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Guest Commentary: Georgia's Planning and Tourism Initiatives for theDisabled Trina BoltonAtlanta July 2, 2009 Could a blind visitor ever fully enjoy a visit to Georgia's Aquarium withoutbeing able to see the marine life?Yes. Due to the collaborative efforts ofexperts at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Georgia Department ofEconomic Development, and several local organizations committed to thedisability community, it may someday be possible for a blind guest to havean enriching experience at this Atlanta attraction. The Accessible Aquarium Project, under the leadership of Georgia Tech, aimsto engage visitors with blindness or vision loss in the venue's manyexhibits. In depth research is being conducted on motion, tracking, music,and narrations with a goal to convey the dynamic nature of a tourismdestination such as the Georgia Aquarium. These alternative means of representing a tour draw on other senses and seekto enhance the holistic elements of an aquarium, zoo, museum, or outdoortourism zone. This project is part of an overarching initiative to advanceAtlanta and Georgia's accessibility for the disabled population,particularly in the areas of travel and tourism. On June 15, the Georgia Alliance for Accessible Technologies InitiativeGAAT of the United Nation's Global Initiative for Inclusive Informationand Communication Technologies G3ict held a meeting at the offices of theInterContinental Hotels Group IHG. This seminar of presentations and dialogue focused on the progress of GAAT'soverall work and allowed members of the group to share updates about theirrecent endeavors related to establishing Georgia as an accessibledestination for the disabled. Participants from a range of organizations attended, includingrepresentatives from IBM Research, Delta Air Lines Inc. , Hartsfield JacksonAtlanta International Airport, the Governor's Council on DevelopmentalDisabilities, Georgia Tech, the Atlanta VA Rehab Center of Emory, AeolianSolutions, among others. These leaders reconvened to follow up on its last workshop in late April,hosted by the Center for the Visually Impaired CVI, and to devise a newset of immediate goals, all with the ultimate objective to promote Georgia'scompetitiveness in accessible travel and tourism.

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They usually use touch screen hubs thatcontain RF, Wi Fi, Zigbee, and Z Wave radios, allowing them to communicate with and control a multitude of components including door and window sensors, door locks, glass break detectors, indoor and outdoor cameras, light switches, motion and water detectors, smoke/CO alarms, thermostats, video doorbells, and a host of other home automation devices. With a professionally monitored system, when a smoke or intrusion alarm is triggered, an agent will first try to reach you via the two way control panel before calling your listed phone number. If you fail to respond, the agent will call 911 to dispatch an emergency responder to your home. The nice thing about professionally installed systems is you don't have to lift a finger; after you've placed your order a technician will come to your home, set everything up for you, and show you how the system works. It's important to note that in some areas you may have to file for a permit to have a security system installed in your home. Nearly all of the latest DIY and high end home security systems offer support for voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and in some cases Apple Siri, which allows you to unlock doors, change thermostat settings, open the garage, and arm or disarm your system with a spoken command to a connected device like an Amazon Echo or a Google Home speaker. Many also offer support for IFTTT If This Then That applets, which use triggers from IFTTT compatible web services and devices to create an action. For example, you can create an applet that says if a garage door is opened to turn on the floodlight. Whether you decide to go with a DIY system or opt for a professionally installed system, you'll have to pay a monthly or annual fee if you require monitoring, and in some cases, you'll be hit with a monthly fee to pay off the cost of hardware components. With most DIY systems, such as the SimpliSafe Home Security Kit, the Ring Alarm Security Kit, and the Nest Secure, you purchase the hardware outright and can avoid any monthly fees if you decide to self monitor. If you add monitoring, fees will vary: SimpliSafe charges $14.