History of IDEAL Group, Inc. and its Subsidiary Companies
Updated on August 1, 2013
Individuals with Disabilities Enabling Advocacy Group (IDEAL) Group was incorporated, as a not-for-profit organization, in 1991. IDEAL’s business objective was to facilitate and support the hiring of core-competent individuals with disabilities by AT&T.
Today, there are chapters of IDEAL at AT&T http://www.att.com/, Lucent Technologies (now Alcatel-Lucent) http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/wps/portal, NCR Corporation http://ncr.com, Avaya http://avaya.com and Teradata http://www.teradata.com/t/.
In 1989, Darren Kall, distinguished member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Labs (currently senior director global experience design at LexisNexis) formed what came to be known as AT&T’s Employee Technical Advisory Panel (ETAP). When Darren joined AT&T in 1988, he discovered that designing accessible products and services was not a unified effort across the company. While AT&T had advisory groups, they were primarily focused on accessibility policy, not technology.
In 1990, Darren organized a small group of AT&T employees, many of whom were engineers with disabilities, interested in promoting the hiring of core-competent individuals with disabilities. Founding members of the group included Betsy Dixon, Manager, Workforce Diversity and Inclusion at AT&T (still holds that position), Jim Kutsch, VP, Computing & Network Services at AT&T Universal Card Services, (currently President and CEO at The Seeing Eye and Chairman at National Industries for the Blind) and Steve Jacobs, Chairman, AT&T Project Freedom (Past President of IDEAL at NCR Corporation and Currently President of IDEAL Group, Inc.).
Individuals with Disabilities Enabling Advocacy Group (IDEAL) at AT&T was established and incorporated in New Jersey, as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. IDEAL operated as an all volunteer, employee led, organization focused on hiring, mentoring, supporting and paving the way to promoting AT&T employees with disabilities.
IDEAL's Objectives Were To:
Synthesize diverse thinking into innovative actions that yield customer benefits and competitive advantage in the area of designing accessible telecommunications products and services;
Develop the professional and business skills of AT&T employees;
Act as involved community citizens around the world; and,
Provide educational leadership in support of better understanding the diverse ethnic and cultural aspects of conducting business globally.
In September of 1995 AT&T announced that it was tri-vesting and restructuring into three separate companies: a services company retaining the AT&T name; a products and systems company (later named Lucent Technologies) and a computer company (which reassumed the NCR name). Lucent was spun off from AT&T in October 1996 and NCR in December of 1996 and Jacobs was named President of IDEAL. In 1999, a new not-for-profit corporation was formed under the name "IDEAL at NCR." IDEAL at NCR focused on working with NCR engineers to design and develop accessible financial/retail products and services including point-of-sale devices, automated teller machines, and public-facing kiosks and many other types of interactive transaction machines.
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At the end of December, 2002, after 23 years of service, Jacobs retired from NCR and was granted permission to spin-off IDEAL at NCR Corporation (not-for-profit) into IDEAL Group, Inc. (for profit). Currently, IDEAL Group serves as the parent to four information and communications technology companies. They are as follows:
Contect Discovery, Inc.
Established in 2006, Context Discovery designs and develops advanced software products to assist learners and knowledge workers with instant access to crucial information. Context Discovery's suite of products helps individuals and organizations find essential facts and identify relevant information often buried within documents. Context Discovery's mission is simple: no matter what you are reading, they will provide you with an instant view of key content, in the context of your interests. Demonstrations of Context Discovery solutions may be found by clicking on the following link: http://knowledge-discovery.solutions/demonstrations/
InftyReader Group, Inc.
Established in March, 2007, InftyReader Group offers a sophisticated optical character recognition application that is used by thousands of universities around the world to recognize, convert, and enable the editing of math documents into accessible formats in support of students with print disabilities. Converted formats include LaTeX, MathML, Human Readable TeX, and Word XML. You Tube Videos of InftyReader in Action!!
Established in June, 2008, EasyCC is a telecom company that provides real-time text-streaming products, services, and infrastructures. EasyCC's cost-effective offerings are accessible on any platform, including mobile devices. EasyCC’s infrastructure provides the ability to generate captions using advanced speech recognition technology... while enabling the correction of misinterpreted and misspelled words in real-time. EasyCC Caption Correction System Explained
Established in January, 2009, Apps4Android is the world’s largest developer of Android applications designed in support of individuals with disabilities with more than 13 million installations. Apps4android apps are being used on 5,587 different model devices made by 73 wireless device manufacturers, distributed by 544 wireless service providers in 213 countries.
Today, IDEAL Group, along with its subsidiary companies, continue to enhance the independence, quality-of-life, employability, and quality-of-education for millions of individuals with disabilities from around the world.