Although telephony was invented in the 19th century and has had an enormous enabling effect for some groups of people, eg deaf people, the advent of telephony became an additional burden and a cause for discrimination especially in employment. Although new technology has existed for some time to give deaf people at least some access to this facility, we are only now able to create a pan-European pilot deployment, which offers real visual access.
The goal of the EU funded REACH112 pilot project is to make ‘telephones’ accessible for people with disabilities. The solution is to add video and real-time text to the calls forming Total Conversation (TC) so that interoperability of voice telephony between service providers is maintained. The provision of video means that sign language, lip-reading and face recognition is possible. In conditions of reduced bandwidth, text can be used which is also of general value to those with reduced hearing. The relevance of having voice in the calls is that many people with disabilities have some use of voice.
In REACH112, a broad based partnership of telephony operators and stakeholder groups will implement pilot services in five countries in Europe. Major priorities for REACH112 are to increase person to person calling and to provide access to 112 emergency services. In this writeup we will explain briefly our objectives and some of the obstacles we have to overcome.
|Translated title of the contribution||REACH112: REsponding to All Citizens needing Help A development in Total Conversation|
|Title of host publication||Internet Protocol Based Emergency Services|
|Editors||H Schulzrinne, H Tschofenig|
|Publisher||John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2013|