Viable Opens VRS Call Centers Across Maryland

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ViableVRS call center opened in Ellicott City, MD. Call center locations in Frederick and Baltimore counties planned for early 2008.

Viable Inc., a provider of video relay services (VRS) for deaf and hard of hearing people, has opened a call center in Ellicott City located a few miles from the Columbia campus of the Maryland School for the Deaf. Viable also plans to open call centers in Frederick and Baltimore counties.

"We opened the Ellicott City call center in response to increased demand from ViableVRS customers," said John T.C. Yeh, president and founder of Viable. "Callers who choose ViableVRS can continue to expect fast response times when they make VRS calls."

In a VRS call, deaf and hard of hearing people for whom American Sign Language is their native language use video technology to connect to a Video Interpreter (VI), who will dial out to another party then interpret their conversation. The VRS caller simply signs what he or she wants to say and the VI signs back what is voiced on the other end, and as with any telephone call, the conversation goes back and forth and proceeds until either calling party hangs up.

"This is an exciting time for the local interpreting community," said Alan Abarbanell, who manages all ViableVRS call centers. "Our VIs do more than just facilitate VRS calls. Viable has a community interpreting program that enables VIs to retain their community ties and fill interpreter requests at locations such as doctor offices. Our Ellicott City call center aims to serve deaf and hard of hearing residents of Howard County as well as ViableVRS callers throughout the country."

The Ellicott City call center is fully staffed for business hours but operations will expand in January 2008 to include off-peak times. Persons interested in employment opportunities at Viable's Rockville and Ellicott City offices as well as the upcoming locations in Frederick and Baltimore counties are welcome to visit the Jobs section at the company website.

About Viable Inc.
Viable provides next-generation video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing persons that can be accessed wherever there is Internet or wireless connectivity, opening them to a world of communication possibilities. Founded in 2006, Viable is a private, deaf-owned company, and the majority of its employees are deaf and hard of hearing and are personally vested in the innovation and development of the company's products and services. An online press kit and further information are available at    

About Telecommunications Relay Services
Mandated by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, telecommunications relay services (TRS) enables individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to achieve functional equivalence by accessing telephone systems to place or receive calls through an intermediary known as a relay operator or relay interpreter. Emergent IP technology has given rise to video-based solutions, which are known as video relay services (VRS). VRS options include using a webcam or a videophone to connect to a video relay interpreter, and allow deaf and hard of hearing callers for whom sign language is native to fully achieve the ideal of functional equivalence.

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Glenn Lockhart
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