by award winners during that month of October.
This year, the awards have been split into the following seven categories: (1) Education, College/University; (2) Deaf-Blind Solutions; (3) Video Programming Device Solutions; (4) Geo-location Solutions; (5) Mobile Apps; (6) Consumer Empowerment Information; and (7) Civic Participation Solutions. Nominations may be submitted in these categories for any technology, product, service, or practice designed to increase or promote accessibility, which is introduced to the public during the year starting July 31, 2011 and ending July 31, 2012.
The Commission is accepting nominations during the two-month period from May 31, 2012 to July 31, 2012 at the email address ChairmansAAA@fcc.gov. A nomination should include a brief description of the innovation, identification of the category of innovation, the date the innovation was introduced, and why the innovation qualifies for the Chairman's Award. Applicants can nominate themselves or others they think are deserving of such an award. Award winners will again be selected by an internal cross-bureau advisory group comprised of subject matter experts on accessibility issues. For more information please contact us at ChairmansAAA@fcc.gov. We look forward to hearing from you!