EBU Conference 2020: “Acoustic Systems for Information and Orientation”

This year’s EBU conference focused on acoustic systems for information an orientation and was hosted by the Austrian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (BSVÖ). Due to the current Covid-19 situation, the conference could not take place in Vienna but was instead – for the first time – held in the form of 3 webinars. This allowed participants from outside EBU to join as well and a high number of participants was reached. Also, an interpretation system was used which allowed for interpretation in 4 languages (German, French, Spanish, English). Due to joint efforts from the organization committee BSVÖ and SONS, (Czech Republic) and especially from EBU, all 3 webinars went very smoothly.

Webinar 1 tried to give an overview of national practices and European standards and good examples were shared, such as a Swiss navigation app or new technologies to activate acoustic traffic lights with both Bluetooth remote control and smartphone apps. The second webinar gave an update on AVAS and informed about apps for door-to-door mobility. The need for interoperability of the various technologies was stressed during an active panel discussion. Webinar 3 focused on acoustic traffic lights and national adaptations, examples were given from Denmark and Czeck Republic. Austria presented a national database for acoustic traffic lights.

122 participants were present over the three events and we hope that the webinars will lead to a more active discussion within the respective RSAT list of EBU, in order to develop a European knowledge base on accessible transport.

The conference was made possible thanks to financial support from the European Commission.