Exciting New Opportunities for Independence: Generic, “Smart Home” Technology

Live Broadcast Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:30 - 5:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

Webinar Type: Archive
Webinar Code: AT19-WEB05-AR
Webinar Fee: $49

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An explosion of new IoT devices promise to make it possible for individuals with disabilities to have greater control over their own lives. While some of these devices are customized, many others are “generic”, which means that they can be purchased “off-the-shelf”. This often makes them more affordable and easier-to-use.

Generic “smart home” devices can do such things as turn on/off lights and fans, identify who’s at the door and allow entry, control thermostats, make phone calls and more!

This session will focus on defining and learning about generic “smart home” devices as well as exploring funding possibilities.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will learn what is meant by and what is included in the Internet of Things (IoT), generic "smart home" technology.
  2. Participants will be able to identify four "smart home" solutions for accessing lighting, temperature control, safety and entertainment.
  3. Participants will learn who should be part of the team to assess, install and support the integration of "smart home" devices.
  4. Participants will be able to identify three resources for funding "smart home" technology.


Susan Tachau

Chief Executive Officer
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation
Susan Tachau is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), the Commonwealth’s Alternative Financing Program (AFP) as designated by the Assistive Technology Act. PATF is also a state and federally-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Ms. Tachau is the project director for PATF’s Generic Smart Home Technology grant that is funded by PA’s Developmental Disabilities Council. She is also a co-author of the financial education book Cents and $ensibility: A Guide to Money Management. Prior to joining PATF, Ms. Tachau was the policy director at the Institute on Disabilities, Temple University.

Ms. Tachau serves on several Boards of Directors and advisory committees, including the PA ABLE Coalition, National Disability Institute (NDI), the Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council, the Technology Subcommittee of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and HomeWorks, a micro-board that supports individuals with disabilities who are living independently in Montgomery County. Ms. Tachau received a B.A. from Colorado College, an M.A. from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, and a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Colorado College. She is the parent of three adult children, one of whom is a user of assistive technology.
Speaker Financial Relationship Disclosure: No
Speaker Non-Financial Relationship Disclosure: No

Kirby Smith

SunKirb Ideas
Kirby Smith is the founder and President of SunKirb Ideas, LLC. His wife and partner in the business is Suria Nordin. Kirby has over 30 years of experience in technology and customer service. Before starting SunKirb he was the Senior Vice President of Information Technology for PRWT Services, Inc. with responsibility for all technology, compliance and data security for the company and its affiliates.

In July of 2014, his wife, Suria, was injured and sustained a spinal cord injury. He found the technology being offered to improve her life was outdated, expensive, and very limited due to customizations. Suddenly, simple everyday things were challenging. They solved those issues and July 2015 formed a company to bring these solutions to an underserved population. SunKirb Ideas, LLC offers affordable off-the-shelf consumer based solutions through technology to give those with disabilities and unique challenges the ability to be more independent and have more control of their environment. This enabled people to control the lights, temperature, turn on and off alarms, control their doors, control music and entertainment, see and communicate remotely, and control the televisions (including the cable box, TiVo, Netflix and Hulu) using voice commands.
Speaker Financial Relationship Disclosure: Yes
President of SunKirb Ideas, LLC
Speaker Non-Financial Relationship Disclosure: No


Mainstream & Web Accessible Technologies

Target Audience

Accessibility Professionals, AT Professionals, Educators, Family Members, Higher Ed Personnel, Individuals with Disabilities, OTs, PTs, SLPs

Experience Level


Content Area

Basic Communication Process Area

Continuing Education Credits

For Satisfactory Completion and Continuing Education information, please visit: ATIA Online Education CEUs

Number of hours: 1.5
Number of IACET CEUs: 0.2

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