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Pioneering video telephone system nominated for award

8 December 2010

The University's Centre for Deaf Studies is one of the partners of the project, REACH112, which has been nominated for the Inttranet™ Linguists of the Year Awards for 2010. The project aims is to make ‘telephones’ accessible for all people.

A project that aims is to make ‘telephones’ accessible for all people has been nominated for the Inttranet™  Linguists of the Year Awards for 2010.

The REACH112 project is designed to provide visual telecommunications to deaf people who wish to use sign language or text communication and to offer an integrated video and voice capacity for other groups who have difficulty with voice phones.

The Inttranet™  Linguists of the Year Awards recognise the struggle - and sometimes the personal sacrifice - of interpreters and translators who have helped increase public awareness of the importance of linguists and languages during the year.

The REACH112 project includes a range of services from person to person communication right through to 999/112 Emergency services, which adds video and real-time text to the calls (forming Total Conversation TC - a European telecommunications standard) so that integration with voice telephony is achieved. The benefit of adding video is that sign language, lip-reading and general face recognition can be used.  The advantage of real time text is that a rapid text conversation can be performed when one or both users have limited use of voice or video for communication.

Jim Kyle, Professor of Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Deaf Studies and one of the project’s partners, said: “Users will be able to see each other when they call, will be able to use interpreter relay services and from next year will also be able to reach 999 services directly.

"People will be able to use standard telephone numbers and will be reachable by textphone users and by hearing people who will be automatically routed to the interpreting service.”

The partners in the project include Vodafone (Spain), Siemens, Nokia and Orange, as well as Deaf and hearing organisations in five countries.  The emergency services are also partners.  The work is to be analysed and reported on as a pilot, which is of strategic importance to European policy making for future emergency service arrangements throughout Europe.  The project is supported by co-funding from the EC ICT PSP for €4.4m.

The winner of the Inttranet™ “Linguists of the Year” Awards for 2010 will be announced in January 2011.


Further information

A conference for all involved in video, text and voice telephony entitled ‘21st century telephony services for all’ will take place on Wednesday 8 December at the University of Bristol’s Burwalls Conference Centre, Abbots Leigh, Bristol.
Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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