A unique collaboration designed to build accessibility into the U.S. federal government’s most important and most distributed documents, Cloud508 is Actuate Corporation’s newest endeavor. A joint project with partners Braille Works and Venatôre, the cloud-based service works with documents such as tax, health, and benefits notices, statements and other personalized communications, automatically converting them on demand into accessible, Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant PDF format.
Cloud508 is not only unique, but is the first of its kind on the market. It is no secret that federal government produces and distributes enormous amounts of personalized notices to tax payers and beneficiaries, creating a significant challenge in meeting mandated Section 508 compliance allowing the documents to be accessible and usable by the blind and visually impaired recipients agencies serve.
This service has been designed to eliminate the costly and laborious manual remediation efforts typically required to produce compliant accessible electronic documents. Until now, to make a PDF document accessible, human operators would use special software and manually remediate each and every page of a personalized notice. Not only is it costly and labor intensive, but with the sheer volume of documents it also slows the delivery time to the recipient. Now with Cloud508, each personalized document can be automatically remediated, on-demand, on the fly, nearly instantly! When these documents are electronically delivered via the web, blind and visually impaired recipients can receive their notices and statements at the same time as sighted recipients. The documents generated by this automation service are output as PDF/UA format meeting WCAG 2.0 Level AA and Section 508 accessibility standards.
The Cloud508 Collaboration Partners
To create this cloud-based accessibility solution, Actuate collaborated with two commercial and federal government experienced partners:
- Braille Works International is a Section 508 and accessibility expert and leading provider of reading materials for the visually impaired serving the federal government.
- Venatôre provides data center and cloud engineering services delivering mission critical solutions to federal government customers.
Each has entered the partnership with their own area of expertise; Braille Works providing its subject-matter experience to ensure the documents meet accessibility and usability standards, and Venatôre bringing its secure cloud infrastructure required by government agencies. Actuate is contributing its patented document remediation software, designed to convert high volumes of personalized statements, notices and other communication documents into accessible PDFs.
We are excited to bring this unique service to market, and Hunter Trice, President/ CEO of Venatôre, expressed it perfectly:
“What excites us about this service is that it takes an innovative approach to addressing federally mandated accessibility requirements. The Cloud508 offering changes the rules by taking the industry from a mostly manual, time intensive remediation process to a largely automated, workflow-driven SaaS model. Cloud technology is enabling innovation in customer segments that have been traditionally underserved. Specifically, Actuate’s Cloud508 service makes it much easier for government agencies to deliver the same level of service, utility and convenience to the visually impaired. It makes providing accessible content a part of the standard operating procedure instead of something delivered as an exception or accommodation.”
Cloud508 is highly scalable and reliable, with accessible output that has been tested and approved by The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Not only that, but its cloud infrastructure supports the U.S. federal government’s Cloud First Policy and its built-in security and encryption features meet strict government regulations. It delivers benefits to both the government agencies it services and the visually impaired individuals it is designed to help, including:
- Software-based automation for document remediation
- Secure and efficient delivery in the cloud
- Compliance support with U.S. accessibility legislation, including Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
- WCAG 2.0 – Level AA and PDF/UA compliance for documents
- Equal access to government services for those with visual, cognitive, and print disabilities
Along the collaborative partnership path an unexpected outcome was realized, and born from that was yet another unique and compelling advantage of Cloud508 – the automation of traditional print formats. With some clever programming and utilization of the rich accessible output, a streamlined and more efficient process for creating braille, large print, and audio formats was developed! This brings lower costs, and for those preferring these more traditional formats, an expedited delivery time – even with higher volumes.
Lou Fioritto, Founder of Braille Works International, said:
“The concept of an automated process for the creation of accessible documents was largely dismissed due to the complexity of the process. Cloud508 is a game-changer. It not only automates the creation of 508 compliant PDF documents, but in the process allows for the automation of a portion of the work to create traditional formats such as braille, large print and audio. With Cloud508, a Federal Agency can reduce the cost and time needed to deliver compliant documents to their visually impaired constituents.”
A true wealth of knowledge, experience, services, and unique patented product have been combined to create Cloud508 as a full-service, flexible solution with unmatched accuracy in its performance, speed, and accessible output. Together this is a powerful combination!
Download the Solution Overview to learn more about Cloud508.
Contact me at email@example.com to learn more about an educational, invitation-only, private training seminar for government agencies organized by Actuate and leading accessibility industry experts on December 4th, 2014, in Washington D.C. Metro Area.