Steve Jacobs Bio
Last updated on June 1, 2022
Steve Jacobs has worked in the high-tech industry since the early ’70s. Steve is President of IDEAL Group, Inc. IDEAL Group is a 2002 spin-off from IDEAL at NCR Corporation where Steve served as President until his retirement at the end of 2002.
IDEAL Group and its subsidiaries are all Not Just For Profit (NJFP) corporations where value is determined by profit, self-sustainability, and the mission to “enhance the independence, quality-of-life, and employability of individuals with disabilities through the development of low/no cost technology-based products and services.”
IDEAL Group serves as the parent company to four information and communications technology companies, which include:
- InftyReader Group, Inc.
Established in March, 2007, InftyReader Group, Inc. offers a sophisticated optical character recognition application that is used by thousands of universities to recognize, convert, and enable the editing of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational content (both print and digital) into accessible formats in support of students with print disabilities. A print disability is a condition related to blindness, visual impairment, specific learning disability or other physical condition in which the student needs an alternative or specialized format (i.e., Braille, Large Print, Audio, Digital text) in order to access and gain information from conventional printed materials. InftyReader is an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) application that recognizes and translates scientific documents (including math symbols) into LaTeX, MathML and XHTML. In 2012, IDEAL Group received a White House Champions of Change Award for enhancing the accessibility of STEM curriculum for students with disabilities. InftyReader Scientific Research Studies Published on Google Scholar
- Apps4Android, Inc.
Established in January, 2009, Apps4Android, Inc. is a social entrepreneurship company. Apps4Android’s primary objective is to facilitate widespread technological changes that enhance the independence, quality of life, and employability of individuals with disabilities. Apps4Android is now the world’s largest developer of Android applications designed in support of individuals with disabilities, with 25+ installations. Apps4Android apps are installed on the devices distributed by 567 Wireless Carriers in 142 countries.
- Knowledge Discovery Solutions, Inc.
Established in 2014, Knowledge Discovery Solutions http://kds.global, a joint venture company of IDEAL Group, Inc. and Shaping Tomorrow from the United Kingdom. KDS offers knowledge-mining solutions in support of gathering “anticipatory intelligence” to help industry and government agencies identify and act upon emerging opportunities as well as identify the risks associated with those opportunities.
- Speech2RTT Communications, Inc.
Established in 2018, Speech2RTT Communications, Inc. markets an Android app called Speech2RTT. RTT stands for Real-Time Text. Speech2RTT is a communications application that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or late-deafened to communicate with anyone using an Android smart phone.
Previous to NCR’s spin-off from AT&T, Steve served as Chairman of AT&T Bell Lab’s Project Freedom. In 1992-1993 Steve’s group pioneered the use of interactive video technology for sign-language communications over telephone lines (dual ISDNs). This technology, now in the mainstream, is referred to as Video Relay Services (VRS). More: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRQKWIarEQM
Appointments, Congressional Testimonies, Recognitions:
- Award: Recognized, by the White House for leading education and employment efforts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for Americans with disabilities.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/stem-equality-for-americans-with-disabilities/steve-jacobs
- Federal Appointment: Federal Communications Commission’s Video Programming and Emergency Access Advisory Committee [2010-2012]
- Expert Witness: Testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing on Achieving the Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Digital Age – Current Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities  http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_100422_1.html and http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/Jacobs100422.pdf
- Federal Appointment: Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee [2005-2007]
- Federal Appointment: Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer/Disability Telecommunications Advisory Committee which has since been renamed the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee [2000-2002] http://www.mdtap.org/tt/2000.05/announcements.html#Link9
- Federal Appointment: Access Board’s Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee [1998-1999] http://www.universaldesign.net/news/apr00.htm#us1
- Federal Appointment: Access Board’s Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee [1997-1998] http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/taac_intro/taac.htm
- Expert Witness: Testified before the House Committee on Science Subcommittee on Technology Hearing on Meeting the Needs of People with Disabilities Through Federal Technology Transfer  http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/legaff/disabled.html
Sampling of Publications:
- Apr 2012: Authored “Developing Accessible, Mobile-Friendly Content for Students with Print Disabilities in Grades 4-9, with an Emphasis on Mathematics” for the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the U.S. Department of Education
- Sept 2010: Authored “The Corporate Social Innovation Model: Enabling Positive Societal Change through the Distribution and Use of Accessible ICT Products and Services” for the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor.
- Sept 2010: Authored “Accessible Technology in the Workplace: The Global Business Benefits of Accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Design” for the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
- Aug 2010: Authored and released “The Global Business Benefits of Accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Design for the U.S. Department of Commerce
- Apr 2008: Served as one of the authors of The U.S. Access Board’s Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee report
- Sept 2007: Served as a co-author of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s STAT-USA/Internet Companion to International Business: Highlighting Accessibly Designed Information and Communications Technology
- Nov 2004: Authored the National Council on Disability report entitled, “Design for Inclusion: Industry White Paper
- Oct 2004: Authored the National Council on Disability report entitled “Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace”
- Jan 2000: Authored “An object-oriented programming environment for designing human computer interfaces for person with disabilities Page 5-226
- May 1999: Served as one of the authors of The National Task Force on Technology and Disability report entitled, “Within Our Reach“
- May 1999: Served as one of the authors of the U.S. Access Board’s Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee Report that was used to develop the Access Board’s Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards
- June 1998: Served as a coauthor of the U.S. Access Board’s Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee Final Report that was used, by the Access Board, to develop their Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines
Sampling of Historical IDEAL Group Projects:
1. President Bush 54th Inauguration Technology Project
Integrated technology into George W. Bush’s inauguration program and guidebook. The project repurposed technology being used by the Israeli military to come up with a method that enables a person who is blind to scan 77 pages of text… with only one pass of a scanner, with 100% accuracy.
- 54th Program Book (See Page 32):
- 54th Guide Book (See Page 77)
- Edgar Online: Bush Presidential Inauguration Publications Use High-Tech Code:
- IDEAL at NCR and Intacta Technologies, Inc. Demonstrate New Accessibility Technology
2. Hosted the Fifty-Fourth eNaugural.com Ball Webcast
- Hosted fully-accessible 54th eNaugural.com Ball Webcast:
3. Established AT&T Bell Labs Project Freedom
From 1991-1994 Steve served as Chairman of AT&T’s Project Freedom. In 1993, this group pioneered the use of interactive video technology for sign-language communications over telephone lines (dual ISDNs). This technology is now referred to as Video Relay Services (VRS).
- Video: First ASL Communication Over Telephones. This video also contains historical footage of Alexander Graham Bell.
- Although a competitor, Sprint used Project Freedom’s Vistium Video System for their first VRS pilot test in Texas. Here is a 1995 flyer announcing the pilot test:
- GA-SK Newsletter article about Sprint’s pilot test:
- Photo of Reid Huntt (Chairman of the FCC at that time) and Steve Jacobs, Chairman, AT&T Project Freedom demonstrating their video system to FCC Commissioners.
4. Smithsonian Institution Project
Designed, developed, and implemented accessible prototype kiosks for the Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum.
- Link to showcase:
5. Managed the Technology for President Clinton’s Digital Divide Tour
- Technology Demonstrations:
6. Developed Vice President Gore’s Digital Talking Book
Published a Digital Talking Book in support of a reception held at the residence of Vice President Gore.
7. Built the Internet Resource Center for the 53rd Presidential Inauguration
8. Managed the Technology for President Clinton’s 53rd Presidential Inauguration
Integrated technology into the 53rd Presidential inaugural program book.
- Inauguration Program Book:
Education and Family
Steve is a 1973 graduate of Ohio State University. Steve and wife, Pauline, have been married for 47 years. Pauline and Steve have two daughters and a granddaughter.