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October 29, 2012

Aculab to Improve Services for Individuals with Disabilities


By SIP Trunking Report Contributing Writer



People who suffer from speech and hearing disabilities have to deal with many inconveniences many of us take for granted. These inconveniences are highlighted when there is an emergency situation when clear communication is vital for the caller and the emergency responder. The collaboration between Aculab and NENA has led to the 9-1-1 Association, designed to improve available technology for this segment of the population.


NENA participated with 22 companies at the 5th Industry Collaboration Event (ICE 5) in the safety and technology sector to test and provide products for organizations who advocate for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech disability to improve emergency services through 9-1-1. As technology improves smart devices, they are more able to communicate the needs of disabled users with increase accuracy. By training emergency responders and 9-1-1 operators with incoming rich data from disabled individuals, communities will be able to provide the same of level of service to all their citizens.

The next generation of 9-1-1 labeled NG9-1-1 will be replacing the voice-centric system currently being used by municipalities across the world. The new system is designed to accept data from anyone using text messaging and other multimedia communications. New communication tools used to help individuals with hearing and speech difficulties will be enable them to interact with less difficulty.

The participants at the event were in agreement in implementing new sets of technologies that will ensure compatibility, reliability and stability with quality call accepting capability across all media platforms.

“The real promise of NG9-1-1 is the system’s capability to provide truly equal access to 9-1-1 for all people, irrespective of one’s primary means of communication. It is therefore essential that all new technologies seamlessly and intuitively interface with each other, requiring a thorough and rigorous testing process," said NENA President Barbara Jaeger, ENP.

The Real-Time Communications Lab at the Illinois Institute of Technology School of Applied Technology hosted the event, in order to test 9-1-1 systems and consumer related products. This conference resulted in future developments for accepting information for adapting legacy systems to NG9-1-1, video compression algorithms for American Sign Language users, text and TTY emulation as well as many other improvements. Aculab will provide expertise in deployment of telephony products including delivery of mulitmodal voice and data across different network platforms.

 “Being involved in the planning and enjoying the cooperation of others in the lead up to ICE 5, I congratulate all participants on the level of collaboration that prevailed throughout. The joint testing provided us with valuable information, ensuring GroomerII will continue to be able to play its significant part in enabling access to Next Generation 9-1-1 for all including those with hearing- and speech-related disabilities," added Ian Colville, product manager at Aculab.




Edited by Jamie Epstein