ZVRS, AT&T, and Apple created iZ!

Hello everyone,

I was invited to a special party hosted by ZVRS at Hard Rock Cafe which is right across the street from Marriott Downtown Hotel in Philadelphia, PA on Wednesday, July 7th in the evening. There was a special demonstration of ZVRS’ newest product called iZ. iZ is a mobile videophone with video relay services specifically for iPhone 4 using their FaceTime program.

I regret that I didn’t see the demonstration, but judging from the people’s reactions, they were overjoyed and excited.

Roger Vass explained bit more about the product. Please see the video below.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/CyvvouoHY1g" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

It was a tremendous accomplishment for ZVRS to come up with a mobile videophone connected to the video relay services specifically for iPhone 4! That is the world’s first innovation ever, and especially it was developed very soon after the new release of iPhone 4.

I spoke with Chris Wagner, who is a Vice President of Marketing for ZVRS and I asked him how did this happen. Chris explained to me that ZVRS had a potential business opportunity with AT&T, and he added that Carl Gustin, former Chief Marketing Officer for Apple and Kodak is on the ZVRS board of directors. Carl challenged ZVRS to take the company’s innovation to the next level. Carl’s network with AT&T and Apple connected ZVRS with the right people to develop this exciting innovation. This happened so quickly, that the product will be released on July 26, 2010, as a part of the 20th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act.

ZVRS is currently a trailblazer for mobile videophone with VRS capabilities!

Congratulations, ZVRS and as an iPhone user (iPhone 3GS), I am CONVINCED to upgrade my phone so that I can use iZ program as soon I get back home from the NAD conference.

P.S. Karen Putz, of A Deaf Mom Shares Her World who works for ZVRS published her blog with more information and PICTURES of different people who tried this new product. Go and read her blog here.

Amy Cohen Efron

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27 comments on “ZVRS, AT&T, and Apple created iZ!

Hard to believe it! I wonder about the video quality with the iphone?

[…] mobile videophone with video relay services specifically for iPhone 4 and their FaceTime program. http://www.deafeyeseeit.com/2010/07/…le-created-iz/ But I still be disappointed about Purple P3. I will find out about it at Deaf Nation World Expo in […]

Hi Amy– I really enjoyed meeting you last night!

Roger Vass say ” Anywhere you can vp, it is wrong it will requires where it have WIFI.

Wait a minute, this requires WiFi to make a call using FaceTime. This is in the fine prints in the apple website! It is not the true “anywhere” yet.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DeafRead, Lola Lee Beno. Lola Lee Beno said: Apple partners with ATT and ZVRS to create mobile videophone w/video relay svcs – iZ. http://bit.ly/cQ8BWM […]

[…] video relay services, which allows deaf users to place relayed calls to regular phones. Read more: Deaf World as I See It about July 8, 2010 4:40 PM – by Chris Foresman […]

[…] Let you know all that ZVRS are unveiling a new Mobile VRS for iPhone soon!! Here's the link! DEAF WORLD AS EYE SEE IT ZVRS, AT&T, and Apple created iZ! Apple and ATT partner to assist Deaf with iPhone 4 and FaceTime. AppleInsider | Apple, AT&T […]

But, will it support traditional VCO or VCO Plus?

[…] Read More: Deaf World as I See It […]

Let you know that iPHONE 4 looks like VP screen that it is required by the WiFi at home or coffee restaurant or somewhere which it is provided the WiFi. If the WiFi is not there, the iPhone 4’s screen won’t work. The screen to screen is required by the WiFi, let u know that!!!! Smile.

Interesting and innovative use of technology to really make a difference in peoples lives.

Check out the idox Traveler case/stand to communicate hands free!


Victor Mohoney

have iphone 4 at ATT…. too much money to pay bill :/ SORRY SIR………

Dear Amy, just wanted to let you know that we linked to your site in our post covering the ZVRS/iPhone 4 news. If you’re ever interested in covering accessibility topics on the iPhone, please give me a shout. We’d love to serve this segment of the user community, and are actively looking for someone to handle this “beat” for us. Best, Adriana

I understand Zvrs will work with Apple/AT&T to creat iZ software in the near future. Well, you know AT&T has not good signal. Many people who own iphone, want to swipe to verzion.

Other the hand, I wonder if iPhone 3GS will support with iZ software????? Just curious

Newspapers announced that consumer reporter does not recomemd to buy iphone 4

Anywhere??? Not really, it has to be connected via WiFi.

Sure it is mobility but not anywhere – WiFi is a MUST otherwise, you cannot be connected on FaceTime.

Just letting you guys know… iPhone 4’s FaceTime does require WiFi, at this moment! AT&T and Apple now is working together to create 3G on FaceTime to work. They will be released, but don’t know when.
Also, I am sure that AT&T WILL improve their 3G and future 4G coverages as they expands, due to sales of the iPhone 4’s!

Smiles, cheers to the deaf and hard hearing Americans. (I am from Canada :)).

[…] but seems they weren’t home, dangit. Amy Cohen Efron attended and she posted about it – ZVRS, AT&T, and Apple created iZ! RIT/NTID also had an invite-only event where we had light foods and met the College Bowl […]

I need to know if there is any special program discounts for iphone or verizon that supports vp on cellphone??? Please contact me right away. Thanks~!!!!

Good question… AT&T has TAP program that you can apply for a service discount. Iphone works with AT&T right now. I am not too sure about Verizon.

You need to purchase iPhone4 to have VRS program.

Good luck


Actually I went to the launch party for ZVRS in Las Vegas. I was extremely disappointed by this new iPhone 4 service. My wife and I both have an iPhone 4 and we were really looking forward to this release.

ZVRS has intentionally and almost completely mislead all of us in the following points:

– Where’s the app? iZ isn’t an application it’s just a phone number to dial ZVRS on your iPhone. At the launch party before the announcement the representatives there kept telling me there will be an app released on July 26th. After the demo even the reps were confused. Ultimately I learned there would not be an app at al. WTH?

– Since there is no iPhone app, I was appalled by the method ZVRS used to create this “service” it is VRS on iPhone in the most basic form, mostly a manual process. You have to call the number 866-32FACE-1. Then once you are connected to ZVRS via FaceTime you have to give them a phone number to dial. Did we jump back into the early 2000?

– You have to dial a real number using the iPhone’s phone app. This is serious ignorance on ZVRS’s part in requiring us to actually call a phone number using our iPhone that actually connects and counts against your cellular minutes until the FaceTime invitation arrives. Once you connect via FaceTime you’re safe on the WiFi network and won’t be billed for minutes. Most of us Deafies are on TAP plan, this means that for every call you will be charged $0.40 per minute. If you have regular plans your minutes will be used till FaceTime is initiated. So your VRS calls will not be free, each time you call ZVRS you will be CHARGED AT LEAST $0.40 (TAP plan)!! No thanks.

– ZVRS claims to be the first to bring VRS to iPhone. They really wanted to be the first, even at the cost of total B.S.. They were the first to say they were the first but failed to deliver an actual product first. As far as I know InterWest Relay was the first to release an iPhone app that is actually available in the app store and by the way their app does not touch your cellular minutes at all, AND you don’t have to manually give the interpreter the number you want to call. Far more impressive (I don’t work for IW Relay, I discovered them in the LV Expo nice new company).

-There have been a lot of hype about ZVRS, AT&T, and Apple “partnering” to bring iZ to the deaf community. I saw no evidence of this relationship. In fact, this is a joke, absolutely ANYONE can do what “iZ” does overnight without a “special partnership” with Apple and ATT. In order to truely manipulate FaceTime Apple needs to open the API to allow developers to integrate it into their apps. This hasn’t happened yet and most other VRS providers are waiting for this. I thought that with the “partnership” Z was able to tap into the API with special permission… Nope.

– ZVRS claims that you can call “anytime and anywhere” calling this the “true” mobile VRS. This is where I was also expecting the “special partnership” with Apple and ATT to come in. I was hoping that they somehow opened the door for 3G calling which enables true mobility. At the launch party I was really hoping for this or at least some kind of agreement for a cheaper plan for the deaf or something that puts a stamp on the partnership. Nothing, and umm, most of us considers WiFi pretty limited. They need to re-evaluate their definition of Mobile because this isn’t quite there yet.

So that’s my personal opinion and review of iZ. Don’t get me wrong, I’m VERY GLAD someone is working on this and have some kind of option. I just think that ZVRS just really blew it out of proportion here, over hyped something that’s pretty much barebones. The party was great though! But the thing they announced was lazy, misleading, and even severely disappointing. I think they’ve really lost such a great opportunity. Yes they made it possible for VRS on iPhone but all they’ve done was make their competitors go, “That’s it? We can do that tomorrow! But we won’t we’re going to completely do better.”

I talked to a lot of other providers at the expo about the iZ, none were impressed and promised to do much much better. Before the launch, many admitted that ZVRS was lucky to have some special connection with Apple and ATT but at the end of the week they are all scratching their heads and rolling their eyes. Sorry ZVRS, being first isn’t always best.

John M.

Why no response from Amy? =(

[…] Cohen Efron of Deaf World as Eye See It wrote about Wednesday’s event on her blog. She said that Carl Gustin, former chief marketing officer with Apple from 1988 to 1994 […]

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