There is a growing concern throughout Europe about the difficulties faced by the organisations involved in the ICT Assistive Technology (AT) field. The ATIS4all collaborative portal is the result of an EU-funded project, which aims to benefit all the key actors in the chain value of ICT ATs and accessibility products (from research centres to the end-users). It is an open and collaborative portal that offers reliable information on ICT ATs, inclusive solutions and R&D initiatives, and fosters online discussion, exchange of knowledge, expertise and sharing of information among its different portal members. Some benefits of this portal can be better understood throughout the following story:
Jennifer is an EC project officer focused on inclusion policies. She is planning the future policy initiatives focused in disabled people inclusion. Jennifer understands that their initiatives affect a wide variety of key actors in the ICT AT field. Therefore, she decides to use the ATIS4all collaborative portal to debate some ideas with the different organisations and end-users involved in the portal. After some discussions, she selects a set of the most experienced portal members that constitute a representative sample of key actors involved in the whole value chain of the ICT ATs to create an expert group that will advise her in their policy ideas.
Johanna is a blind person since her childhood. She uses a screen reader in her computer to work, chat with friends, look for new training opportunities, etc. In a webpage, a company is promoting a new screen reader which claims to improve the user experience and be cheaper than its competence. Johanna is intrigued, but does not trust internet ads. Therefore, she enters in the ATIS4all collaborative portal and finds experts and other users’ opinions on this new product. She also finds out that the developing company is recruiting users to test its products before launching them to the market. Johanna decides to help them by testing the newest version of the screen reader, and in compensation receives a discount to purchase the license of the product.
Mary is a recognised researcher in the ICT ATs field. She has a new disruptive idea that may change the current paradigm in the field. She wants to discuss some loose ends with the end-users in order to have a solid idea for a new project. In the past Mary has faced difficulties to find a set of disabled users to validate her ideas. Therefore, she decides to use the ATIS4all collaborative portal to discuss her loose ends with the different organisations and end-users involved in the portal. She already knows the portal because she uses it to be up-to-date about new publications, projects, look for case studies, etc. Additionally, by chance, through the portal forums, Mary is contacted by an AT developer, which is interested in knowing her previous R&D results and which one of them is mature to be applied in a commercial product.
Johnson is a product manager of a software industry focused on ATs. He is planning to export their products to other EU countries but the cost and time necessary to navigate the national specificities is preventing him to do it. In a specialised forum, he has read about the ATIS4all collaborative portal. Johnson enters in the portal and finds information on different legislation and funding schemes in other EU member states. Moreover, he decides to create a new Post to discuss with other stakeholders about the best approach to enter in the market of a specific country. An AT dealer with a long experience in that country approaches to Johnson to offer him to distribute his product there.
Josephine is an occupational therapist in an assistive technology centre. In her daily work, she assesses the users’ capabilities to recommend the most suitable AT to meet their goals. Josephine takes advantage of the ATIS4all collaborative portal to find ATs in its search engine, consult users opinions on these products, review the best practices published by other professionals and participate in the forum discussions on hot topics such as the most suitable assessment methodology to measure users’ capabilities.
These are only examples, the portal has many possibilities. You can visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to have an overview of the main benefits for your organisation.