ATIA 2009 Conference Wrap-up Story
January 28 - 31, 2009
Caribe Royale All-Suites Resort & Convention Center
More than 2,200 representatives from all segments of the assistive technology (AT) industry including consumers, practioners, AT manufacturers and service providers, government agencies, and corporations gathered together for the 10th annual ATIA conference on January 28 – 31, 2009 at the Caribe Royale All-Suites Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The purpose of the conference was to showcase the latest AT innovations, and provide education on best practices and networking opportunities with leading AT experts from around the world. International speakers and attendees came from countries as far afield as Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Thailand, and Vanuatu. The gathered community enjoyed an exceptional three and a half days of education, solution sharing and peer networking.
ATIA would like to thank the 2009 conference partners and sponsors for their assistance and support. For a complete list of sponsors and conference partners please visit: http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/Index.cfm?pageID=3298
The conference kicked off on Wednesday, January 28 with the opening of two exhibit halls showcasing products and services from 125 companies. For a complete list of exhibitors please visit: http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3478
The Exhibit Halls, with more than 225 booths, was the biggest in ATIA’s ten year history and showcased products from around the world. Highlights in the Exhibit hall included the first “talking signs” exhibit hall guide with Durateq hand held devices featuring a demonstration of handheld captioning and audio description on DURATEQ ATV provided by ATIA exhibitor and member, Softeq Development Corporation (www.softeq.com) and live talking radio station interviews by Michael Lauf, content director for SAMNet and station manager for SAMNet Radio. SAMNet Radio is sponsored by ATIA exhibitor and member Serotek (www.serotek.com).
Many companies presented exciting new products including Saltillo’s Alt Chat and Audio Access from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). For a complete set of new product listings please visit: http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3550
Educational sessions began early on Thursday January 29 and covered a broad spectrum across the fourteen content strands: AAC, AT Act Programs, Blindness/Low Vision, Cognitive Disabilities, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Higher Education, Learning Disabilities, Pass It On national AT Reuse Center, Policy, Post-Secondary Education/Transition, Positioning/Mobility, Research and Professional Development, Severe Multiple Disabilities, Vendor and Workplace/Transition. There was a specialized content area for Accessible Instructional Materials/NIMAS/DAISY sessions. There were over 300 educational sessions including hands-on labs sponsored by Adobe, Intel Health, Microsoft and Apple. Additional product demonstrations were available in the AT Educational Theater, sponsored by Microsoft. All educational sessions were eligible for Continuing Education Units at no extra charge provided in conjunction with the AAC Institute.
At lunch on Thursday, Ben Foss, Research Manager from Intel discussed the Intel Health group--a division of Intel that is passionate about how technology can improve healthcare worldwide as well as creating assistive devices aimed at improving independent living. Intel Health is currently working on exciting new technologies in the world of assistive technology.
Sessions continued throughout the day. The Exhibit Hall was open in the morning and afternoon to allow attendees to browse and discuss new releases with vendors. Highlights on Thursday afternoon were the poster sessions featuring eleven presenters from universities around the world including the Assistive Technology Oral History Project presented by Chauncy Rucker, Editor, ConnSENSE Bulletin and Dave Edyburn, Professor, Department of Special Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Thursday evening was busy for attendees who could attend member-sponsored evening entertainments.
The educational sessions and Exhibit Hall continued on Friday. ATIA members held their annual general meeting. Takashi Yamashita, Optelec CEO and ATIA Board President, hosted the meeting after thanking outgoing President Jim Halliday for his service to ATIA and the AT industry. Two new board members, Daniel Hubbell from Microsoft and Vinnie Rappa from Humanware as well as one returning board member, Dan Weirich from GW Micro, were elected to the board.
At lunch on Friday, Larry Waldman, Program Manager, from Microsoft and George Kerscher, Secretary General, DAISY Consortium, previewed “Save as DAISY”, an exciting second release of the accessibility feature within Microsoft Office products. Documents can be translated to the DAISY format and can be read by DAISY reading systems. Microsoft provided a copy of the new product add-in on the conference proceedings DVD which every attendee received.
In the evening, ATIA hosted a 10th Anniversary Reception for all attendees, exhibitors and ATIA members. Guests from the ATIA Leadership Forum on Accessibility were also present. David Dikter, ATIA Executive Director, hosted the event with Jim Halliday and Takashi Yamashita from the ATIA Board. There were presentations and prizes from sponsors throughout the evening.
David Dikter announced the ATIA AT Video YouTube Contest: Broadcast Assistive Technology as part of the ATIA 10th anniversary celebrations. ATIA invites individuals to create a short video that presents an inspiring story about how assistive technology has helped change the life of an individual with a disability and helped empower to change their world. Prizes being awarded include an expenses-paid trip to ATIA 2009 Chicago, $400 gift certificates and complimentary registrations. For more details, visit http://www.atia.com/youtubecontest
The Exhibit Halls were open to the public at no charge during Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Hundreds of local attendees came to see the latest and greatest AT products and services showcased. Educational sessions continued through Saturday noon when the conference officially closed.
NEXT ATIA CONFERENCES
ATIA 2009 Chicago – ATIA’s first ever Chicago Conference – will be held on October 28-31, 2009 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center.
ATIA 2010 Orlando will be held on January 27-30, 2010 at the Caribe Royale All-Suites Resort & Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.
Continue to visit the ATIA web site as further information regarding ATIA 2009 Chicago and ATIA 2010 Orlando events as it becomes available. For more details on ATIA events or ATIA activities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.