January 5th, 2009
So there I am on Itunes - downloading podcasts - like many I spend too much time in the car and listening to something other than my favourite albums is a good way of staying awake at the wheel. There are a great range of podcasts, football phone ins, disability shows, film reviews and music compilations and shows. I’m just downloading new music from BBC 6 when it hits me - I sued to do this with a cassette player.
Home taping it was called and I was often reminded that it was “killing music” (that’s before ripping CD’s was killing music and before file sharing was killing music - it was an early death) But hang on, here I am downloading lots of new music from the BBC and they’ve actually made it easy for me to do so, and rather than killing music apparently now I’m taking part in a vibrant youthful pastime. My Music My way (or something)
So it appears that someone has realised that in this bright technological era we like our music on demand - in a format we can use when we want it - its a bit like Sky + I suppose or Ch 4 + 1 using technology to suit my lifestyle
It struck me that this principle is one we see in various media - I guess the web itself is about information on demand, but movies, software, images are all available to us on demand, on demand is about the user being in control of the point of delivery.
Its the same concept that is applied increasingly to assistive technologies. We want out support to be available anytime anywhere, not limited by installations on single machines but recognising the fact that many users are mobile - using multiple technologies such as phones, laptops, or hot desking on a network.
So its for this reason that we should welcome some of the developments that are taking place, in the free and open source arena we see NVDA, System Access to Go and Portable apps being developed that can either be streamed across the internet or installed on a flash drive and carried with the user. It was these resources that we utilised in equipping the cyber cafe at the einclusion event in Vienna last Month. Similarly we should welcome the flexibility that companies such as Dolphin, Crick and ClaroSoft are offering with their on demand solutions for screen readers, predictive word-processing and reading support.
It seems a good sign that the At companies seem to be embracing the new technologies whilst perhaps the media world had to be dragged kicking and screaming to meet the new methods of distribution. But what will the next evolution of AT solutions look like ?