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ITU Workshop: Telecommunications Relay Services for Persons with Disabilities

  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • November 25, 2011
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.

One very important mechanism to provide equal access for persons with hearing disabilities are relay services, where an intermediary typically provides a conversion typically between voice and text or sign language. An increasing number of countries are adopting the UNCRPD and will need advice on the provision of relay services. Also, it is expected that more relay services will be deployed in Europe with the passing of new versions of the Telecommunications Framework Directives; similar regulatory activity and increase in relay service offerings are also expected in other parts of the world. In developing countries, where higher percentages of the population face disabilities, the need for relay services is greater. At the same time, it should be noted that, as the Internet infrastructure develops, it may be used to provide high-quality relay services without the need to build services using older technologies. Finally, relay services today entail operation costs higher than those of normal telephone calls; technical and regulatory solutions are needed to reduce those costs towards the equal basis access to telecommunication services prescribed by the UNCRPD.

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.
The event aims to cover 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
The event is addressed to standards developers, relay service providers, end-user organizations, and regulators.
Contributions to the event
Anyone wishing to make a presentation during the event should contact the organiser,
Mr Bill Pechey (bpechey@computency.co.uk, (+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.
For further information, visit the ITU website: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/trs/index.html