Viable Wins Best of Innovations Honors at 2009 CES for VPAD+

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VPAD+ honored for design and innovation at world's premier electronics event

Best of Innovations

We are thrilled that the VPAD+ has been recognized on its design and technical merits. We had more than a hundred deaf and hard of hearing persons test the VPAD and provide us with feedback on its design and usability, which resulted in the VPAD+. We have always known members of the deaf and hard of hearing community were the right people to help us develop a videophone.

Viable returned from the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as the winner of an award honoring the VPAD+ for excellence in product design and engineering.

The VPAD+ is a WiFi and touchscreen videophone designed for deaf and hard of hearing people who use video relay services (VRS) and improves upon the VPAD, which launched at the 2008 CES. Design enhancements to the VPAD+ include built-in WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, dual USB ports, Web broswer support, and advanced touchscreen response.

Viable, a deaf-owned, deaf-operated provider of VRS, developed the VPAD+ based on customer feedback on the VPAD. Said VP of Technology Jason T. Yeh, who is deaf, "We are thrilled that the VPAD+ has been recognized on its design and technical merits. We had more than a hundred deaf and hard of hearing persons test the VPAD and provide us with feedback on its design and usability, which resulted in the VPAD+. We have always known members of the deaf and hard of hearing community were the right people to help us develop a videophone."

The VPAD+ received "Best of Innovations" honors for the Telephones category during CES in Las Vegas from January 8-11, 2009, beating out entrants from high-tech companies such as Panasonic. "These Best of 2009 Innovations award honorees represent the most inventive design and engineering-focused consumer technology products available on the market today," said Gary Shapiro, President of the Consumer Electronics Association, which produces the annual CES. Best of Innovations winners are determined by a panel of engineers, independent designers and journalists and the awards are endorsed by the Industrial Designers Society of America.

The VPAD+ is a lightweight, standalone VoIP videophone featuring a 10.2" monitor with touchscreen response, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, and dual USB and audio/video in/out ports. Primary uses include peer-to-peer videoconferencing with sign language users and with sign language interpreters specially trained to handle VRS calls. Other possibilities with the VPAD+ include using it as a digital photo frame and as a monitor for gaming systems. The VPAD+ is currently available for retail at http://www.viable.net and is interoperable with 10-digit telephone numbers.

Since winning the Best of Innovations award, the VPAD+ has been featured in AOL's switched.com, Dave Graveline's "Into Tomorrow" Internet show, PCWorld.com, butterscotch.com, websites of tech bloggers and reviewers, as well as websites operated in Australia, Canada, France, India, Qatar, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the U.K.

Deaf and hard of hearing people interested in buying a VPAD+ must first register a Viable Number at http://www.viable.net/product/myviable and enter personal information for verification of U.S. residency and 911 emergency response. Customer Support representatives fluent in sign language are on standby to help process Viable Number registrations from Monday-Friday from 9 AM - midnight EST and Saturday-Sunday from 9 AM - 5 PM EST:

  • VPAD: Click on "Help" then "Live"
  • Viable Vision: Click on "Help"
  • Videophone: help.ViableVRS.tv
  • AOL IM: ViableHELP
  • Email: help at viable dot net

Please visit the VPAD+ product page at http://www.viable.net/product/vpad and VPAD+ FAQs at http://www.viable.net/support/faq/vpad to learn more about the VPAD+.

About Viable, Inc.
Viable develops videophones and provides next-generation video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing persons, opening them to a world of communication possibilities. Founded in 2006, Viable is a private, deaf-owned company, and many employees are deaf and hard of hearing and are personally vested in the innovation and development of the company's products and services. Visit http://www.viable.net for further information.

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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