National Federation of the Blind Conference Signals Growing Excitement for Aira

Michael Dabney
Jul 16, 2016 · 5 min read

As Aira reaches out across the country to key organizations and other venues serving the blind, one theme continues to emerge: there is both a growing desire and excitement among these audiences for Aira technology and services, thanks in many ways to the support the company continues to receive from such great organizations and their members.

The latest example is Aira´s recent product demonstrations at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) — the largest organization of the blind in America with over 50,000 members — where Aira´s technology and upcoming Explorer Launch was met with an especially high level of interest and enthusiasm, including among NFB leaders and other members who had the opportunity to try out the Aira service at the event.

Suman and the Aira team share a light moment with NFB members and visitors at the conference.

Suman Kanuganti, Aira Co-Founder and CEO, said, “I want to personally thank the National Convention for such an amazing event including NFB President Mark Riccobono for inviting Aira to conduct four scheduled presentations, and for accommodating an additional presentation slot for us on Sunday due to multiple requests from users. It was gratifying for the Aira team to talk and work with so many NFB members, and we learned so much through our interactions. We conducted a total of 70 individual trials at the convention. Aira continues to set a high bar for quality of service and I am glad to see that users at the convention were repeatedly amazed. ¨

Suman with NFB President, Mark Riccobono

A few users, he said, even shed tears and told him they got goose bumps. Aira´s enthusiastic reception at NFB will further motivate the company to continue to build a strong platform, push for exceptional quality of service and establish new business paradigms.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the NFB, said, “Aira has made a real commitment to building innovative technological solutions based on the real experience of blind people. Their deep engagement in our convention — the largest gathering of the blind in the world — demonstrates their desire to work closely with blind people to make their products the best they can be. I look forward to building on our relationship to innovate tools to further power our mission of full integration of the blind into society on terms of equality and to further enhance blind people living the lives we want.¨

NFB board members were among those who not only tried the service, but were ¨wowed by it.¨ Mark Riccobono, and the previous NFB President, Mark Maurer, also offered helpful advice to Aira. The company is looking forward to continued support and collaboration with NFB and working with its staff in the future.

¨At the NFB Convention, you heard the words ´life changing´ over and over from users describing Aira´s technology and services.¨ — Scott Minick, Aira Executive Chairman

Conference visitors learn more about Aira services through on-site beta trials and discussions.

Scott Minick, Aira Executive Chairman, echoes Suman´s thoughts on the conference, who attended the convention with Suman and other members of the Aira team, including Sayamon Riddang, Austin Marron, Erin Cater, Mac Villarreal, and Michael Hingson — said, ¨The reception was incredible. In Aira presentations and demonstrations, you heard the words ´life changing´ over and over from users describing Aira´s technology and services. It is gratifying to see how Aira has the potential to make an important difference in people’s lives,” added Scott, “and we look forward to working with such key organizations and individuals to develop our product.”

´Pushing the Bar Higher´

Such positive feedback is testament to the feelings that other users have frequently expressed regarding Aira´s capability to enhance quality of life like never before for blind persons. It is also why Aira desires ¨to continue to push the bar higher¨ to make its product even better for users, says Suman. ¨Continually refining our technology and making Aira accessible and reliable still remains critical,¨ he emphasizes.

Josh Wolfe, Aira Investor and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lux Capital, adds: ¨Aira´s key goal is a distinctive reputation of credibility — a company that is careful not to overpromise but strong on over-delivering on expectations.”

Working with users is especially important for Aira´s growth as the company prepares for its Explorer Launch, set for late this year, says Manuel Villarreal, Aira’s employee who focuses on User Engagement. Since participating in the NFB conference, Aira opened its Explorer Program for 200 users. ¨In the program, we are seeking those who can help us further test and enhance the product while seeking the Aira service — those having appropriate mobility and technical skills¨ he says. ¨Many potential Explorers were signed up at the convention after their trial with the Aira service. These are the enthusiasts who see the great potential of Aira and want to be early adopters.¨

Aira Scientific Advisory Board member, Michael Hingson (foreground) at the NFB convention.

Says Michael Hingson, Aira Scientific Advisory Board Member: ¨Watching the excitement about Aira grow at the recent NFB convention, I too am excited about Aira’s potential contributions to the future strides toward independence of all blind persons.”

Note: Below, check out the video featuring Maureen of ¨BreakingBlind¨ as she tries Aira´s service for the first time at the NFB conference — an experience she describes as ¨amazing.¨

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