Sorenson Communications Supports Term Extension of FCC Chairman Martin

[April 25, 2006] 

Sorenson Communications Supports Term Extension of FCC Chairman Martin

SALT LAKE CITY –(Business Wire)– April 25, 2006 — Sorenson Communications, the nation's leading provider of video relay services (VRS) and equipment for the deaf community, applauds President Bush's intent to nominate Kevin Martin as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission for an additional five-year term, which would continue on until June 30, 2011.

Ron Burdett, vice president of community relations for Sorenson Communications, commented on the upcoming nomination:

"Re-nominating Kevin Martin for an additional term as chairman of the FCC is a highly commendable action by President Bush. As chairman of the FCC, Kevin Martin has drastically and positively altered the landscape of relay communications for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Further, he has also been a strong advocate for guaranteeing public safety, particularly in ensuring the availability of E911 Emergency Services for all Americans. We have welcomed his influence in our industry and look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Martin on the critical issues facing the deaf and hard-of-hearing as we move forward."

Sorenson Communications continues to support the FCC and Chairman Martin on efforts to break down communication barriers. Chairman Martin's willingness to meet with deaf community leaders on key issues and support of industry issues has ushered in a new era of communications for the 28 million deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in America.

(C) 2006 Sorenson Communications. All products and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/04/25/1609188.htm

GoAmerica and Nordia Announce Exclusive Agreement for Multi-Vendor California Relay Services

Press Release Source: GoAmerica, Inc.

GoAmerica(R) and Nordia Announce Exclusive Agreement for Multi-Vendor California Relay Services

Tuesday April 25, 2006

i711.com Becomes Exclusive IP-based Relay Solution for Nordia's California Relay Contract
HACKENSACK, N.J., April 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — GoAmerica, Inc. (Nasdaq: GOAM – News), a leading provider of accessible communications services for the Deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled communities, announced today that its i711.com(TM) service has been chosen as the exclusive IP-based relay service for Nordia's California Relay Services (CRS) contract.

i711.com offers text-based TRS (telecommunications relay service) calling via the Internet, often called "IP relay". Deaf callers use a Web-enabled computer or wireless handheld device to place calls, which are connected to a relay operator. The relay operator calls the voice number and then verbally speaks the text message typed by the Deaf caller to the hearing recipient and types the hearing party's responses back to the Deaf party.

Nordia, one of three state contract holders that provide relay services to the state of California, previously offered its own IP relay service under the myrelay.com brand. Nordia chose to replace its own service with i711.com due to i711's breadth of service features, strong wireless relay offerings, and the ability of users to access i711.com through AOL Instant Messenger. Effective today, relay calls previously placed through Nordia's relay website, myrelay.com, now are processed through GoAmerica's i711.com website.

"i711.com has consistently delivered feature enhancements and access methods that we believe are important to our customers in California," said Bernard Durocher, Executive Vice President of Nordia, Inc. "Directing all of our IP relay traffic to i711.com expands our current partnership with GoAmerica and strengthens Nordia's position in the state because we are providing an even better IP relay experience for the consumer."

"We are thrilled that our service meets Nordia's and the State of California's stringent relay standards," said Dan Luis, CEO of GoAmerica. "We're looking forward to working with Nordia and the many Deaf organizations throughout California to educate consumers about our unique calling features and the mobile and online methods of accessing i711.com."

Nordia will continue supplying TTY/TDD dial-up relay services to Deaf consumers throughout California as part of its existing California Relay Service contract with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) which is funded by a small surcharge on California telephone bills.

Smart Dialing, Custom Calling, and More

California IP relay users will benefit immediately from i711's exclusive smart dialing, custom calling, and bonus features, making the IP relay experience better and reflective of each user's call preferences.

Smart dialing features include the i711 Phone Book, i711 Speed Dial and a Recent Calls list which together enable users to make most relay calls in just one click.

Custom calling features include the ability to assign specific call characteristics to people in the i711 Phone Book, so calls to those people happen the same way every time they're dialed. Users can also change font size and color for the conversation window, so calls transpire exactly as the customer wants.

i711.com also includes "bonus features" such as the i711.com Toolbar with ClickRelay(TM) which enables users to make relay calls from any Web page in just one click.

i711 Wireless(TM) and Access through AIM

Announced in February, i711 Wireless is the wireless counterpart to i711.com and runs as a standalone application on T-Mobile Sidekicks. GoAmerica expects to launch the service on RIM BlackBerry handhelds later this quarter. Downloaded directly onto the devices it runs on, i711 Wireless delivers fast relay calls with a familiar user interface.

Users can also access GoAmerica's text relay services through AOL Instant Messenger, whether from a PC or mobile device, by sending an instant message to "i711relay" or adding that name to the user's Buddy List.

Relay and Beyond(SM)

In addition to the service's core relay features, i711.com offers users a number of free services that users can also customize to their personal tastes. These include:
     Weekly Articles. i711.com users receive exclusive, weekly columns by
     noted Deaf authors. Topics include Deaf culture, technology, employment,
     sports and entertainment, and news on the international Deaf community.

     News Headlines. Users can choose to display headlines from popular
     community news sources such as the Deaf Professionals Network,
     DeafDC.com, USA-L News, 4HearingLoss.com, and others, as well as
     headlines from traditional news sources.

     InSight Open Captioned Movie Information. i711.com automatically provides
     users with a list of nearby open captioned films, courtesy of InSight
     Cinema.

Availability

California relay users can make i711.com relay calls now by visiting www.i711.com directly, or through a link found on Nordia's www.myrelay.com website.

i711 Wireless downloads and installs automatically in minutes and is available now for T-Mobile Sidekick users. Visit www.i711.com/wireless for the five easy download steps, or for information on other i711 Wireless options. BlackBerry users who send an email message to bb@i711.com will automatically be notified by email when the service is launched on that platform.

All i711 relay calls are free. Registration, required to access some of the service's custom features and content, is also free by visiting www.i711.com/register.

For a live demonstration of i711.com and i711 Wireless relay, visit the i711.com booth at Deaf Nation Expo at Pomona on April 29th.

About CRS

The Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) is a program of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), providing Californians who are deaf and disabled with equipment and relay services through the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) and California Relay Service (CRS), respectively. CRS provides specially-trained Relay Operators and Communications Assistants to relay telephone conversations back and forth between people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-disabled and all those they wish to communicate with by telephone.

About Nordia

Nordia is a leading contact centre company and world-class provider of multi-contact customer relationship management solutions; a fast-growing company offering multilingual contact center services 24/7 under rigorous quality standards. Nordia has seven contact centers across Canada with a team of more than 2,200 employees handling more than 100 million customer contacts per year.

Nordia agents handle calls, e-mails and chats, and are trained to master specialist programs such as Directory Assistance and Teleconference services, as well as Relay Services provided to deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech- disabled communities. To learn more about Nordia, visit www.nordia.ca.

About GoAmerica

GoAmerica provides a wide range of wireless, relay and prepaid communications services, customized for people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-disabled. The Company's vision is to improve the quality of life of its customers by being their premier provider of innovative communication services. For more information on the Company or its services, visit http://www.goamerica.com or contact GoAmerica directly at TTY 201-527-1520, voice 201-996-1717 or via Internet relay by visiting http://www.i711.com.

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060425/nytu043.html?.v=54&printer=1

GoAmerica And Nordia Agrees For Multi-Vendor California Relay Services

GoAmerica And Nordia Agrees For Multi-Vendor California Relay Services

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

(RTTNews) – On Tuesday, GoAmerica,Inc. a leading provider of accessible communications services for the Deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled communities, announced today that its i711.com service has been chosen as the exclusive IP-based relay service for Nordia's California Relay Services contract.

Copyright(c) 2006 RealTimeTraders.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved

http://www.tradingmarkets.com/tm.site/news/BREAKING%20NEWS/232905/

GoAmerica to provide TRS in California

Associated Press/HACKENSACK, N.J.

GoAmerica to provide TRS in California

APRIL 25 11:18 A.M. ET GoAmerica Inc., a communications service provider for the deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech disabled, said on Tuesday its telecommunications relay service (TRS) will be used in California under a state contract held by Nordia and two other companies.

Nordia, which also provides services for people with hearing and speech problems, used its own TRS service called myrelay.com, but will now switch to GoAmerica's i711.com TRS service.

TRS allows the deaf to use a web-enabled handheld device or computer to place calls connected to a relay operator. The relay operator calls the requested number, reads the deaf caller's text message to the recipient, and then types the other party's response back to the deaf caller.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8H73RM80.htm?campaign_id=apn_tech_down&chan=tc

LiNKS Interpreting Services Attends DeafNation Expo in Pomona

April 24, 2006

LiNKS Interpreting Services Attends DeafNation Expo in Pomona

LONG BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 24, 2006–The DeafNation touring Expo Consumer show for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community will be in Pomona on Saturday, April 29, 2006 at the Fairplex, Building 8. LiNKS Interpreting Services will be among the hundreds of companies and organizations who serve the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population turning out for the show's sixth stop in its national tour.

"This event gives LiNKS Interpreting and other organizations the chance to meet with members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community from our local area and throughout the state," said Chuck Scarpaci, Director of LiNKS.

The show hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free. Exhibitors at the expo offer a range of products and services: video phone and communication products, educational materials, books, videotapes, on-line services, and others. Workshops and seminars will be held throughout the day. Go to www.deafnation.com for free admission tickets.

"One of the significant issues we face is a shortage of trained and professional Sign Language Interpreters," said Scarpaci. "There are more than 875,000 estimated people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. There aren't enough trained professionals to help them gain equal access to services or to carryout everyday needs," said Scarpaci.

"This is also an opportunity for individuals who are seeking a new career or planning to enroll in an Interpreting Training Program. This is a great place for them to learn more about becoming a professional interpreter and the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing culture," said Scarpaci.

LiNKS Interpreting, a division of Goodwill Industries of Long Beach & South Bay, provides short and long-term ASL and Trilingual (Spanish) Interpreting services to businesses, government agencies, organizations and private individuals for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients.

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20060424006249&newsLang=en

For the deaf, captioners are the true TV stars

For the deaf, captioners are the true TV stars
 
Des Moines (Iowa) Register/ANDREA MELENDEZ
New federal rules for television have increased demand for closed captioners.
 
By WILLIAM RYBERG
Des Moines (Iowa) Register

04/21/2006

Court TV anchors recently hosted live coverage of a Vermont murder trial, but for viewers who were deaf or hearing impaired, the real star of the show was Karla Ray.

Ray, 31, never appeared on screen and was working in a home office in her Des Moines basement, typing the closed-captioning for the live program and translating the anchors' commentary and the testimony.

Ray is part of a small, but growing, number of broadcast captioners across the nation. Many work at home, providing closed-captioning for television programs produced and transmitted live from television studios hundreds of miles away.

The words she types crawl across the screen for the hearing impaired and viewers who are helped by seeing spoken words in print.

"I love it," said Ray, a broadcast captioner since 2002.

Closed-captioning has gradually become a common part of broadcast and cable television. Legislation in the early 1990s required all TV sets to include equipment that could receive and display captioning. On Jan.1, additional rules went into effect requiring closed-captioning for most new TV programs. Future rules will require captioning for reruns and Spanish-language shows.

The rules have ratcheted up demand for captioners.

"There's definitely a shortage," said Kathy DiLorenzo, a vice president of Vitac, a Pittsburgh-based company that provides captioning services.

Captioning for prerecorded shows is done after a show is made but before it's aired. Captioners, using a video provided by the show's producers,often work in the offices of a captioning services company such as Vitac, but they can also work at home.

Captioners and court reporters — similar skills are needed for both jobs — earn an average of about $65,000 a year after a few years of experience, DiLorenzo said.

Only an estimated 400 people nationwide work as broadcast captioners, DiLorenzo and others say. An additional 1,000 to 3,000 are expected to be needed in the next few years.

Captioners and court reporters use a "stenotype machine" that looks like a small typewriter, but has only about 25 keys. Creating a single word often requires the operator to press down several keys at one time.

The writing is phonetic. The captioner types words as they sound, rather than how they're spelled. Computer software translates the phonetic writing into properly spelled words that appear on the screen.

While court reporters can clean up spelling and punctuation mistakes after the trial, broadcast captioners need to get everything right the first time because it will be seen by millions of television viewers.

Peter Wacht, a spokesman for the National Court Reporters Association, said: "Essentially, broadcast captioners are the best of the best."

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060421/LIFE/604210315/-1/NEWS01

Calabrio and CSD Efficiently Connect Deaf Community to Outside World

Calabrio and CSD Efficiently Connect Deaf Community to Outside World

Tuesday April 18, 2006

99.5% Accuracy Rate Takes Guesswork Out of Workforce Management

MONTREAL, April 18 /PRNewswire/ — Calabrio, Inc., a leading provider of contact center workforce management (WFM) solutions, today announced working with Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) to reengineer its complex and unique contact center operations. With Calabrio's technology in place, CSD can now solve costly challenges in many contact center locations to more effectively serve the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

CSD is evolving the contact center industry with its innovative "video relay service" to communicate with deaf callers, given the growing popularity of broadband Internet which enables richer communications beyond the usual teletype. This unique service enables callers to more easily and quickly communicate through sign language interpreters, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CSD is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a broad continuum of social and human service programs, as well as telecommunications relay services.

But on top of the thousands of calls it receives every day in its video relay division alone, CSD's challenges include running dozens of other contact centers in a fast-paced environment. Because its call center agents are highly qualified and specialized, it needed to ensure it was making the best use of that scarce resource. More than simply certified interpreters with 5-10 years of experience, the agents also need to be knowledgeable about the myriad issues that a person could possibly call about. Like many contact centers, CSD usually erred on the side of overstaffing to ensure service levels would be met, but this was an expensive strategy given its labor costs.

Benjamin Soukup, chief executive officer for CSD, explained, "We needed a much more accurate workforce management system than our homegrown method of pulling data from switch reports and crunching numbers on a calculator. As a non-profit organization, we always look for affordability as well as effectiveness in our solutions. After evaluating several systems, including the largest WFM vendors, we chose Calabrio as the one with the best price, features, services and support to meet our needs."

With Calabrio's ability to help its customer achieve an unprecedented accuracy of 99.5% and greater, CSD could now take the guesswork out of forecasting and scheduling. This precision reduced CSD's need for overstaffing, thereby generating immediate savings. By deploying its agents more intelligently and efficiently, CSD could ensure that community interpreting services would not be compromised from the increased demand for video relay interpreting.

"We are proud to work with CSD in helping them open up the world to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community," said Rene LeBel, chief executive officer and founder of Calabrio. "CSD is reinventing their industry — providing functionally-equivalent telephone access for all deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans. With Calabrio, CSD is making the most out of its precious resources, to the benefit of the people it serves."

About CSD

CSD (a.k.a. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.) was established in 1975, primarily to provide sign language interpreting services to deaf and hard of hearing adults in South Dakota. Today, CSD employs over 3,000 individuals in offices across the nation, providing a broad continuum of social and human service programs, as well as telecommunications relay services. CSD is a private nonprofit agency dedicated to providing quality services; ensuring public accessibility; and increasing awareness of issues affecting the deaf, hard of hearing and individuals with speech disabilities. For more information, please visit www.c-s-d.org.

About Calabrio, Inc.

Calabrio's workforce management solutions are used by companies worldwide, such as Blue Cross, Direct TV, MasterCard, MBNA, Sears and hundreds more. From our start in 1995 — and now with offices in Canada, United States and Europe — Calabrio is one of the very first to give multi-site and multi-channel management capabilities to today's evolving contact centers. Unlike competitors, Calabrio offers an unmatched forecasting and scheduling accuracy of up to 99.5% as well as a full range of additional capabilities at no extra charge, such as skills- and performance-based scheduling, KPIs, payroll integration, and much more. As a result, our customers can dramatically improve productivity, employee satisfaction and efficiency, which in turn drive customer service and profitability. For more information, please visit www.calabrio.com.

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060418/nytu128.html?.v=52