Projects

Telework

There is the possibility for projects that explore the intersection between two current RERCs; Wireless and Work Place Accomodation (www,workplacererc.org). Tele- work provides increased opportunities for people with disabilities to work. Therefore there is a need for research projects that look at the issues of people tele-working using wireless technologies (wifi, wimax, mobile devices etc.) It is important that universal design and accessibility be components of tele-working technology, strategies, and policies so that workers of all abilities can benefit. The following are a few examples of possible projects in this domain.

Devices like RIM Blackberries are ubiquitous among people that work outside of the standard office. However, they are often difficult to use especially for people with disabilities. There is a need to develop accessible tele-work tools that leverage wireless technologies. These interfaces can either be tailored such that they adapt to a specific user or can use universal design techniques to create interfaces for the general public that are more usable for all.

Not only do tele-work tools need to have an awareness of user abilities; they also must be aware of network and device abilities especially as workers move between locations, networks, and devices during the day. Research is needed in how network and device capabilities could be characterized and how this could drive the interface and services provided by each system. A sub-project would be to simply look at how information, current work sessions, and open communication channels can seamlessly transition between these different devices and networks.

Emergency communication is a hot topic of research right now. One area that has been overlooked it not just how to get out initial emergency warnings (e.g. there is a fire in the building) but how to handle tele-work in emergency situations. For example, if a large storm hits the city, thousands if not millions of workers may need to carry on their work (in some capacity) at home for several days. The infrastructure which supports tele-work may not be fully functional. What technological developments are needed to support the provide communication and tele-work in emergency conditions? What type of services would be required? Is a need for new or modified public policy to support this?



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