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R3. Industry-Profile Project: "Facilitating A/T Industry Innovation through Focused Market Research"

 

Steve Bauer
Steve Bauer

Manufacturers use market research to identify needs and business opportunities; specify product requirements; evaluate product concepts; gauge market potential and estimate price points and purchase intent. Manufacturers obtain their market data from public sources (e.g. federal studies, trade publications, academic publications); by querying their marketing and sales workforce; by contracting with market research firms or by conducting their own research. Federal agencies provide public support for research and development initiatives through grant-based programs; reflecting each agency's conception of which market market needs are most significant.

With a few notable exceptions, publicly available disability market data is incomplete; lacks specificity; is difficult to obtain; or is difficult to interpret. Assistive technology manufacturers must often rely solely upon the experience and intuition of their management, marketing and sales workforce to identify unmet needs and business opportunities. Similarly, their technical workforce must conceive of and develop technical solutions for poorly specified customer needs. Public agencies may have a fragmentary basis upon which to base their grant solicitations.

Over the five year grant cycle, the T2RERC will conduct primary and secondary market research for five assistive technology industries and compile this research into "Industry Profiles." Industry profiles provided to a representative sample of assistive technology manufacturers, and the impact of this market research on new product development, product refinement, grant development, strategic and business planning; reference and other impacts as determined through the evaluation process. Industry Profiles will be provided to federal agencies and its impact on grant solictations, as a reference, and other uses determined.

Investigators:

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Steve Bauer, T2RERC Principal Investigator

External Advisor:

Dr. Madelyn Bryant McIntire
Director, Accessible Technology Group
Microsoft; One Microsoft Way; Redmond, WA 98052

Project Staff:

Douglas Usiak, Consumer Research Specialist
Jennifer Flagg, Market Analyst

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