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July 5, 2006

Sorenson and Intrado Partner to Provide Emergency 911 Video Relay Service

From: TMCnet (press release) - Jul 5, 2006

By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

A partnership has been announced between Sorenson Communications, a provider of services and technology for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and Intrado, Inc., a global supplier of integrated data and telecommunications solutions. The partnership was formed in an effort to provide an emergency 911 video relay service solution to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

The Intrado (News - Alert) Private Call Center 9-1-1 provides technology that allows Sorenson Video Relay Service (VRS) users to place immediate and reliable emergency calls into the 9-1-1 system via a customized application. Deaf callers seeking to place an emergency call through Sorenson VRS will have access to the Intrado Private Call Center 9-1-1 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Those users calling on the Sorenson VP-100 and VP-200 videophone making 911 calls will have their phones immediately recognized by Sorenson VRS for prioritized handling.

Emergency 911 services for the deaf community is a matter of great concern and is consistently brought to the attention of government and industry leaders as an issue of public safety. Longtime deaf advocate Larry Fleischer noted that he applauds Sorenson Communications for taking the lead in the industry and investing the necessary resources to make this offering possible.

Fleischer also commented that other VRS providers should establish similar services, enabling anyone who needs immediate help in any emergency situation.

Using Intrado Private Call Center 9-1-1, Sorenson’s VRS 911 calls are immediately dispatched to the appropriate local emergency services, including ambulances, police and fire stations.

Sorenson VRS customers are also able to communicate directly with a Sorenson video interpreter via American Sign Language (ASL) instead of dialing 9-1-1 through a text telephone (TTY). The interpreter is able to relay the caller’s location information, quickly identifying and transferring the call to the correct public safety answering point (PSAP).

Stephen Meer, Intrado’s chief technology officer and co-founder acknowledged that Intrado is pleased to be working with Sorenson to support the specialized emergency calling needs of its customers and together, the companies are providing the deaf and hard-of-hearing community with reliable emergency calling service.

Pat Nola, Sorenson Communications’ president and CEO contributed that Sorenson is proud to be the first VRS provider to offer a secure and reliable911 solution for its customers. With Intrado Private Call Center 9-1-1, the company is ensuring improved support for routing and managing emergency calls.

Nola added that the deaf community has the right to have access to emergency services through VRS and with Sorenson’s important current advances, offering ongoing improvements will be possible in the future.

While Sorenson does offer customers a static videophone number, rather than a dynamic IP relay address that can change and is difficult to track on emergency calls, the company did not address the reliability of the video phones and its services in the event of a power outage.

Save for a few details that have yet to be addressed to ensure this solution is as reliable as promised, the concept itself is one that addresses critical needs in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Sorenson and Intrado should both be commended for their work in addressing this segment of the American people and providing services that can enable first responders to reach these individuals quickly.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

© 2006 Technology Marketing Corp.