I am so excited by the idea of using video messaging to showcase the very visual language of ASL in ways that can help the Deaf Community connect more easily.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) October 04, 2012
Growing up the only member of his immediate family who is not Deaf, Lloyd Roin saw firsthand how challenging it could be to communicate in a hearing world. Today, Roin is channeling those life experiences into a new business venture with a focus on using technology to support communication within the Deaf Community. He is one of four founding members of E-View Connections LLC, the Chicago-based developer of Engage, an app that connects the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community through ASL video messages specific to each mobile user’s GPS location. In addition to Roin, the founders of E-View include Edwin Layman, Daniel Gruber, and Nathan Hoffberg.
In the early 1960s, Roin's father and a group of Deaf friends sold surplus teletype machines enabling telephonic communications between Deaf households. Mr. Roin’s keen interest in technology drove him to continuously seek the newest advancements in communication devices, such as the Skytel pagers that offered early versions of text messaging. Over the years, Roin saw how important each new communication tool was to his parents and siblings, yet he always felt there was something missing. His passion for improving communication tools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing peaked when he discovered MMS messaging in Europe that transmitted video via wireless phone.
Roin realized that he and his family use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language in the home. Yet, most of the contemporary communication tools they rely on use written English. Things such as texting, Twitter, and Facebook have been breakthroughs for the Deaf Community. But none allow communication using their preferred language – ASL. Until now, with Engage.
“I am so excited by the idea of using video messaging to showcase the very visual language of ASL in ways that can help the Deaf Community connect more easily,” said Roin from the E-View offices near O’Hare Airport. “Engage came together because of the creativity and tenacity of our whole team. From the founding group to our first few employees, everyone has contributed in ways that are truly changing the way technology is used in the Deaf Community.”
Subscribing members of the Engage app (http://www.engagebyeview.com) receive video messages on their smart phones related to their current location. So, when a subscriber is close to home he/she will know what’s happening there, but when traveling for a weekend, the subscriber receives alerts relevant to the new location. All of this happens without the subscriber making any adjustments to their app settings!
“We’ve engineered Engage to run in the background on a subscriber’s phone and keep that person connected to announcements and social activities within the Deaf Community regardless of where they are at the time,” explains Roin. “This app works best when those same members submit news and events so we can share those items with all users in a particular region.”
Another critical element of the Engage app is its ability to send Emergency alerts based on a user’s location. The text alerts “wake up” a user’s phone and grab attention through a series of red flashing screens and vibrations.
“Just the Emergency Alerts alone are a breakthrough for everyone I know and love in the Deaf Community,” says Roin with emotion. “My mom can’t hear those tornado sirens when they go off, but now I feel confident that she will be alerted effectively when there is some imminent danger…no matter where she is.”
The free Engage app is available through the App Store for iPhones; Google Play for Android phones; and Blackberry App World for recent Blackberry phones. E-View is vested in supporting the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community through development of cutting-edge technology, sponsorship of Deaf activities, and providing equal access to jobs for individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. More information about E-View and the Engage app is available at http://www.engagebyeview.com, 888-223-9348 for voice phone, or 773-796-6669 for video phone.
Additional information about E-View and the Engage app, as well as interviews with Lloyd Roin, Edwin Layman, Daniel Gruber, or Nathan Hoffberg (the founders of E-View), are available by contacting Maureen Fitzgerald Penn at maureen(at)pennandink(dot)com or 616-889-1218 (voice phone).
Check out our ASL video overview of the Engage by E-View app: http://goo.gl/QQO56