Haneke Design and client ZVRS (The Z®), a leading provider of video relay service (VRS) to deaf and hard of hearing Americans, have been collaborating for several years on mobile applications that have given deaf consumers unprecedented communication opportunities by turning their smart devices into mobile videophones. The Z4 mobile app, which gave The Z’s customers access to sign language interpreters in its call center and enabled them to make video calls on their Apple and Android smart devices, was awarded Mobile Product of the Year by DeafTechNews in 2012. The newest native Android version of the app, the Z5, offers a more streamlined, customized experience for users of smartphone and tablet devices and supports all of Android’s latest operating systems.
“With each successive version of the Z mobile application, our goal is to ensure that the users – regardless of which device they happen to be using – are having an optimal experience and are able to communicate as easily and effectively as possible,” said Jody Haneke, president of Haneke Design. “With the Z5 version for Android, we’ve added features including the mirror view, which allows users to see what the camera is looking at when they are using sign language and determine if the party receiving the call can see their hands clearly.”
The Z5 mobile app allows deaf and hard of hearing people to make and receive point-to-point calls to/from any videophone, as well as make and receive calls to hearing people using video relay service (VRS). It features a clean, simple graphic interface design that makes it easy to communicate with friends, family and business contacts—hearing or deaf—anywhere WiFi, 3G, or LTE is available.
The app’s integrated “Contacts” address book includes phone numbers stored locally on the user’s Android device, as well as those contained in his or her Z profile account. By using the “Favorites” feature, users can quickly find frequently dialed contacts by setting them apart from the rest of their directory, and even customize contacts by adding avatars.
Other features of the Z5 for Android include video mail, digital whiteboard, VCO Plus and HolaVRS.
To use the app, one needs to select a number from his or her contacts list or by manually dialing the number desired. If it’s a ZVRS or VCO Plus call, the video interpreter will establish the video session and connect to the hearing caller. If it’s a point-to-point call, the user will connect directly to the other caller’s videophone.
“This latest version of the Z5 mobile app for Android has succeeded in incorporating the latest features that iPhone and iPad users enjoy but that had been missing from the Android versions,” said Lydia Runnels, vice president of product development for ZVRS. “Now both our Android and Apple users can have the same exceptionally high quality experience when using Z5. Our ongoing collaboration with Haneke Design has helped us innovate new features that keep us ahead of our competition and continuously improve the service we offer to our customers.”
About CSDVRS, LLC (The Z®)
The Z, a for-profit company headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, was spun out from Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), a non-profit corporation, in 2006. Of the company’s 400 employees, 60 percent of the full-time employees are deaf or hard of hearing, including four members of the executive management team.
The Z™ is certified by and operates under FCC regulations and is remunerated for VRS calls processed from the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund. For more information about The Z, please visit www.zvrs.com.