The ASK-IT project focuses on developing a real service that will improve the everyday lives and mobility of Mobility Impaired people. That is why the ASK-IT service will be tested and evaluated by Mobility Impaired People in various cities across Europe.
The ASK-IT pilot sites selection is based on the fulfilment of specific criteria, including a significant commitment from important stakeholders in the city, available/future content and services, infrastructure, MI user group covered, key local support, etc. For this reason, a scoring procedure was developed and applied, according to which a score has been achieved by each candidate site. The final ASK-IT core sites are: Athens (Greece), Bucharest (Romania), Genoa (Italy), Helsinki (Finland), Madrid (Spain), Newcastle/ Gateshead (UK) and Nuremberg (Germany), while The Hague (The Netherlands) is a satellite site. The sites selected reflect a good geographical balance.
In all the 7 Core pilot sites, there will be 50 users in total that will participate at the pilots. Among these, 5 will have travel to other pilot sites (international trip) and 15 will use the system for longer (maximum 2 weeks), in order to test the long-term effects (user learning and personalisation issues). In the Satelite site, 10 users will participate in the short-term tests and 20 in the long term ones.
Installation and preparation of the sites has started and the actual pilot testing is to be conducted from Month 31 (April 2007) for the stand-alone modules testing and Month 36 (September 2007) for the integrated system functionalities testing, until Month 46 of the project (July 2008). Although this timeplan is common for all the pilot cities, it can be expected that some sites will end earlier than others. It is expected that each site will run the service for at least a year after the end of the project.
Although the tests are planned to start next year, all the selected eight sites have made significant effort to provide crucial data to the project developers, such as questionnaires on available technology/infrastructure (localisation, domotics, transport, eServices, etc.). The most recent contribution by the sites is the development of the application scenaria, where important information is gathered about the participants tasks, the system functionality to be tested, the services to be connected, the user categories involved, the type of content, the technology and equipment needed and the success and failure scenarios. The application scenaria form the bridge between Use Cases (from D1.1.2) and Pilot plans. All the scenaria identify the Use Cases that they abide to. Relevant results are reported in Deliverable 4.1.1 which will be available soon.
An overall synthesis of the developed scenarios from all the sites, showed that the priority Use Cases are well covered, enabling post-test intercultural comparisons of the results. However, an update of the application scenaria is foreseen to be prepared on February 2007, where more details are expected to be added, as well as more scenarios per site, when the relevant discussions with the content and service providers will be realised.
The general statement that characterises ASK-IT pilot sites (which has been transmitted to the sites as well), is the following: ‘To be an ASK-IT site is no trivial matter. It is an honour and a privilege. An honour to have this site with us and a privilege for the site that will be at the forefront of providing an advanced pan-European mobile services for all. It can only happen if current development plans of the site and previous work provide an available platform upon which to build ASK-IT. ASK-IT cannot build a site from scratch. It requires serious local commitment from individuals, local authorities and industry’.
The Greek pilot site will combine the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki as the Athens Airport will be used as a connection point. The Greek site intends to apply nearly all of the ASK-IT services for users with motor disabilities, as well as hearing problems and dyslexia. A number of services already exist including traffic and travel information services, demand responsive transport services, personal assistance in the airport etc. Besides the existing services and infrastructure, more services will be created in order to cover the ASK-IT application areas. For existing web services and applications, the existing content will be updated and adapted to the ASK-IT ontologies. The Greek site manager is the Hellenic Institute of T r a n s p o r t (HIT), while other important stakeholders include Athens International Airport, the Organisation of Urban Transport in Thessaloniki.
The ASK-IT site in Bucharest is managed by ATCROM, and is considering the following scenarios: Scenario 1: Ion Popescu is a MI person from Bucharest. He is a blind person and he is a member of the "Association for Blind People". He has just received an ASK-IT device as part of the ASK-IT@Bucharest project. and plans a trip to an ASK-IT enabled city abroad. For this he checks tourist information (flights and hotel) and local contacts from the site abroad. Once he decides, which is the most convenient option he books the room and flight through the e-Booking service offered by ASK-IT. In order to reach the hotel from the airport he searches for content concerning the access to the respective hotel and the airport accessibility facilities. He arranges to be picked-up from the airport by a taxi. Once at the airport in the case there are problems reaching the hotel he can call the ASK-IT helpdesk or local contacts for alternative arrangements. Scenario 2: Dan Georgescu is a wheelchair user and he is a member of a MI specific association. His association decided to participate inthe ASK-It@Bucharest project so Mr. Georgescu received an ASK-IT device. He decides to take a tour of Bucharest (Village Museum for example) using the public transport. He accesses the ASK-IT device searching for information about the routes to the museum. After the visit to the museum is finished the user returns home or to the hotel. Mr. Georgescu contacts the local community forum and decides to go out to a local club. At the same moment Mr. Georgescu accesses his e-mail remotely and receives a notification that his course for foreign languages is about to begin.
The test site in Genoa will focus on implementing the content and services offered by Terre di Mare. The cooperative La Cruna runs Terre di Mare which is an information point on tourism and access for people with special needs, covering the Province of Genoa. It provides information on disabled access for tourist services (museums, hotels, restaurants, cinema, theatres, public buildings). They also provide information on the accessibility of transport such as the airport, main stations, bus, underground etc. They have information on accompanying services, assistance and tourist guides. The Genoa site will focus on providing a tourism and transport service for the envisaged end-users.
The Helsinki test site will promote independent mobility for people with functional limitations by developing accessible services within the fields of tourism and public transport. With the help of context-related and real-time information. E.g. a blind person will be directed to use public transport and a person in a wheelchair will be able to choose a hotel suited to their needs. The aim is to develop accessibility information content on existing services in Helsinki. The site will involve a number of stakeholders STAKES (Technical Research Centre of Finland), Helsinki City Transport, Sportun and VTT.Mobility Impaired (MI) People: People with an activity limitation that prohibits their free movement. In the context of ASK-IT, the following sub-divisions give some indication of the wide context of mobility impairments:
The Newcastle/Gateshead site will focus on offering
information on Cultural and Tourism for a wide variety
of Mobility impaired people. There have been a
number of meetings with the local stakeholders, provoking
a great deal of interest in ASK-IT.
The test site will be based around a number of typical
scenarios, for example a local user who wishes to
make a trip to the Sage Gateshead (international music
venue) using the local metro system and taxis.
Each scenario will be designed to capture as many of
the services available at the pilot site, and to take into
account the common core services offered through
The Newcastle/Gateshead site will be managed by
the University of Newcastle.
Download video (Size: 400MB).
The Nuremberg test site will be run by the NIK Nuremberg Association for the ITC e.V, but with the support of a wide range of stakeholders such as the local municipality, public transport company, Nuremberg airport, and a number of user associations. The site will probably offer services to the visually impaired and is considering various scenarios such a offering them a guided tour with information on public transport, leisure, tourism, municipality. Most likely also information on electronic health services, integrate multimedia information (radio, books, etc.) will be included, improving also the access to leisure content or sports events. Nuremberg already has a good infrastructure, facilities and content but hopes to develop these further within ASK-IT. The city has all over 3G coverage and detailed digital maps for GPS navigation. Page 8 ASK-IT Newsletter
In order to integrate the ASK-IT tool in the Madrid services for mobility-impaired people, local information and technology suppliers, technical integrators and a group of test users will cooperate. Main stakeholders involved in the pilot are the Fundaci"n Movilidad, a newly established public body within the city council of Madrid, SIEMENS, UPM, CTRM " The Public Transport Consortium that will act as the transport information supplier, Vodafone as technology supplier and local user associations to actually test the ASK-IT device. The Madrid pilot will mainly focus on physically disabled persons and senior citizens. Existing Internet services will be improved in terms of ease of access " they will all be integrated into one application and a single device, and they will be available in real time, and on a portable device. A possible scenario of a user moving around with the help of the ASK-IT device could be as follows: One afternoon, Juan wants to go to the Head Offices of the organisation for physically disabled persons for some business. Afterwards, he will go to the Sports Centre to watch his nephew play basketball, and, finally, he plans to take his nephew to the cinema. From his office, Juan enters these data into his device and the device informs him of the best route to take. On route, Juan"s device keeps him informed of his position and tells him at which stop to get off. After that, Juan plans a second route with his device in order to go to the Sports Centre. However, when he is already on his way, the bus breaks down and he must re-plan his journey. His device tells him that the next bus arrives in 12 minutes, so he decides to take advantage of the time. While he is waiting for the bus, he consults the film programme, chooses a film and even reserves the tickets from his device.
The Hague will offer services based on the actual located position which gives access to relevant information through mobile devices such as mobile phones, palms and computers. An electronic guideline for visual impaired, using GPS and RFID, will be implemented as a pilot project and will be available on a route between The Hague Central Station and the City Centre. Along the Smartline a visually impaired person will be guided past several ministries, the Dutch Parliament, the City Hall, library and theatres. The visually impaired person is guided by a physical line and receives on the device additional information about position, directions and accessibility of buildings and public transport. Route information inside the buildings will also be available. The service or device is equipped with a text-to-speech module. The Hague’s Location Based Services also offer customers added value information (e.g. alerts for one’s favourite restaurant, store or special events while walking the streets or riding on a bus or tram). When using the Location Based Services the customers personal profile is stored , avoiding that the user has to enter the same information again next time they use the services.In the third quarter of 2006 a prepilot will be set up in cooperation with TU Delft, in order to test technical feasibility and user requirements. The implementation of the full scale pilot will start from early 2007. Additional, a website will be created to provide information about accessibility of buildings and points of interest in The Hague for physical impaired persons. This information includes accessibility by car, public transport and availability of parking facilities. The site will be managed by the City of The Hague.