Department of Commerce Selects the VPAD+ for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees

5 02 2009

WiFi videophone VPAD+ selected as workplace accommodation for deaf and hard of hearing employees at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Videophone will enable employees who use sign language users to access video relay services for telephone calls.

Rockville, MD (PRWEB) February 4, 2009 — The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has chosen the VPAD+ as the videophone of choice for its deaf and hard of hearing employees. The VPAD+ is a lightweight, standalone VOIP videophone with a 10.2″ touchscreen monitor, WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities and enables sign language users to place phone calls by videoconferencing with interpreters specially trained to relay phone conversations.

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This is another resounding endorsement from the Federal Government

After reviewing available options in the marketplace, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Taskforce decided that the VPAD+ was the most impressive technology and best met the agency’s needs. The VPAD+ offers customized advantages that will improve communication with coworkers and boost workplace productivity.

Viable, a deaf-owned and deaf-operated provider of video relay services (VRS), developed the VPAD+ so deaf and hard of hearing people could access the telephone system with forward-looking technology. The VPAD+ is interoperable with 10-digit telephone numbers and has USB ports for Bluetooth-enabled headsets, providing hard of hearing people with amplification options.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Taskforce at the Department of Commerce evaluated videophones from several VRS providers and ultimately selected the VPAD+. This DOC decision marks the second Federal-level approval for the VPAD+ within a span of a week. On January 29, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) approved the VPAD+ for distribution, at no cost, to deaf and hard of hearing Federal employees who work for the Department of Defense or any of the 65 CAP partner agencies (read the announcement here).

“This is another resounding endorsement from the Federal Government,” said Shane Feldman, who manages government relations for Viable. “After reviewing available options in the marketplace, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Taskforce decided that the VPAD+ was the most impressive technology and best met the agency’s needs. The VPAD+ offers customized advantages that will improve communication with coworkers and boost workplace productivity.”

Federal employees and IT technicians interested in the VPAD+ may contact with questions or see whether their agency is a CAP member at CAP’s website. Specifications, video clips, and further information on the VPAD+ are available at Viable’s VPAD+ product page.

About Viable, Inc.
Viable develops videophones and provides next-generation video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing persons, opening them to a world of communication possibilities. Founded in 2006, Viable is a private, deaf-owned company, and many employees are deaf and hard of hearing and are personally vested in the innovation and development of the company’s products and services. Visit for further information.

About Telecommunications Relay Services
Mandated by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, telecommunications relay services (TRS) enables individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to achieve functional equivalence by accessing telephone systems to place or receive calls through an intermediary known as a relay operator or relay interpreter. Emergent IP technology has given rise to video-based solutions, which are known as video relay services (VRS). VRS options include using a webcam or a videophone to connect to a video relay interpreter, and allow deaf and hard of hearing callers for whom sign language is native to fully achieve the ideal of functional equivalence.


(Utah) Sorenson Communications Now Accepting Applications for the SVRS Interpreter Education Program Award of Excellence

16 01 2009

News from Business Wire

Thursday, January 15, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY – (Business Wire) Sorenson Communications®, the nation’s leading provider of Video Relay Services (VRS) for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, today announced it is accepting applications for the 2009 Sorenson VRS® (SVRS) Interpreter Education Program (IEP) Award of Excellence. The award, now in its second year, recognizes training programs that incorporate VRS tracks into their curriculum and continually improve their programs in response to the broadening communication needs of the deaf community.


Last fall, at the 2008 Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT), Sorenson Communications presented Western Oregon University’s (WOU) ASL/English Interpreting Program with the award. The honor recognized WOU’s commitment to the deaf community as evidenced by efforts to strengthen and incorporate VRS into its programs.

Sorenson Communications, the world’s largest employer of sign language interpreters, will present the 2009 SVRS IEP Award of Excellence to one or two IEPs that meet or exceed specific criteria. The winning programs will be awarded $10,000 each, to be reinvested in curriculum and training materials to strengthen existing programs. This year’s award winner or winners will be announced in April 2009. Travel costs will also be awarded for two faculty members from the winning program to attend the 2010 Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT), to be held in San Antonio.

Chris Wakeland, Vice President of Interpreting for Sorenson Communications, notes, “The SVRS IEP Award of Excellence recognizes exceptional IEPs, those that provide extraordinary curriculum, learning, and mentoring opportunities for their students. These IEPs also are monitoring graduates’ certification and employment levels, then enhancing curriculum so that the time between graduation and when graduates enter the workforce is reduced.”

Wakeland explains that award eligibility criteria have been designed to target (and encourage) such programs from among the approximate 150 IEPs nationwide. Criteria will apply to the graduating class of 2008, which will be judged in the following categories:

  • VRS tracks offered
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Supervised practicum opportunities
  • Accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) or an initiative to track accreditation
  • Intended use of award funds
  • The number of graduates that have either NAD-RID-National Certification tested or have received state quality assurance screening or certification at an advanced or higher level within six months of program completion
  • The number of graduates gainfully employed in the field of interpreting by Nov. 1, 2008, following graduation

The deadline for this year’s award is March 6, 2009. Eligibility requirements and application information for this year’s SVRS IEP Award of Excellence can be accessed at

About Sorenson Communications

Sorenson Communications ( is a provider of industry-leading communications services and products. The company’s offerings include Sorenson Video Relay Service® (SVRS), the highest-quality video interpreting service; the Sorenson (VP-100® and VP-200®) videophones; and Sorenson IP Relay (SIPRelay), enabling text-to-speech relay communication.



Sorenson Communications
Ann Bardsley, 801-287-9400

Copyright © 2008 Business Wire. All rights reserved

(New York) LifeLinks(TM) Unveils ADA/Liability Shield Software/Interpreter Package

15 01 2009

News from Marketwatch

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

 in Response to Growing Language Discrimination Litigation & Tool strengthens ADA and HIPAA compliance for business

NEW YORK, — Responding to a growing trend in U.S. legislative and judicial interpretations regarding communications related discrimination, LifeLinks(TM), a leading provider of video remote interpreting and American sign language video relay services, today unveiled an new, low cost services package – LifeLinks ADA/Liability Shield – to assist businesses in avoiding litigation and remaining compliant with both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Recent court decisions have increasingly sided with clients and patients when requested language services were not provided. Rulings have focused on the lack of effective communications, consequent unequal participation in the process, and hence discriminatory treatment for which punitive damages have been awarded. Just such a case was reported January 12 by the American Medical Association involving a New Jersey physician who confronts a $400,000 damage award not covered by traditional malpractice insurance.
The new LifeLinks(TM) package retails for $99.00 and consists of connectivity software that can be installed immediately; all that is needed is a webcam. Through a single click of a mouse, businesses have instant face to face video access with certified interpreters and sign language specialists. There is no monthly minimum usage charge. Clients merely pay for time used for language interpretation and sign language services at a competitive rate.
“The art and science of communications can be tricky under any circumstance. Given emerging social sensitivities and legal requirements, clarity and full comprehension are essential for proper customer/patient care and must be available on a full time basis as needed. We believe today’s offering is the most cost effective rendering on the market and will dramatically reduce liability exposure while fostering superior client/patient service and care. Given current legal trends and the level of damage awards, protective measures by business are imperative and simply smart,” said Wesley N. Waite, Sr., Chief Operating Officer, LifeLinks(TM).
Headquartered in New York, LifeLinks(TM) is a privately held on-demand video interpreting and relay service, offering live translation in major foreign languages as well as sign language for the hearing impaired. Remote video interpreting and relay is handled through world-class certified interpreters, state-of-the-art videophone technology, and high speed wireless internet connectivity offering cost effective and mobile solutions for communications needs. For more information on LifeLinks(TM) see or call toll free 866-454-3354.
SOURCE: LifeLinks
For LifeLinks
Bob Leahy, 202-550-4294

Copyright Business Wire 2009