Advances in technology have led to the availability of consumer Head Mounted Displays and the availability of 360° cameras for capturing immersive content. This has enabled broadcasters to explore new experiences, where narrative and content can be delivered with a heightened sense of presence and engagement, regardless of whether the user is fully immersed, using multiple screens, or via traditional television. Exploitation of these technologies is still in its infancy and innovators are producing ground-breaking content for early adopters. With any new technology it is essential to consider accessibility especially in Europe, where e-inclusion is a priority of the EC and the Single Digital Market. Doing so ensures that the narrative is coherent across languages, ages and abilities, and ensures compliance with regulatory guidelines.
Immersive Accessibility (ImAc) will explore new deployment methods for these services (Subtitles, Audio Description, Audio Subtitling, Sign Language) in immersive environments. We will move away from the constraints of the current technology, into a Hyper-Personalized environment where the consumer can fully customize the experience to meet his personal needs. For example, it may be more appropriate for subtitles to be read out-loud or the Audio Description presented as text. The key action in ImAc will be to ensure immersive experiences are inclusive across different languages, addressing the needs of those with hearing and low vision problems, learning difficulties and the aged. We also foresee these services consumed by a wider audience, for personal convenience, learning language and language therapy - accessible content can add significant value to these related areas.