Phone calls for deaf people are a step closer

23 04 2009

Ofcom are carrying out a comprehensive review of telecommunications services for deaf people. Hopefully this will pave the way for opening up possibilities of implementing new and more efficient and suitable telephone systems that will work with the existing digital networks in the UK. I went to a consultation meeting with Ofcom, along with two other deaf people. The three of us had used captioned telephony and Typetalk, and explained the pros and cons of each service.

The Guardian reports upon the TAG campaign to have a modern telephone service for deaf people in the UK, see HERE for the full article.

It’s very frustrating when you can’t hear on the phone and your option is to get an analogue line installed so that a minicom or Typetalk can function, or use an interpreter to relay your call via an ordinary telephone. I will be be so pleased to be able to, without a second thought, pick up the phone and transfer an incoming call to a colleague, or make a phone call to a number that is likely to have a number of automated options to choose from such as my bank, or make a call without worrying whether the hearing person at the other end will hang up on me or not.

Changing track slightly, a new possibility has emerged. A new phone was launched last week by Polycom, the VWX 1500 business media phone. This phone is interesting as it has IP capabilities, it is able to simultaneously stream high quality audio and video – a potential winner for deaf people. It has a flashing light on the top right corner of the phone and it is possible to save conversations for later recall.

Polycom have a roadshow and will be in London on 14 and 15 May.

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5 responses

23 04 2009
Jeremy Finch

Looks good but have you seen Significant’s new wire free videophone that is connected to the wireless network. It was launched at the City Lit’s Deaf Day exhibition and is truly cool! It is like a book, weighs the same as a book and I saw someone talking to America on one of those without any wires in mid air. It was truly stunning and lovely design. I have checked their website but nothing on it yet:(

24 04 2009
Frances Dobson

There are a number of features on the Polycom VVX 1500 PBX/IP phone that interest me as a professional stenographer and lipspeaker. The big one is it time-stamps video and audio recording on an IP platform and that can be archived and retrieved on demand. It has been developed in a way that has considered the needs of deaf people and will not interfere with heaing aids. It has visual indicators if you have a video or voice mail and shows you how many. I have ordered a couple of phones for starters so that I can telework remotely with the public services. This phone is a real dream come true for STTRs, Captioners, court reporters, realtime voice writers, lipspeakers and interpreters. Stenographers have all been waiting for technology to catch up with what the possiblities are for remote unified communication. Our software can handle integration of video. We have audio already, but this is HD audio. This phone can stream content and interact with IP wireless devices and remote fixed HD video conferencing devices for unified interactive multipoint communication, the exciting bit is it is works on a Web 2 interactive platform, so is ready for interactive realtime applications and content that can be streamed to websites via a secure bridge and can interact with big screen multipoint video conferencing systems. Video phones are not new, but what this one can do is unique and will mean a lot of new services and products for deaf and hearing people available on a scale and at a price that will be make it a very disruptive technology.

24 04 2009
funnyoldlife

Jeremy – Is this the VPAD? I tried that one before christmas, see https://funnyoldlife.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/telephony-campaign-parliamentary-reception/
If it’s not the VPAD, can you tell us what it’s called?

25 04 2009
Jerry

It looks a bit like that one but it is in white! Maybe it is the same but in a different colour. Was it good when you saw it? Please let me know as I plan to harass my manager to get one for me under the access to work system.
Jeremy

25 04 2009
funnyoldlife

Yes, I thought it was super! It’s great for signing. If you want to try it, I think Significan’t won’t mind you visiting their office and trying it out for yourself. They are based in Blackheath, London.
http://www.signvideo.co.uk/

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