The Wireless Inclusive RERC (WIT RERC) has four advisory groups:
- Consumer Advisory Network
- Advisory Board
- Advisory RERC Allies
- Technical experts.
Project directors collaborate with the memberships of these advisory groups regarding research, development and training efforts on how to reach optimum solutions for their project goals. These discussions and feedback improve and advance our knowledge on accessibility and technology trends and changes in the wireless industry. Input also serve as an opportunity for strategic planning and revisions on an ongoing basis to all the projects.
Consumer Advisory Network
Since its origin in 2001, the team has engaged people with disabilities in research and development by expanding and refining a research “portal” into the needs of people with disabilities for wireless technologies. This portal is the Consumer Advisory Network (CAN), a nationwide sample of over 1,600 individuals with disabilities. CAN members represent a broad spectrum of vision, hearing, dexterity/mobility, intellectual/cognitive, and those with communication difficulties. It continues to expand to reflect more fully the diverse demographic characteristics of the U.S. population with disabilities, including individuals with developmental disabilities, those for whom English is a second language (e.g. ASL), minority groups and transition-aged youth. CAN members are frequently called upon to provide insights and feedback on emerging issues of use, usability, needs, and wants related to wireless technologies. They often help us with training and outreach initiatives. Insights from CAN members have formed the empirical basis for reports, presentations, and regulatory filings produced by the WIT RERC, and also contribute directly to proposed projects. CAN members participate in surveys including the cornerstone Survey of User Needs for Wireless Technologies (SUN), which has been repeated at regular intervals to provide a longitudinal view of changes in access and use of wireless technologies by people with disabilities.
Since 2001 an Advisory Board has existed to provide guidance and feedback on proposed and completed activities. Membership reflects the technology and disability landscape. Our advisory board is composed of government, wireless manufacturers and trade associations, consumer disability groups, and others. The Advisory Board commitment is to 1) ensure relevance of activities, 2) promote diffusion of innovative technologies generated or prototyped for people with disabilities, and 3) provide insight into trends and future directions for wireless technologies. The Board meets annually, with additional communications, to assist in strategic planning and to review overall progress. Members illuminate opportunities for greater coordination of activities with industry. Government and academic members share insights and opportunities that promote accessibility solutions for people with disabilities. 2016-2021 membership includes industry partners who assist activities of the WIT RERC in four ways: 1) provide insight into trends that signify future directions for wireless technologies, 2) provide us with valuable feedback on research, development, and knowledge translation activities, 3) provide material resources (devices, software, software development kits) and technical support for RERC development efforts if need, and 4) establish partnership agreements for user research or to pursue transfer and commercialization of promising technology applications.
- Bill Belt - Senior Director, Standards Development & Technology Policy, Momentum Dynamics
- David Dougall - Director, Accessibility and Sustainability, BlackBerry Limited
- David J. Dzumba - Senior Manager, Accessibility, Regulatory Affairs, Microsoft
- Avalyn Jackson - Lead Talent Acquisition Manager, AT&T
- Elizabeth Vega - Associate Vice President, UX Research & Accessibility, Tracfone Wireless, Inc.
Advisory RERC Allies
RERC Allies are composed of other RERC’s also working to create and leverage mutual work in the technology and disability sphere. As in the past we leverage and share work to enrich our respective R&D activities (e.g. CAN members, product/prototype development, outreach and survey data). Membership will expand as needed to take advantage of growth areas for the delivery of accessible technologies to people with disabilities.
- John Brabyn, Ph.D. - Director, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Low Vision and Blindness, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute
- Gregg C. Vanderheiden, Ph.D. - Director, Trace Center, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access
Several professionals have signed on to serve as collaborators on proposed projects/tasks. These technical experts range from rich backgrounds in emergency communications, working with diverse disability communities, developers and manufacturers.