TDD part 2
Facilities currently available to deaf people:
a) Real-time text conversations (textphone, videophone, MSN etc)
d) Video communications (either through mobile phone or broadband)
e) E-mail (also video-mail)
t) Information retrieval (such as the Internet) and its chat system
Useful services have been introduced:
a) TextDirect relay service – this makes it possible for a Deaf Person to communicate with anyone anywhere anytime in the world.
b) Text enquiry service – a deaf enquirer can find out a person’s telephone number if they have their name and address.
c) Text emergency service – this is similar to the 999 service, but it is run through the TextDirect service.
There are many issues that we need to be aware of:
a) Identification - it is not easy to be sure that the person at the other end of the (TDD) call is the right person.
b) Privacy - how would the deaf caller know if the person at the end of the line is the only person reading what s/he is typing?
c) Cost of using text communication as opposed to voice communication - When a TDD user types a message, it is seven or eight times slower than when the same message is communicated through speech. This was identified by BT, who set up the Text Rebate Scheme with the RNID.
d) Confusion of different types of calls - normal call or fax call - if a deaf user has a TDD and a fax machine on the same number, it can be confusing when a call comes through.
In the future, mobile communications will be the main method of telecommunication for the majority of Deaf people - they will not need to have separate equipment. Deaf people will be more mobile and be able to control their lives much more effectively. Video phones are also the next step, although call charges are still very expensive. When the charges are reduced, then we might see an end to the text based devices currently used.
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