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 Wednesday, 13 July 2011

ITU is calling for contributions to a workshop on relay services for persons with disabilities. The event will take place at ITU Headquarters, Geneva on 25 November 2011.

Relay services allow people with disabilities to communicate with standard telephone users. Communication may be made by speech, text, video or any combination. Video connections are particularly important for those who wish to use sign language. Modern relay services are making increasing use of the Internet, which permits a much wider range of communication terminals for users with disabilities. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and normal desktop PCs have all been used and more devices will appear in the future.

Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) promotes the use of ICTs to enable full participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life, on an equal basis with others. It requires governments to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to communications and information technology. The increasing number of countries adopting the UNCRPD will need advice on the provision of relay services and this workshop aims to meet that need. ITU-T Question 26/16 is currently studying relay services with an aim to advise in those areas through ITU-T Technical Papers and Recommendations. In this context, the workshop is intended as a forum where ideas, problems and good practices can be shared. Existing and future relay service suppliers will be able to share experiences with governments, regulators, standards makers, user groups and users; the outcomes will be fed into the Q26/16 studies.

This workshop will address the following topics:

  • Experience with operation of relay services, both positive and negative
  • User requirements
  • Performance parameters
  • Innovation in the design or implementation of relay services
  • The use of relay services to access emergency services
  • Regulatory aspects
  • Funding of relay services
  • User experiences that have improved the lives of persons with disabilities
  • Good practices on improving awareness of relay services.

Anyone wishing to make a presentation during the event should contact the organiser, Bill Pechey, (, +44 1491 681236) by 31 August 2011 at the latest. Requests will be honoured based on speaking slot availability and thematic consistency.  Contributions on other topics relevant to the theme may be accepted.

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