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Norman Williams Christian Vogler Technology Access Program Gallaudet University TDI 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Norman Williams Christian Vogler Technology Access Program Gallaudet University TDI 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Norman Williams Christian Vogler Technology Access Program Gallaudet University TDI 2011

2 Purpose of this Presentation Explain how current videophones for deaf people work. Understand why off-the-shelf videophones are of interest to us and the FCC. How we could best use off-the-shelf videophones with VRS. Get feedback from an audience like you.

3 Current Videophones for the Deaf Adapted to specific needs of the deaf: Passing voice numbers to VRS. External flashers on some VPs. Strong visual alerts on some VPs. Good low light image quality and smooth movements on most VPs. The H.323 standard is used between VRS companies. Works very well.

4 Issues with Current Videophones for the Deaf Not all features are supported between videophones. Examples: VP200 does not display phone number from some non-Sorenson devices. Video mail recordings get instantly disconnected from some devices. Many VPs require a technician to install them at home or work. Using a VRS company other than the default requires fingerspelling voice numbers. Many VPs cant reach generic SIP videophones used by hearing people and by deaf people outside of the US.

5 Why is the FCC Interested? Many of us have multiple VRS-supplied phones, but use only one or two. This costs a lot of money. FCC wants to reduce VRS R&D and VP development costs. VRS companies want to keep features proprietary to keep the users there. Such as: Caller id name not shared with different devices. Contacts list are not exportable to other devices. Allow standard workplace videophones (e.g., Cisco) to be used.

6 Why is the FCC Interested? May reduce technical support for installing at home or work if SIP videophones have firewall support (plug and play). Usually do not need to fiddle with firewall or home router. Cost savings. Allow signing hearing people to make video calls to deaf users to reduce VRS usage, also saves on costs.

7 Why Should We Be Interested? The biggest advantage of interoperable off-the-shelf technology: Deaf people could make and receive VRS calls from anywhere to anywhere, at any time, with any equipment. Hearing people do this all the time – e.g., when they borrow a phone on-site.

8 Deaf Needs We now discuss specific needs of deaf videophone users that may be required in off-the-shelf phones. If we missed something, please raise the topic at the end of the presentation, and discuss.

9 Incoming Call Alerts House-wide flashing signal via RJ11 jack on device, which effectively alerts a deaf person anywhere in their home, along with their doorbell and fire alarm alerting device: Sorenson VP200 Purple MVP Viable VPAD Functionally equivalent to what hearing people have available

10 Incoming Call Alerts Local flashing via USB or audio output, but not integrated with house-wide alerting: ZVRS Z340 Software based computer such as Purple P3 Works only if the user sees the device, not in other room Not functionally equivalent. Hearing people can hear ringing in a different room, while deaf users cannot. Sound based alerting devices are not recommended, due to false alarms, such as TV sounds nearby, or other noises that are difficult to find and eliminate by deaf users.

11 Passing Voice Numbers Many VRS-provided VPs offer quick passing of voice numbers that the CA should dial, via a remote or keypad We need this to be interoperable with generic videophones. Otherwise, deaf users need to fingerspell voice phone numbers to CAs, and cannot use their phone directory.

12 Passing Voice Numbers Users phone directories are not interoperable with other VRS, but they are an important tool. If we use SIP technology on generic videophones, a standard way of passing voice number to VRS could be like this in the generic phone book: However, H.323 is still the VRS provided videophone protocol standard.

13 Bypassing Firewalls Some VRS products do work well with firewalls but require using the VRS providers servers. With a generic videophone solution, we need an outside server to assist with firewall workarounds. Who will host the server?

14 Camera Quality Some generic videophones provide low frames per second when used at night with no ceiling lights, due to camera limitations. This will cause ineffective communication. VRS users have to carefully select their camera. We need easy ways to identify what cameras are good for VRS use.

15 Non-Traditional VRS Calls Convo Anywhere is a nice way to access VRS on most computers that have a webcam and Flash player. It is similar to borrowing someones cellphone for a call. But it is not functionally equivalent: It does not allow incoming calls, and also does not support direct calls to videophones yet. iChat based (such as Purple and Convo) work well on Mac computers without needing to install software. Does not support direct calls to videophones. Neither can alert users to incoming calls if they are not in front of the computer.

16 Recommend a New Video Call Standard The SIP protocol should be used for better interoperability. Most VRS companies already use SIP between their custom devices and their servers. SIP would allow many off-the-shelf videophones and software products to call each other, as stated before, similar to: SIP allows multiple videophones to ring at the same time. Much needed in homes - one number supports multiple videophones similar to cordless phones at home.

17 FCC Rulings May Impact Us VPs are surprisingly expensive – they have been subsidized by interpreting minutes so far Most of us will use software instead of VP devices if: The FCC does not permit VRS companies to offer or sell VPs at deep discounts to deaf users. Then many of us may have to buy from local stores or online. The FCC does not establish voucher programs to pay $600 or more devices. The quality of calls can become degraded on cheaper devices, yet even these are still much more expensive than hearing users cordless phones.

18 FCC Actions Needed Define one minimum standard for interoperability, such as the SIP protocol, and all other parameters such as video codecs, resolution, etc. Without this, devices will not connect to one another. Establish vendor certification that meets deaf needs (i.e. low light camera, external flashing, etc). If videophones or webcams are sold at stores, either the store must allow testing on-site, or offer a full refund after testing at home. Many stores currently charge a restocking fee. Arrange purchase vouchers for videophones, so that costs to deaf users are similar to cordless phones ($30), for fairness and functional equivalence. Resolve issue of who hosts servers for bypassing firewalls.

19 Acknowledgment The contents of this presentation were developed with funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, grant number H133E (RERC on Telecommunications Access). However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

20 Questions? Feel free to discuss.


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