Yes, I am back! This issue is so important for me to stop my long time hiatus from blogging/vlogging.
Disclaimer: I am working for DWS/ZVRS. For this blog, I am speaking myself as VRS consumer.
Sheri Ann Farinha posted a powerful vlog on Facebook demanding VRS companies (all of VRS companies) to work on interoperability issues.
Sorenson Communications is the company who can receive videomails from Sorenson devices only, and Sorenson can send out videomail messages to other VRS companies’ devices. HOWEVER, All other VRS companies (ZVRS, Convo, Purple, CAAG, and etc.) cannot send their videomail messages on Sorenson devices. Phil Bravin, also known as Dr. Z from ZVRS wrote a letter to FCC about this issue.
That is the major issue going on right now.
Farinha created an hashtag, #VRSInteroperabilityNOW and encourages VRS consumers to call FCC at this videophone number: (844) 4-FCC-ASL / 844-432 2275 to file a complaint over the videophone.
I wanted to let you know of what was Sorenson’s excuse. I asked the local Sorenson representative about the videomail. The response was:
Sorenson believes in creating software that is “deaf-friendly’ and we do not believe accepting other VRS companies’ software from Mirial. We do not want to compromise our quality products and software for our customers.
One of the Sorenson’s employees posted a video on Facebook claimed that Sorenson were following all of the rules with FCC, and is always innovating new features. This employee mentioned that any technological advancements may result compatibility issues and blames that other competitors who does not want to spend time and money to make upgrades on their systems, thus complaining to the FCC with hopes that it will ‘slow down’ innovation.
Basically, Sorenson is confirming that their video mail feature is superior and ‘deaf friendly’ than other VRS companies.
And… John T. Nakahata Counsel to Sorenson Communications, Inc. wrote an ex-parte letter to FCC on November 14, 2013 about the meeting on November 12, 2013 on interoperability issues.
The Commission should not, however, order providers retroactively to ensure videomail interoperability for H.323. Doing so would cost millions of dollars and would require at least a year of intensive engineering work to transition two-thirds of Sorenson’s customer it is quite possible that by the end of 2014, Sorenson would be ready to switch to the new SIP standard—which is expected to address point-to-point interoperability, videomail interoperability, contact-list portability, and more.
Finally, the Commission also must understand that the SIP-standardization process requires provider resources, and after the impending rate cuts, there will be few if any resources left. If the Commission wants to ensure interoperability, it needs to adopt rates that are sufficient to keep providers in business—and that means implementing auctions sooner than contemplated by the June 2013 VRS rate order.
Basically, Sorenson is telling FCC to not cut rates, and want rates increase so that they can upgrade their software to follow the new SIP standard which ensure interoperability, including point-to-point, videomail, and many more.
I want you to be aware about something.
Sorenson is now rolling out the newest upgrade for their nTouch products, with 11 (ELEVEN!) newest features! They are now beta testing…
1. Avatar – adding avatar/picture on Sorenson’s dashboard, and can see other person’s avatar/picture profile on the contact list.
2. Call transferring – within your phones, or other person’s phone. If you have someone calling you using your iPhone or Android device, but you are at your friend’s house. You can transfer this call to your friend’s Sorenson phone with a larger screen, and your phone number will be shown, not your friend’s.
3. Personal greetings – it comes with three options: Sorenson’s Lady greeting, Personal greetings with text information, and No video greetings, just text greeting information.
4. Private keypad – by using Sorenson’s remote or computer keyboard – to send private information or help with phone tree instead of telling to the SVRS interpreter.
5. Text feature – Sending texts using home address, or information to SVRS interpreter in advance before making a call.
6. Phone number/contact information retrieval – while online with someone. No need to hang up to copy someone’s contact information. It can be pulled up when you are online with someone.
7. Texting (both way) – consumer can upload textual information to VRS interpreter, and VRS interpreter can send text back to the customer. No more manual writing on white board and showing to the customer.
8. Greetings – it has two options for interpreter to say greetings when connected to the party. For example, “The caller is using sign language, and I will connect you.”
9. One number system – if you have few Sorenson devices, and it can be consolidated into one number.
10. USB flasher – when call comes in. Has enable/disable option.
11. VCO – one line or two line. Option not adding landline phone for VCO.
OKAY. Eleven cool features. Time and money spent developing these features. These features can help to retain their loyal customers.
And… Sorenson is asking FCC not to cut rates, so that they can have more money to develop videomail feature. Why didn’t they add videomail feature as one of their 11 new features?
Sorenson receives federal money to support their business and to remain competitive. Sorenson did not allow their videomail feature to be compatible, therefore they are denying our right for functional equivalency.
All I can say at this time….
Call FCC at 844-4-FCC-ASL (844-432-2275)
Amy Cohen Efron