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February 5, 2004

Hands On Expands Video Relay Service With 2nd Call Center

From: PRNewswire (press release) - Feb 5, 2004

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Increasingly Use High-Tech Communication Service

ROCKLIN, Calif., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Hands On Video Relay Services Inc., has selected Vancouver, Washington, to expand their video relay call center operations. This will be the second VRS (video relay service) center for HOVRS, which also operates a VRS center at their headquarters in Rocklin, CA. With the addition of the Vancouver call center, HOVRS customers will experience better service and lower average response time.

Video Relay Service is offered as part of the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS), a service mandated by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). VRS allows a deaf or hard of hearing person to connect visually with a sign language interpreter to place telephone calls.

"It is very clear that deaf and hard of hearing people are beginning to discover this remarkable tool. VRS demand is growing rapidly and HOVRS is proud to be expanding into Washington. In an age of offshore outsourcing, HOVRS turned to Washington State as the source for these critical jobs. We found competitive and skilled sign language interpreters, which are a critical resource for our company," said Ronald E. Obray, president and CEO of the company.

HOVRS also announced that the company has begun discussions with the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, of the Department Of Social and Health Services, about providing Video Relay Service to its residents. Washington State is interested in increasing consumer choice in Video Relay Services by partnering with HOVRS.

"The expansion of Hands On Video Relay Services in our state is yet another example of why Washington is a great place to do business," Governor Locke said. "Job creation is one of our top priorities and we're proud that they've decided to build such a key facility in our state, and will be providing quality jobs for the Vancouver area."

HOVRS' state-of-the-art Video Relay Center will be located in Vancouver, Washington, located just across the river from Portland, Oregon. The center will employ approximately 30+ people and is expected to be operational this spring. HOVRS is well-known for its high quality video interpreters. The company chose Vancouver because of the availability of highly skilled interpreters in the area.

How It Works

For customers using VRS, HOVRS offers a VRS platform utilizing its custom-designed and built video compression software, VideoSign® 2.0. This free software program is available for download at VideoSign 2.0 has features that make VRS more efficient and easier to use than other available products. VRS users will benefit from the enhanced video quality offered by VideoSign 2.0.

Users go to the web site and launch VideoSign to connect to the Video Relay Center. A live interpreter will appear on the screen. Users will tell the interpreter the phone number they wish to call, and the interpreter will interpret the call in sign language. This allows for a faster and smoother flow of communication. This also allows deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate in their own natural language.

About Hands On Video Relay Service, Inc.

Hands On Video Relay Service (HOVRS) and sister company, Hands On Sign Language Services (HOSLS), have provided ASL interpreting services and other services to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing communities for over fourteen years. Founded by a 20-year veteran of the sign language interpretation industry, both companies employ dozens of nationally certified ASL interpreters. It is the company's mission to provide 24/7/365 video relay and interpreting availability. HOVRS and HOSLS Mission Statement reads "Our mission is to enhance effective communication to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing communities by breaking down barriers while utilizing high quality communication services that our customers can trust and depend on." Additional information about the company can be obtained on its website:

Source: Hands On Video Relay Services Inc.

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