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August 28, 2003

Motion Media video phone for deaf people in Norway

From: Telecom Paper (subscription), Netherlands - Aug 28, 2003

The Norwegian Government has announced that Motion Media is the supplier of choice for its scheme to provide free desktop videophones to every young deaf person in Norway, and that the qualifying age limit has been extended up to the age of 26.

This follows the success of extensive trials of Motion Media's mm225 videophone, which runs over ISDN lines, by the Norwegian Ministry of Social Affairs, and the positive feedback from a project established by the Norwegian Association for the Deaf, which has seen every deaf child in Norway up to the age of 18 entitled to a free trial videophone, for the past year.

The Government Department has now announced its decision to make the provision permanent and extend the age limit for the provision of free videophones to 26 years, so that a larger section of the deaf community in Norway can communicate via a video link using sign language.

The videophones have been supplied by Motion Media's Norwegian distributor, Teknisk Marked AS, who have been instrumental in supporting the testing and trial period. Motion Media's ISDN mm225 videophone has also been integrated with a vibrating paging system that alerts deaf people to a video call.

As part of Norway's social security system, the Ministry of Social Affairs has responsibility for providing solutions for people with special needs, including the deaf, either for free or at a heavily subsidised cost if there is a proven need.

Arild Berstad, project leader at the Norwegian Ministry, said: "We selected Motion Media as our preferred supplier after rigorous testing of their videophone product to ensure it met with our requirements.

"User feedback from the past year has shown that compared with other videophones, Motion Media's mm225 is one of the best desktop videophones on the market for private use. The mm225's picture is sharper and brighter than other videophones, it incorporates higher quality software and is easier to use. In terms of camera, screen, software and price, the mm225 is probably the very best available."

"Our long term goal is to stimulate the development of sign language amongst young deaf people in Norway. Videotelephony will also provide a communications network for young deaf people who are spread out around the country to ensure they do not become isolated and lonely. This is another step towards the integration of videophones as a way of enabling deaf people to communicate with each other - our ultimate aim is to offer the technology to all deaf people in Norway."

"Motion Media's mm225 remains our first choice when giving a videophone to a deaf person and we will continue to recommend the mm225, pointing out the advantages of using this type of videophone."

Helen Say, Marketing Manager of Motion Media, added: "The success of this project demonstrates the potential of videophones as a social communications tool. We have received high levels of interest from deaf organisations as videotelephony opens up communications for the deaf population, whether in social, business or education environments.

"Motion Media's status as preferred supplier to a Norwegian Government department reflects the company's increasing global reputation as a leading edge provider of videocommunications solutions."

The Norwegian Ministry of Social Affairs is also using Motion Media's videophones in a current work-based project to launch a remote interpretation service for businesses using qualified sign language interpreters, which it hopes to launch nationwide in 2004.

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