The ‘just-in-time’ (JIT) construct was developed as a business strategy for a major Japanese car company in the 1970s. It has now been applied to many other business models throughout the world. The JIT concept is where something is provided, delivered or done at the right time to maximise efficiency and save resources. For example, by delivering materials to a building site just when they are needed (rather than storing them at the site), thus saving time and money. This article explains how the JIT principles can be applied to the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and how new technological advances such as increased portability, increased connectivity and moves towards smart or artificially intelligent devices are making this possible. The research on consumer level technology as communication aids for people with autism and acquired brain injury are discussed with particular reference to those that explore technology to deliver JIT supports. The literature in this area is reviewed in terms of a proposed taxonomy describing the intended purpose of the JIT support, the modality it is delivered in, the source and the delivery method. In order to illustrate the clinical effectiveness of these JIT supports the authors provide seven vignettes describing their value in functional scenarios. This technology can be life changing for people living with disabilities. As technology advances rapidly so do the options for more immediate and timely methods of delivering and enhancing communication. It is difficult for the research literature to keep up with this technology; however, adopting frameworks and principles such as the JIT concept can allow us to understand the potential for our patients. This article attempts to deliver both a clinically relevant and rigorous explanation of these technologies and quite rightly finishes by highlighting some of the gaps in the areas of practice that could provide even more opportunities for people with no functional verbal speech. 

Repurposing consumer products as a gateway to Just-In-Time communication.
O’Brien A, O’Brien M, Schlosser RW, et al.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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