Direct video calling (DVC) is the name given in the USA to the customer support of Deaf and Deaf-blind people by Deaf call center agents using American Sign Language (ASL) and Real-time Text.

Direct Video Calling

Direct video calling (DVC) is the name given in the USA to the customer support of Deaf and Deaf-blind people by Deaf call center agents using American Sign Language (ASL) and Real-time Text.

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has encouraged the introduction of direct video calling by large enterprises.

To deliver direct video calling, call centers must be augmented with video and real-time text workstations. The agent workstations should also be capable of conferencing in a hearing person and an ASL interpreter in cases where the Deaf call center agent needs to refer to another person in their organization to provide the information needed by the Deaf or Deaf-blind customer.

There are about 210,000 VRS user videophones registered on the US iTRS database, but the database can only be accessed by the video relay service providers in the USA. If a hearing individual who signs ASL wants to call a video phone registered on the database they must be granted a waiver. Deaf organizations support the concept of DVC.

T-Meeting offers a solution for DVC applications in the USA that does not need access to the iTRS database.

Key attributes of the T-Meeting solution are:

  • It uses a proven, high-availability, cloud-based platform for total communications (audio, video and real-time text) relay services with its basis in ITU-T F.703;
  • The cloud platform can currently support up to 500,000 users;
  • The advanced SIP-compliant agent workstation TM-PC Pro that runs on MS Windows;
  • A statistics and reporting system that is configurable to deliver customer requirements;
  • All coding to fulfill the numerous ITU-T and IETF recommendations and standards needed in a SIP total communications system supporting desktop and mobile devices has been done in-house.
  • No free, open-source software has been used anywhere in the T-Meeting system because of the demonstrated poor reliability record and vulnerability to attack of open-source software in telecommunications relay service applications;
  • T-Meeting is a licensee of the H.264 HD video codec from MPEGLA. It also uses Google’s VP8 and VP9 video codecs.
  • VRS videophone users have an internet connection and therefore are likely to have another internet-connected device for email etc;
  • Microsoft does not support WebRTC in Internet Explorer and Apple does not support WebRTC in Safari prior to the release of iOS11. Although there are purported workarounds to these restrictions using plug-ins, they can be nullified at any moment by an operating system upgrade from Microsoft and hence do not represent a stable solution deployed to serve potentially hundreds of millions of consumers;
  • WebRTC is supported in the full version of Chrome downloadable to Windows PCs and Android devices (Chrome is installed on about 60 per cent of internet-access devices);
  • T-Meeting supports WebRTC using Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, including HD video, and Safari on Apple devices with the IOS11 operating system.

The T-Meeting solution is deployable immediately.

In co-operation with Communications Service for the Deaf (CSD), T-Meeting offers a complete solution including center fit-out, recruitment and training of Deaf call center agents, center management as well as the communications platform according to individual customer requirements.