Sorenson is Desperate!

Dear Sorenson Communications,

Are you that desperate?

Less than 24 hours after I published my blog, “Sorenson, the 10-digit number is MINE! Goodbye!”, a representative from Sorenson Communications emailed, called and left a video message asking me why I ported my 10-digit number to another video provider, ZVRS.

I got this videomail left by a representative from Sorenson Communications.

As of 11/28/2011, this representative sent me email requesting for the removal of the video. I honor this request. You may read the email I received from the same representative.

Here’s the excerpt of the email I received this morning at 11:45 am EST.

Hello,
My name is C**** and I am writing you to offer assistance with your VP-200.

It has recently come to my attention that you have ported your local number to another provider. Unfortunately, when this happens, the VP-200 will only work with limited features. The Sorenson Gold Services such as your contact list, the Sorenson Video Center, Call Waiting, RapidoVRS, and Enhanced 911 Services (along with many other great features) are no longer available.

I would love to have the opportunity to discuss with you all the ways Sorenson VRS can make a difference in your life!

You can give us your permission over the VP to port your number back to Sorenson and then I can help you have your VP-200 running again in just a few minutes with a temporary local number!

Please feel free to call me on the VP at 801-***-**** with any questions or concerns.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thanks! Have a great day!

C*****
c****@sorenson.com
Videophone: *****
Or From your VP-200: select the โ€œGet Connectedโ€ icon

How interesting… and pay attention to this “Get Connected” icon. If a person decides to port their 10-digit number to a different provider, but keeps VP200. Yes, the features will be lost, EXCEPT there will be a dialogue box alerting to the “client” about this icon allowing them to get connected with Sorenson. This will automatically ports your 10-digit number back to Sorenson. Here’s the pictorial evidence.

This image shows the VP200 with a number that is not ported to Sorenson’s server.

This picture below show VP200’s dialogue box alerting to get connected back to Sorenson. It allows a person to call Sorenson’s representative to port your VP200 back to their server with temporary 10-digit number.

Also, whenever you receive a VP200 from Sorenson, it does not belong to you. Every VP200 has a sticker indicating that it is Sorenson’s property, and it is not for sale. That’s why ZVRS offered to have VP200s to be shipped back at their own expense.

Sorenson, please respect my choice to do whatever I want with my 10-digit number.

It is time for you to move on, it is over between us. Don’t go back begging, because it is kinda pathetic.

So long, Sorenson.

Best,
Amy Cohen Efron

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96 comments on “Sorenson is Desperate!

Why does this sound so much like a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship that’s broken up?

Hahaha…. that’s the gist of my blog… to tell the world that I am breaking up from Sorenson, and “he” gets upset and begging me to get back to “him”.

[…] […]

Hello Amy! Wow, I like you switched to Z and have loved it!!! Love their features etc. Love the fact that they have keypad and you can enter your ss# or cc# without having to sign to the interpreter very personal information! Sorenson did call me and asked me why I switched and told this person the reasons. Then he came (with appointment) to my home to take the VP 200 back since I no longer needed it. Now, a couple of my friends have had Sorenson employees show up at their house unexpected to ask why they switched to Z etc. The friends were NOT happy with this. It is OUR choice to who we want for VRS. If we switch, then we should be left alone. We should not be harrassed to go back to Sorenson. Amy, it is your choice and you are happy with Z and I don’t blame you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well this is truly comptetive business that is usually occurred everywhere. Capitlaist is working. (excused my misspelled but I am sure you know what I mean.) thanks

Amy-

I read your two blogs. I understand you wanted Sorenson to respect your decision—using different provider and keep 10 digit number. However, each one of us need to appreciate and thank Sorenson for bringing VP into our world several years ago —way before other providers came along. Sorenson motivated other competitors to design models, features and etc. I might be wrong but I have the feeling that if it was not for Sorenson we would not have wonderful VP access like we have today. It reminds me the same thing with Apple. When Apple was invented…PC was later invented and both are top competitors today. I try my best to explain here because tech is not my thing and hope you get what I am saying here. For me…I love Sorenson all the way…I like their picture quality the most…soothe my eyes! In fact, I use about 5-10 VP calls a month so I am not desperate to seek for better models and etc.

Well, you know FORD came out with first cars right? But today would you buy a Ford because it is the first car that came into our world? No. There are many cars, suvs better than Ford out there. There is healthy competition. This is just business competition. It is customers choice to choose what VRS they want. Customers want better features, and services. But they should be be forced to buy a product. Car dealers do not force customers to buy their cars. Different VRS companies should respect customers choice.

My big question:

Why you remove the ****** on the blog here? If I were you, I would rather publish everything to show the real world.

Why did I remove the representative’s name and phone number. It is to protect an individual who is associated with the company. If I reveal the name of a representative and a phone number, then I am compromising the person’s safety. I show the face, and I edited out the name of a person and their phone number. That is called respect. Would you please tell me why is it important for me to reveal the person’s name, email and phone number?

Thanks,
Amy

Sornson didn’t bring vp in our world first. It was CSDVRS that started this service first. It helps know history a bit

I agree with you, SL. You are right. That reminds me of an article that I got from TDI explaining history of videophones. It was CSDVRS who spearheaded this idea through Ed Bosson in Texas. CSDVRS made a deal with DLink, with their old VP100. Sorenson jumped in and stole the idea. Made some tweaks with their video compression technology and firmware. It was Sorenson who created the chip and D-Link installed this chip and codec in their videophone. CSDVRS saw this as an opportunity,and Sorenson decided to take an advantage, and got a LARGE order of D-Link videophones, and configurated the firmware to make it easy for Deaf caller to make calls. Then, Sorenson gave them away for free. Sorenson gained a HUGE market by giving them away. Several Deaf people wanted to use another VRS provider by using DLink’s VP100, then Sorenson upgraded their firmware to block them. Thus, claimed almost 80 percent of market share. Yes, it was CSDVRS.

@ penny. U know sorenson laid off best quality interpreters and hired cheaper less skilled interpreters. Purple and Zvrs hired top skilled interpreters.
Why? To keep more profits forbes themselves. They don’t care what deaf people needs are!

Time for change. Sorenson needs to go

SL- What kind of model did CSD/VRS use when they first started this service? Can you give me the link to show me the model, make and year? I never heard about this one until now. I learned about Sorenson several years ago when news spread like wild fire. I heard about CSD/VRS later after Sorenson came to our community.

Amy- I read your comment replied to SL..You mentioned “their old VP100″…the VP100 was designed by Sorenson. I had VP100 when first installed in my home and it was from Sorenson. I have never seen VP100 model designed by CSD. I would love to see their original model if link can be found. Thanks.

SL- I respect everyone’s decision if they want to use different provider etc. I have no qualm about this. I made extremely important phone calls in the past two months and used Sorenson VRS. I am blessed that I was connected to top intepreters. I have no idea what would happened if I did not have top ones. I have seen few interpreters through Sorenson that they should not be there but lately I had top interpretes in the past two months. That is the truth.

Amy:
I was at Gallaudet a while ago when they launched a new product. At the end, I was hoping that they had Q/A for audience to ask…I planned to ask about answering machine. Wondering if it will work with other providers and I just learned it won’t work. I was so furious…I want to see Sorenson to allow us to leave video message to any providers, not only to Sorenson products. If they allow Q/A: I would ask that! Sigh

I have never seen this one before…interesting. Thanks. When did this came in the market? No information there. VP100 was in the market in 2003? I am curious about this D-Link’s DVC 1000. Was this in market before 2003 or later?

Remember Mountain Bell…

I have a copy of TDI’s The GA-SK TDI’s Quarterly News Magazine. Volume 37, Issue 2.

This issue comes with several articles regarding VRS. There was one article titled as, “The Bold Beginnings, Current Status, and Visionary Future of Video Telephony”.

Excerpts:

1993: Texas Public Utility Commission (TPUC) began discussion the possibility of using video conferencing products for deaf people not only to call each other directly, but also to set up a network of sign language interpreters to relay conversations between deaf and hearing parties. (Ed Bosson proposed that idea and worked with Sprint with this project.)

1995: TPUC begins video relay interpreting (VRI) trials at four locations in Austin, Texas, using AT&T’s PictureTel products and ISDN. The first trial was very successful. (Interpreters were from CSDVRS).

1996: TPUC expands VRI trials to ten cities in Texas with the same product and network. Hearing parents wept with joy upon receiving VRI calls from their children at the Texas School for the Deaf. Both trials indicated that both deaf and hearing persons would embrace VRI. Thus Video Relay Interpreting was born. Shortly thereafter, Linda Nelson of North Carolina was creditd for changing the term “VRI” to Video Relay Service or “VRS”.

1997: In February, Sweden was the first country to provide full government subsidization of VRS for the whole country. Later in August, Arizona and North Carolina were first two states to provide VRS via public sites.

1998: Sorenson EnVision, a web-based software solution that was used for video communication with a web camera and a high-speed Internet connection was developed. This was not widely adopted because the early versions (also known as VisionLin for analog vusers) were not free and high-speed or broadband Internet connections were neighter available nor affordable.

2000: Washington and Texas began providing VRS through the Internet, mostly using Microsoft Netmeeting (TM) software. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) allowed VRS vendors to be reimbursed with relay funds for providing video relay beginning in October. (The first few years, the FCC rate is exceedingly HIGH, $17 dollars per minute! That becomes an incentive for Sorenson to give away free VP100’s.)

2001: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) began to offer high-speed Internet connections in business and residences to make their services more affordable. Telephone companies began to offer DSL to compete with cable companies that were offering their own form of broadband online connections. This development fueled the rapid expansion and deployment of VRS. (I remembered getting a free D-Link’s DVC1000 from Hamilton Relay with older interface, then got Sorenson’s free too with their own customized interface. Several months later, I was able to use Sorenson’s D-Link videophone to call other VRS companies because I was frustrated with wait times. Sorenson immediately revised their firmware, and forced to upload to all of their videophones, which prevented us to call other VRS companies. That was the beginning of monopoly.)

2003: After more than a decade of research and development, Sorenson Communications released its VP-100(TM) videophone. This product was created specifically with deaf users in mind and was distributed free to deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers that also have broadband Internet connections. In addition, Sorenson licensed D-Link to manufacture its i2ee videophone for the general market. Sorenson also released an improved version of EnVision SL(TM) for download by users with webcam which allowed them to place VRS calls from the desktop computer.

2006: VRS generated approximately $26 million dollars and more than 4 million minutes during the month of December. Sorenson Communications announced the development of the next generation videophone, the VP-200 (TM) videophone, which includes even more deaf-friendly features such as remote panning and zooming and a visual caller-ID called the LightRing (TM). Snap!VRS announces plans for its relay services based on new technologies in its all-in-one compact Ojo videophone.

It stopped at 2006, because that was when the article was published. So much happening between 2006 to 2011. It is about interoperability, porting issues, and many more.

Hope that information helps.

Yes, it was CSDVRS /Sprint Relay / Ed Bosson who started the whole thing. D-Link has Sorenson’s Codec chip. Then Sorenson licensed D-Link.

Sorenson only created a chip, and borrowed D-Link’s videophony. Created a firmware and interface. Just like any other VRS companies who licensed other companies’ software/hardware.

It was Sorenson who reaped millions and millions of dollars to create VP-200. Other companies were fighting for a small share. Sorenson was resting easy with their 80% of share, and spending a lot of time and energy sending lawyers to FCC, blocking other VRS to call, and intimidate.

It is customer’s right to choose whatever services they want, and that 10-digit phone number was hard fought by Deaf people. Sorenson WAS the one who tried to block it. Remember?

Thanks,
Amy Cohen Efron

I’ve gotten rid of VP200 last week. In place is Z20. I’m ok with it AS LONG AS I want nothing to do with Sorenson and its greedy monopoly.

So far I haven’t heard from Sorenson to beg or whatever, if I do, I’ll give them the choice of words and a piece of my mind for all I care.

We have every right to decide what we want with VPs and whatever. Some had told me that some Z20 users aren’t happy that ZVRS took away VP200 without their permissions. I told them had it occurred them that they already signed the papers WITHOUT asking the questions. Some may not able to read well, I told them ‘ALWAYS ASK BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING’ to bar the misunderstood. Yet, they still blame ZVRS. It’s not fair to place the blame on however they both (customers and ZVRS) are at fault because ZVRS should ask “Do you understand this?” If they waver, ZVRS should left the vp 200 or other alone till the customers understand 100 percent. I knew what I signed for and took the risk. The customers shouldn’t nod their heads and signed without asking the questions. The contractors (installers) should ask the customers if they’re sure regardless whether the sales managers asked them before to ensure no confusion nor misunderstand.

Caveat emptor (even though they don’t buy anything BUT it does apply to this situation regardless)

Oh,…..another thing is FCC does allow other VRS providers to port the numbers with the customers’ permissions.

However I’m not sure where FCC stands with Sorenson and the fee that may impose on some customers. I’m trying to remember for what but I forget. *shrug* (blame it on hangover from Thanksgiving blitz, long story, lol)

Misha

Amy-I did some homework…Sorenson developed D-Link DVC 1000. I still thank Sorenson for coming to the market anyway. When Sorenson came to the world…it brought our community together and pushed to become independent entrepreneurs. I agree that Sorenson should not bothered you for keeping ten digit number. FCC says you can then you can. ๐Ÿ™‚

Penny, D-Link DVC 1000 was created by D-Link using Sorenson’s Codec chip. One or two years later, Sorenson licensed D-Link DVC 1000 and modified to their specifications (including interface/firmware and plastic covering in black, with Sorenson’s name on it), and gave them away for free to all of Deaf people. Sorenson did tell Deaf people that they must call specific number of minutes, and there was intimidation and threats of taking DVC 1000 away if they don’t meet the quota. Then some Deaf people decided to get around and called different VRS providers. Sorenson found out and upgraded the firmware to prevent them to call other providers. It was a beginning of monopoly.

I don’t disagree with you about Sorenson breaking barriers, and I think when they get greedy and holds a larger percentage of market, their true colors show. I am dismayed how Sorenson kept preventing us making progress. Sorenson can be a great corporation, but they do make us feel like as if we are their clients.

I am FREE!!! 10-digit number is MINE! I can do whatever I want with my own 10-digit number!

Amy- I hope this will be my last comment. No intention of taking over. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for detailed information how all this began…many thanks. I read them through. TPUC was apparently the first who thought the possibility of using AT and T PictureTel for Deaf people to call each other. ED was the one who suggested about using for VRS. You are correct on that one. Perhaps Sorenson said yeah!!! great idea…monies!!! Yahoo! and created software but it was not popular due high speed not available and affordable. In 2000, Microsoft Net meeting software was invented but Sorenson then invented/designed DLink, VP100 and on. Sorenson happened to be a hearing inventor (DARN!) but Deaf people did not lay back and did nothing…community all over USA got together and said we can create new ones ourselves etc. Now we have more Deaf entrepreneurs—slowly. That was my message…Thank Sorenson for this because this God sent VP model got us together and become more independent and entreprenuers. It is unfortunate the Corp become richer from using us as “product” but they came out good cause in other way.

It is my understand that it was HandOn VRS, now Purple who was the first VRS provider. Not CSDVRS. Am I correct?

Sprint Relay contracted with CSD for interpreters, then Washington State joined, that’s when Hands On interpreting did interpreting, thus birth of HOVRS then Purple.

Amy- I did not see your comment above. Thanks for clarification about D-Link DVC 1000. Now I got it. You are correct that many Deaf people complained for a long time about Sorenson for telling them that they must call specific number of minutes. It is interesting because when I first received VP100 and on…I didn’t and do not make many relay calls…some months I do not even use them and some months I make about 5 relay calls— a month…they never harassed or threatened me. If they really did with other customers then you are right…it is wrong and unethical. I have a dearest friend who have ZVRS model…not sure which and we can’t chat for long because his picture does not show clear—very blury. When this friend tried to call me and I returned the call…guess what? it got connected to ZVRS not his number. Odd!

Was Hands On/ Purple the first provided
Espanol VRS service?

I don’t know the answer and I hope someone who is familiar with this may be able to answer to your question.

First of all.

Why you want to protect the person’s name, vp email address? It shows you are biased. If you want to be netural, show everything and let the world see for themseleves and this will educate people know more about them. We dont need to hide, SHOW them! I dun care who they are or what they have. You stated: Respect?

No, did they respect you? No so now my turn to show how they should respect you? REVEAL everything! Be yourself and dont be afraid, be strong ….

Hands On VRS was first VRS to offer VRS thru webcam and HOVRS did bough bulk of D-Link then Sorenson heard the story then HOVRS told everything then Sorenson took that advtange then bough lots of the DVC1000 then configure them into VP100 then gave them away for free and blocked all deafies not call other VRS but only SVRS. That was one of SVRS advtange to make $$$, remember in 2002, FCC paid $17 a minute, thats why Sorenson knew VRS is a money maker.

Then FCC ordered must open and Sorenson finally fixed the firmware and allowed it but Sorenson was greedy anyway. They are actually 88% of market as of JUly 2010. Now, if you want to know about CSDVRS story, the former CEO of CSDVRS himself, he made $800,000 a year compare to the CSDVRS employees making so much less and it caused a strange story.

Then, many VRS Providers starting to come up… Then that is how CSDVRS moved to Florida and setup ClearBlue to make $$, then FCC told them not allowed and they disbanned it then changed to ZVRS and adding so much new features/products try to beat Sorenson but it will never happen.

Same with HOVRS, they had a program called Brown Bag, you make calls and earn points to get $$ to pay your high speed internet, FCC banned that too.

VRS knew this is a money maker, thats why all VRS, yes ALL VRS Providers had to find a way to make $$$ but sadly, most of them are greedy, dishonest and evil. I am not going to name them but I want to be equal. ALL of them are greedy, period.

As of right now, Sorenson and ZVRS are having a war against each other and FCC is aware of it and they are in progress to announce new VRS rule which will be release in December and both of these VRS will have to make new changes. What: Stop greedy and control-able.

See what happens now: ATT VRS is exiting VRS business BECAUSE FCC ordered them to follow rules, ATT refused so they are shutting down. Sprint VRS is next. As if you not know, both are FCC certifited and they use ZVRS for all VRS services. FCC already made it cleared, each VRS must supply their own call centers, CA’s, Platflorm and everything, why would ZVRS allow ATT and Sprint to use ZVRS system?? They violate FCC rules and I am happy that FCC step up and elimiate abuse or fraud whatever you wan to call it. This is not fair for us, because we are tax payers and we PAY for VRS to have communication needs NOT to abuse it.

I promise you this: Within 6-9 months from TODAY, we will see 80% of the remaining VRS Providers to be fading, which will leave at least 4-6 providers left. However, most are owned by hearing and I dont support that, sorry. I rather to support deaf-owned business, why? They have enpower and support by invest back to the deaf community while hearing VRS Companies DONT because they PROFIT from our taxpayers $$$… They are here to STEAL your MONEY and not care what you want or what you need.. That what a exmaple Sorenson is all about, MONEY MONEY MONEY. So do Purple, ZVRS, SnapVRS.. ALL OF THEM!!

Convo Relay, MalkaVRS, PowerVRS and Say-Hey is ONLY deaf owned.. Rest are garbage, why? Owned by hearing people … Hell with them..

Let’s support deaf-owned business!!!

Hi,

You challenged me to reveal the representative’s name and a phone number? That is the boundary I cannot cross over, regardless if you think I am biased. I am respecting the person’s right to privacy (full name and a phone number), and I can reveal the face. Unless this person gives me permission.

For you, you appear to be very knowledgeable about VRS industry. Why not you reveal yourself for who you are? Did you work one of these providers in the past? I am glad that FCC is involved to make sure there is a healthy competition among these companies.

Amy

Billy Evanson,

From my knowledge, CSDVRS and Hands ON VRS was only offered Spanish in 2000 era … While other are late to offer this. Until, Sorenson start offering it then other VRS providers followed.

Hope this helps.

Thank you myVRS Relay Central for answering to this question. We are all learning about it.

My VRS Relay Central, you can’t challenge Amy into revealing that person’s name and phone number because it is part of invasion of privacy on video mail. In other words, that means it took place in EMAIL which is for between Amy and the rep only. Not for our eyes. She can show the part of video, nothing else. She could be sued for invasion privacy if she reveals the name and number in fear of being harassed and whatnot. Don’t push it…..
On the other note, you haven’t revealed your true identity…do you want me to force you into revealing your real name and email so I could have fun with you? You like like? No, I don’t think so……

Misha

Sprint Relay / CSDVRS was the FIRST company to provide 24 hours / 7 days VRS service, Spanish language VRS, voice carry over (VCO), and among with a few more services/features.

FCC established rules where they wants VRS providers to supply their own platform, interpreter centers, video traffic, policy & procedure and among with other things. The word “refuse” on AT&T isn’t true as the AT&T bowed out from VRS industry – it would requires them to unaffiliated from ZVRS and create their own platform, video traffic, interpreter centers, and all that – it is cumbersome process and costly. It is truly understandable for them to do this. Yes, Sprint Relay is currently figuring out their options and as of now, we do not know what option they arrived.

It is truly possible that we will see very few VRS companies left to compete and FCC plans to release quite many more rules in the near future. This also includes structure of pay rate which will be released fairly soon which definitely will transform the VRS industries in many ways.

Amy,

I understand your point of view. Every documents I see or recieve, I share with the world, why? it is fair for them to see, I dont need to hide for them. Just my opinion.

Second, yes I used work for VRS industry and that is why I know what is happening. I suggest you to review and enjoy learn more about my business that I started in 2009 and this is my goal to educate deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people to understand about VRS better. My goal is: One stop center all what is happening with VRS industry.

Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

Misha,

I dont hide myself, you can see my Bio page on my website and I have nothing to hide. Why would I hide? if I did, it would be considered ‘biased’.

I hate being biased or dishonest. I am not like these greedy VRS companies out there.

Thank you.

myVRS Relay Central….

I don’t follow your website or anything like that pertains to you therefore I don’t know you. Care to send up a link so I can check it out.

Thanks…

Misha

Misha,

Click the link on my postings, it will take to my website.

Thanks.

myVRS Relay Central said “I am not going to name them but I want to be equal” and demand Amy to reveal email and name… basically, that is being hypocrite… I just merely make a point there.

I support Amy 100% for not reveal critical information. It will prevent unnecessary harmful and massive emails to certain person or people.

Thanks for the website.

Ok, that’s fine, myVRS Relay Central but it still doesn’t constitute anyone’s right by revealing a certain individual’s identity and email to public. That won’t bode well with me. Sorry….

Misha

Anonymous,

You calling me a hypocrite? What a funny word. I don’t recall I am being hypocrite.

Thanks.

Misha,

Your opinion and you are entiled to have one. So do I.

Have a good evening

I agree with Misha and Amy. I checked website and I don’t see your face there. Where is your face with full name and contact number etc? But that is not my point here. If Amy showed video of this employee with name and other info without her employee’s permission especially at workplace then Amy can be liable for invasion of privacy and etc. Amy is smart enough not to do this. If you want more info about Sorenson re; what has been discussed here then you would have to call Sorenson and get more detailed info if it is really important to you.

myVRS Relay Central and InsaneMisha, please take your discussion elsewhere because I would like to keep this discussion to this topic about how Sorenson would go that far to get their former customers back. Thank you for understanding.

Penny,

Contact ZVRS customer support, and we can help you address your friend’s problem. If tech support cannot fix it for you (which would suprise me), please escalate to engineering and I’m sure we’ll sort it out for you. Alternatively, if you run into any problems with tech support, please drop me an email at vrsengineer@gmail.com, and I would love to help you fix it.

Joseph (myvrs),

I’m not sure what your vendetta here is, but I’ve unsubscribed from your blog, and I’m going to stop responding with corrections in comments going forward.

Amy,

Your history of VRS is, to my knowledge, is spot-on. Thank you for your accurate, level-headed, yet incredibly entertaining posts. I have subscribed to your posts and your comments, and will try my best to contribute VRS facts where appropriate going forward. Should you require any engineering help from ZVRS going forward, please don’t hesitate to ask.

WoW.

It is like FORD/Chevy War. It is their perference/choice. There is nothing wrong with that. I think Amy is being biased because she deleted the name/phone number. She may be feared someone will attack/criticize her. Ha! We shall see…

Did you realize that Email/Videophone(name/interpreter number/phone number) are PUBLIC? It is not private. (hint IP address).

Amy,

I understand and my apologizes and I was trying to speak as of my opinions.

VRSEngineer,

You have the rights to make any decision you had made and I am not stopping you and I understand you want to defend your own reasons. But just to inform you, my website delivers accurate and facts directly from FCC and VRS Providers in regarding what is happening with the VRS industry.

Again, have a good weekend.

I’ve heard from other people that Sorenson does CALL you back more than once. Expect more calls from them!!

myVRSrelay – there is absolutely nothing to be gained by knowing the ZVRS tech support person’s name.

She also did not reveal the name of the Sorenson sales person who contacted her so I give Amy high marks for her discretion.

Yes, it is true that Sorenson people will call or page you often to beg you go back to them. Even they will offer you lunch to discuss. Even they will offer you new nvp and 15 inches led Hd tv. It happened to me. It ended up by staying with ZVRS. Sorenson will do anything and cannot leave you alone if you go to another provide. I am returning vp 200 and 15 inches led hd tv back to Sorenson to end their monopoly game.

Amy, I read all the comments, I don’t give a s… about Sorenson and Zvrs…you had a nerve to post a video of Sorenson to show the deaf people publicly…You made a complaint that Sorenson harassed you, you don’t know what Zvrs did…they harassed Sorenson clients by offering them to give Sorenson up and switch to Zvrs. It sounded like that they are beggars which turned me off a BIG time…I told them that I will not give my Sorenson up, but they are still harassing me so I decided to not answer vp whenever they call…dont blame Sorenson for their greediness. Zvrs, too!!!!

CrazyWorld,

Did you truly know that 10-digit phone number is yours? If there is a better product out there that beats Sorenson’s product, you have the right to port your number to any VRS company just like any hearing people switch phone companies. Both Sorenson and ZVRS are aggressive in marketing and sales, yet both and all companies should respect customer’s choice. I am happy with my choice and you are happy. I like to share what I have learned and my reviews. You go ahead and write a blog or make a vlog why you love Sorenson without saying “champ video, so clear and easy to use…”

Sorenson has a long history creating too many barriers preventing progress. That is shocking to me.

Amy

If you are happy with Z service, I have no problem-I am happy with Sorenson service. My point is why should Zvrs harass deafies by offering them to switch to Zvrs…why can’t they leave deafies alone and let them decide on their own by calling Zvrs and tell them that they want to switch. It is simple. It reminds of Jevonahs Witness church people bothering people by stopping by their houses to try convincing them to join their church. I know this country is free, how about people’s freedom of choice of their own without being harassed. I know it is a competition. That is why the world is crazy…:/

CrazyWorld,

I am glad that we agree that we both are happy with our VRS providers. When you talked about ZVRS harass people. I only had one email from ZVRS talking about the product in two months, and I put that in my inbox and forgotten. It was me who saw the video, “Comparing Z vs. Sorenson”, which convinced me then I wrote an email requesting for more information. It was me who ask questions, then within few days, I got the product. After Thanksgiving, it was Sorenson who emailed me, called, and left a videomail (three ways to get hold of me) asking me why I ported the number. I called back Sorenson, and this representative asked me why. I asked her if she did check her email, and she did while I am on VP with her. Then she asked me why. I told her, please go ahead and read the blog. She took about one or two minutes to read my blog, then graciously thanked me. I specifically told her that I do not want any local Sorenson representative or anyone else to contact me ever again. She said she will put a note of this. So far, no calls. If I ever get approached by Sorenson, I will REPORT it on my blog and to FCC.

If ZVRS harass you directly, you can tell them that you are not interested, and tell them specifically not to bother you ever again. When they do, report it.

The gist of my blog is to let the community know that 10-digit phone number is ours. That is a new information (albeit it was an old news – 2 years ago) to me that I can do whatever I want with my 10-digit number, but I don’t have a NEW product. Z-20 captured my attention.

ZVRS made a right decision to provide Z-20’s in exchange of old VP200’s. I do not want to start my collection of old videophones. I begged ZVRS to take my old VPAD and Ojo. They smiled and said they couldn’t.

Who wants my Ojo and VPAD?

Amy

By the way, did you obtain permission from that lady to allow you post a vlog? I don’t think so….Blog photos and videos are the same way. You canโ€™t post a photo or video to your blog without first obtaining the person’s permission. You can post anything from YouTube since it allows you to post their videos on your blog, you are not infringing their copyright.

You can imgaine the lady’s reaction when she finds out that her face is on your blog, I am sure she will be extremely upset.

This lady has my email and phone number, she can contact me anytime if she wishes to have this video taken down. I took extra precautions to remove her name, contact number and her email. There is MUCH more information that I have edited out.

Sorenson is not all perfect, and they did call their customers offering to port 10-digit numbers back after the fact they ported to another VRS provider. That is harassment, and I am showing the proof that Sorenson is not always a good guy.

Thank you for sharing your concern.

Just to eliminate any confusion—Z was a part of CSD, hence the name: CSDVRS. Our brand name is ZVRS, or Z.

Amy:

When I talked with the ZVRS that was here in my area, they were telling people to give up the sorenson number and the sorenson devices. Sorenson may have some legal arguements including the local numbers they provide.
So in order to avoid any legal problems, I would suggest that you give up your sorenson devices and take ZVRS devices and be happy about that. But you may have to change numbers just in case.

If Sorenson were to pick up a legal war.. it could happen any time.

Give up the numbers? No, they can’t make us give up the numbers. We have every legal right to keep the numbers. That is pretty much same thing as the cellphones with the numbers and the providers. For example one Sprint customer with number 555-5555 can bring the same number into T-Mobile after dumping Sprint because it belongs to the customer legally. That is according to FCC.

All we can give up is Suckerson VP 200 and its items that are part of Suckeson property.

Misha

Misha is correct about not having to give up the numbers. She gave an example about cellphone nbrs…and we can use the same nbr into T-Mobile or other cellphone with different provider. I saw News talked about it several weeks ago. If FCC has policy published that we can keep our original numbers then Sorenson is not able to take legal action against another provider, i.e. ZVRS, Purple etc.

I threw Sorenson’s D-Link way. it is somewhere out in the landfill… Will I get trouble?

Correction: away, not way. lol. my mistake.

Penny,
Did you read It very carefully?… It didn’t say about porting to a different videophone. Did you know that in a past Sorenson had to pay for getting new phone numbers for all of us who use SVRS…ZVRS looked for a way to convince some of you to port to their services to save some money….they didn’t have to pay to get the phone numbers..guess what…ZVRS is a fraud company.

ZVRS doesn’t “save money” getting customers to port their phone number. The port process actually costs more than simply assigning a pre-allocated number from their carrier pool.

Let me repeat that: porting numbers doesn’t save a provider money. It costs them more.

Any VRS company that asks you to port your number is trying to convince you to use their videophone for all of your calls. By porting your number, you are more likely to use it as your primary phone. This means that you will most likely make VRS calls with a phone if you port a number from another provider.

If a VRS company is willing to subsidize the price of a phone, either partially or in full, it is because that VRS company is betting that you will use their phone to place VRS calls which is how they make money.

VRS companies lose money whenever you place P2P calls. Whenever you use a VRS provider’s network bandwidth for a phonecall, and use subsidized capital assets to do so, a VRS provider is technically losing money.

A VRS provider makes money when you place VRS calls through an interpreter.

Your allegation that “ZVRS is a fraud company” is patently false. Please educate yourself on how the VRS industry works before casting aspersions on businesses that truly have your interests at heart, but do need to avoid losing their shirts in the process of doing so.

VRSEngineer,

You said, “VRS companies lose money whenever you place P2P calls… using VRS provider’s network bandwidth for a phone call, and use subsidized capital assets to do so, a VRS provider is technically losing money.”

You piqued my curiosity.

Let me ask you… whenever I make a PSP call, I get disconnected unexpectedly… is that why there is a ‘program’ in the backend to terminate this call because it is costing VRS provider money?

This is new to me.

Amy Cohen Efron

CrazyWorld-

I found information from FCC website re: keeping 10 digit videophone number and change to different videophone provider. I am no Lawyer and if anyone out there think I misinterpreted the information then please let me know. Pls scroll down to page 9–second paragraph. From what I see there…ZVRS is not a fraud company.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2010/db0917/FCC-10-161A1.pdf

Amy,

Oh, no, absolutely not! Calls are _never_ intentionally hung up on, VRS or P2P. Any cost of P2P calls currently must be shouldered by the VRS provider, and intentionally cutting those calls short would be a very bad thing indeed. I can attest, as an engineer, that there is absolutely no such mechanism in place, nor would we ever conceive of doing such a thing to our customers.

Any unexpected disconnects on the Z20 are likely related to packet loss between your home network and the ZVRS network cores, over the public Internet.

Unfortunately, sometimes the packet loss causes TCP retries which can interfere with the timing of the SIP handshaking while in a call. Rather than retry the SIP signalling, the Z20 presently decides to errantly disconnect the call.

We are working on releasing a new firmware update here shortly that should fix this symptom for SIP, and will definitely fix this for H.323 registered Z20s.

Until then, the best thing to try and do is minimize any packet loss from your home network so as to not trigger this symptom. If you happen to have a wireless network in the path of your Z20 to the Internet, we strongly recommend removing it. If you can ensure there are no autonegotiation problems with your ethernet switch, that can help as well. Beyond that, it’s really something that you would need to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about, as it could be your network connection to them, or between them or any other ISP and other ISPs that carry your network traffic to the ZVRS network cores over the public Internet.

I hope this helps.

Thank you again for returning back to my blog to answer this most important question!

I do have zillions of questions and I try to be selective in which questions I’ll like to ask.

I have Internet Server Provider, and I pay certain amount of money per month for me to use my broadband connection. I use my computer, iPad2, videophone to chat with my friends. There is one thing that I still cannot understand why when I make a PSP call to my friend who has a videophone, why the VRS provider is been shouldered with this cost? I pay to ISP, and should they shoulder the cost? Please help me to understand. How expensive for VRS provider to carry P2P calls? Is that why when Sorenson has a huge market, and it means that many people are using PSP calls, then Sorenson loses money?

What about ISP? What about iPhone’s FaceTime? What about …..

I guess I know zilch about engineering..

Amy

By the way, did you guys realize that VRS providers ARE NOT equal access? Here is why. We, as Deaf, can not use *67 to block its number on their caller id. Hearing people can do that. Why can’t we do that? i call it UNequal accessible for the Deaf. Why can’t they allow us to use *67?

To Oops: Sorenson’s new nTouch VP product allows you to block specific numbers, very much like *67.

Star 67 means it will block your name and phone number on their caller id. It is like an anonymous caller.

Star 67 is used by Telephone systems. VP-200, Z products and most other VP’s are all VoIP. VoIP is Voice over Internet Protocol. The reason we can’t use Star 67 at this time is that it is a function used on Telephone systems.

Some Products do have the limited ability to block certain numbers. The Z340 by ZVRS will allow you to block certain numbers on just the Z340. It is not account wide which means if you jump on your Z4 or VP-200 it will not block.

One thing I would like to mention is the N Touch VP by Sorenson is a “HD” or High Definition device. For those who had problems with Z340 video quality, they will still experience issues with video quality on the new NVP. The reason is due to the users internet speed on the upload side being too low. The consumer would need to upgrade their internet package (specifically the upload speed) to handle VP calls better.

This is part of education and many ISP need to be educated to the special needs of the deaf community so they can order special packages with unrestricted or better upload speeds than is currently offered. This is something on the advocacy side that needs to be addressed and brought before many ISP’s.

Amy,

The short answer to your question is “server based routing and NAT traversal”.

Video calls consist of two things: signaling (H.323 or SIP) and media (RTP).

Whenever you place a call, the signaling must go through your VRS provider to do an iTRS lookup and selectively route your call

Sorenson VP200s do this with a non-standard HTTP handshake with the Sorenson servers, followed by a SETUP bounce through a Sorenson H.323 gateway that sends a facility redirect to the phone so that the H.323 can conceivably route directly point-to-point to the IP address mapped in Sorensons dialplan for another VP200, or to another entry iTRS if it exists.

The FCC was trying to graft 10 digit dialing on top of H.323 IP dialing when they commissioned the iTRS database from Neustar. This was something new that had no equivalent in the hearing world (the hearing world uses server based routing).

More educated VRS providers realized that this was entirely non-standard, and didn’t permit calls to/from SIP based videophones.

To remedy this oversight, VRS providers began putting their gateway IP addresses into the iTRS database.

Sorenson nTouch Mobile, Purple P3, Viable Vision, etc etc are all server routed to a handful of gateway IP addresses. ZVRS is the only provider that gives each customer their own unique ZConnect IP address in their cloud that is put in the iTRS database (and, yes, it is by that nature: server based routing).

H.323 natively isn’t very NAT friendly. VP200s needed to have UPnP enabled or be put on DMZ segments to have unfettered internet connectivity to work right through most routers.

H.323 with H.460.18/19 NAT traversal (as used by the Z150) requires media proxy.

Due to the nature of SIPH.323 interworking, making inter-op work requires the SIP media streams to traverse a gateway.

Routing these calls through servers requires media to be proxied through these servers. This network traffic is what costs VRS providers money.

The ratio of point-to-point vs VRS calling is roughly 10:1. That means for every VRS call, there are 10 point-to-point calls happening at the same time.

I’ve probably created more questions than I’ve answered, but I hope this is a start.

Yeah, ??????? What on the earth you are talking about??? I had to google every other word to find out what terminology you are talking about. I feel kinda *small* for not able to understand most what you are saying…. However the bottom line is there is no industry standard within the VRS industry when it comes to that!

wri7913 ~

The Z-20 has high definition (HD) and this videophone has been in market since May 2011. We have had Z-150 which also has higher video resolution thus we have been into higher video quality market for the past 3 years.

Amy ~

Don’t worry, you’re not alone as I find myself in technical challenge when it come to discussion with some engineer folks back at the Z headquarter. Tho – it had been an ongoing learning experience for me and I am not there, yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheer

Chad,

Glad I am not alone, and it is a really eye opener to understand more about how the VRS provider shoulders the costs supporting P2P calls!

Amy

Oops, sorry about that. I tried to keep it brief and may have made it too technical.

VRS is all about IP to IP dialing using H.323. The FCC added a 10 digit overlay to it in the form of the iTRS database. That database just lets VRS providers register and look up which IP address a given 10 digit number points to.

In the videophone industry, phones “register” to a gatekeeper, effectively punching very small holes through firewalls to allow incoming phone calls (to allow the signaling).

The real problem is that the media itself must also traverse firewalls. The videophone industry has ways of telling your phone find out what public IP it has so that it can “lie” to the other end (like STUN), or media proxy through a firewall whenever it refuses to pass traffic (like TURN, or even simple media proxy).

When the media must pass through your VRS provider’s gateway, that takes up bandwidth. That bandwidth isn’t free to the VRS provider.

Like the price subsidy VRS providers give their customers for their videophones, they must also subsidize the price of P2P call traffic that they relay for customers. Capital assets (the videophones) are amortized over a duration of time, and P2P traffic cost is simply eaten as part of the Cost Of Doing Business. There are many other costs a VRS provider must incur, of course: interpreter staffing and scheduling operations, accounting, customer support, marketing, outreach, network infrastructure and operations, and even engineering for people like me who work to add new service offerings for customers.

In the end, VRS providers only generate revenue if you place VRS calls through an interpreter.

This is what you were really asking about, I think.

Yep! On your previous comment, there is about a ratio of 10:1, every 10 P2P calls to one VRS call. That is a lot of bandwidth for a VRS provider to pay and support along with other expenses. So, the more minutes a company bills to TRS fund, these minutes times ten are for P2P calls. Poor ol’ Sorenson who failed to have a foresight after giving away many videophones, ended up having a lowest amount of tiered rate, must eat up a LOT of bandwidth from millions of minutes of P2P calls.

May I present the worst case scenario, if a VRS provider decides to stop supporting P2P calls, how will this customer make a P2P call? Would porting a number to another VRS provider who carries P2P calls considered as a solution? Do you think we may have to pay P2P calls sometime in the future in case if FCC decides to cut down rates more significantly due to economic turmoil?

Thoughts?
Amy

Bandwidth is relatively cheap, compared to the other costs involved in being a VRS provider (manpower is the most expensive part, so far as I understand it). Moore’s Law continues to make that more true every day. Bandwidth only gets cheaper over time, not more expensive.

If a provider were to stop servicing their customers, there would be other VRS providers to port your phone number to that would give you a new phone and replace your broken service.

I don’t see P2P calls being a cause for turmoil anytime soon. At the moment, there is far more risk of the FCC moving to a per-subscriber compensation model (away from the per-minute model), which would impact everyone’s VRS service, but shouldn’t itself impact P2P calls. There is also the risk of the FCC dropping the rate to a threshold below where providers break-even, which would mean people like me would probably lose our jobs and innovation in the industry would cease in favor of cost savings.

Heard interesting arguments over ZVRS and Sorenson. I had a chance check out the NTouch picture at a recent DeafNation Expo and was very amazed at the clear picture. That’s the reason I haven’t switched over to ZVRS yet. Does ZVRS have the same clear pix the NTouch has? Quality is so important to me. I would use any VRS provider technology that can display as well as NTouch. I haven’t received NTouch yet but once I get it, it would be hard to switch providers.

I also am a little discouraged at the crossfire all of us gets hit by because of the competition between ZVRS and Sorenson. It is pretty polarizing. I would keep Sorenson in my bedroom and then try ZVRS in my living room but is it allowed? That I wonder. Generally all I want in my NTouch because of the clear picture it offers and I am excited about that and it can block calls.

As a former Tech Support employee of Sorenson, and current user of both a VP 200 and a Z20, I do not get into the ‘who came out with it first or why does company x do this’. But what I have consistently told the local Sorenson Manager is, until you provide a product that meets my needs, I have to go with Z20. The Z20 meets all of my needs. It makes no difference to me what advertising or marketing mumbo-jumbo any company puts out. If the product meets my needs, I will use it.

Having worked for a VRS company for almost 3 years, it is normal practice to ‘push the brand’. That goes for any company you work for. You wouldn’t promote the Boston Red Sox if you were a New York Yankee employee would you ? However, I do agree that it sometimes goes overboard and toes the line of controlling you. We should be able to make choices as freely as we wish.

I learn that vp200 calling to nvp not work leave message only nvp to nvp , before they say can vp200 calling to nvp leave message, i notice no message. why they cover up talk about ntouch i don’t trust sorenson.

GO GO Z PRODUCT BEST ONE.

MyVRS.. I am surpised how you dare that ZVRS is bad.. I couldnt believe that. I am going unlike your page also unsubscribe this.

I agreed with you guys that ZVRS is a great products and service. I also like Convo too but not that strong enuff to handle calls.

MacFreak,

Relax! I think ZVRS SUCKS.

Go Sorenson! Go Sorenson! Go Sorenson!

to Oops –

ZVRS has
1Number
Zbox (flasher system)
Z4 Mobile
Contacts stored on server accessible by all Z products
VRI
Zalert
VCOplus
HolaVRS
100% certified interpreters

Sorenson has:
VP-200
Ntouch Mobile
Ntouch VP (which only works with other Sorenson products and no other)

With this kind of comparison, it is easy to see why many are switching!

Amy-

I saw the wonderful post you posted on Sorenson’s wall. Now it is all gone! POOF! Shows how dishonest they are and desparate too!!!!

VP-200
Ntouch Mobile
Ntouch VP
Ntouch PC
Nptuch table Ipad 2

SVRS IS FREE

ZVRS IS PAY not free zvrs want used money for pay for z20 is 995.00 and ojo n Z340 n 49.99 who have own ntouch or vp200 changed to z20 or 0jo or z340 for free .. not truth .

hovrs used free ..but p3 laptop pay

but hear zvrs still blurry things
not clear

NS,

I’m sure that you was misinformed about how NVP and VP200 works…. NVP only can leave the messages on VP200, not VP200. I do get the messages from NVP to my VP200 without any problems.

to wri7913 –

Correction:
Ntouch Mobile and Ntouch PC (which only works with other Sorenson products and no other)

I had Sorenson before… I have Z20 now. I not trust Sorenson because of their interpreter were very RUDE when i was in bad mood (NOT at interpreter) then an interpreter hang up without telling me why they have to hang up on me for no reason at all. I really LOVE z20 because it has very skilled cheileed (sorry at spell) interpreters that i only trust them. and I love it with OUT remote.. I am very easily lost them.. Remote not work then what i do?? STUCK till get new one. HATED IT. I am very enjoying with Z! You can make up your own video message that allows people to leaving you a message and would laugh at me.. LOVE IT. But have one problem is… Qwest not good work with Z because Qwest (CenturyLink) does not have high speed internet. Z would be work good with Opium… I can’t afford Opuim it is very expevsive. I only can afford is $40.00 every month it only cheapest and good. In my past vp-200 was getting bad bad bader then i had to switch it to z and still have my same number. i want to change it but z said i can’t. oh well. I do NOT NOT NOT trust these damned Sorenson anymore… someone had to warning me that sorenson will call me again again to begging me back but i only get 1 call that asks for your feedback.. I told them that i would prefer z because it has voice that would speak to hearing and me with interpreter with important call like SSA or etc. it real helpful if sorenson has it but sorenson have too much debts that why Sorenson are at loss of their customors and not quaifity…
Sorenson tell lied about Z and Sorenson’s history and said that Sorenson is the first one who developed.. no i not believe in that… Z is only one who is first one who developed! also P3 on computer is free too.
SORENSON ARE SUCKS! SORENSON ARE SUCKERS! STINKY SORENSON!

Hi guys,

I wanted to let u guys know to make SURE read the contract from ZVRS before installing. Because I came to find out that a person already had ZVRS , she wanted to go back to Sorenson, but she cant because she’s stuck with ZVRS for 12 months cuz there is a early termination fee… It will cost you 495.00. It is really UNBELIEVEABLE!!! Why does ZVRS has to penalize ppl for that while Sorenson doesn’t do that… Huh?!?

Sorenson requires you to sign the same contract, and has its own termination fee. Sorenson has this outlined in their nTouch product agreement:

http://www.sorenson.com/assets/pdf/Legal/ntouch_Software_Service_and_Product_Agreement_VP.pdf

Search that document for “ELF”, and you will see Sorenson’s early termination fee.

The Z product agreement is also posted publically for all to see. The clause you are referring to is section 2 paragraph D:

http://www.zvrs.com/about-us/the-z/z-product-agreement

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