On 14 June the ILC opened our doors for the Emerging Technology Open Day, which was in every way an overwhelming success. From the demand for places, great attendee count and very positive feedback the event exceeded expectations. As attendees filtered in, chatting over tea and coffee and taking their seats in the Conference Room, we knew we were in for a fascinating morning filled with information about the newest technology aimed at improving people’s lives.
The idea behind the Open Day was to provide people with an opportunity to see the latest smart technology options that are available in the home and community. As technology moves so fast it can be difficult to stay ahead of the crowd and to find out what new technology would add value to your life, and the Open Day was planned to help bridge that gap. A number of attendees on the day commented that they were unaware of some of the technology on display, and may not otherwise have been able to find out about them, or have known that there was a gap in their knowledge.
During the presentations and break-out sessions, the attendees were able to gather information about what technology is out there and what could improve their everyday lives. ILC staff were on hand to discuss equipment, guide people around the display floor and share their expertise. As attendees gathered during the break-outs to explore the displays from the ILC, Independent Living Systems, Intelligent Homes, Blue Force, TADWA, Sesame!, Mobile Alert, Airstream and Automated Interiors, they were able to meet other people who use AT and who support people with AT.
The ILC was fortunate to get a broad range of interesting suppliers for the day, who brought expertise and examples of all sorts of technology, from online accessibility to smart home solutions, and from apps to driverless car and bus technology.
The Home Automation Displays from Intelligent Homes was especially engaging, providing the audience with information about how to integrate smart technology into your home, whether it is security, automated doors or adjusting lighting and sound to suit people with environmental sensitivities.
Also of great interest was the Apple accessibility presentation, which went through the accessibility features of iOS, covering options to assist people with physical, vision, hearing and intellectual impairments and the various apps and tips that can make life easier.
ILC Occupational Therapist Lauren Farrell, who the Expo, said,
“There was such a buzz amongst attendees and suppliers on the day. When I spoke with people they were really happy that the suppliers were there to provide education on their products and weren’t pushing sales. I think that really contributed to creating the positive environment in which there were lots of questions asked during presentations and at the display tables.
“It wasn’t just the attendees who gained an insight into emerging technology on the day, the suppliers also got to see the significance of interest in emerging technology and how their involvement can support this.
“This event really validated our thoughts surrounding why people with disabilities aren’t taking to emerging technology despite the rapid improvements in products and services in recent years; people aren’t sure how it works and how it could work for them. There are a lot of questions out there and hopefully now people feel more comfortable asking them.”
As we look back on the day, we are glad that so many people were able to come, and feel sure that they left with the knowledge and inspiration to find out more about the many new technology options out there.
For those who weren’t able to make it we have collated the information and presentations from the day onto the My Tech page of our website, and if you would like to be kept in the loop about similar events in the future, you can join our mailing list here.