And now the hard of hearing perspective.
What in an emergency barriers hard of hearing experience. I want to welcome 1 expert. Wouter Bolier. Who is representing, sorry, give the hard of hearing perspective. Wouter Bolier, a warm welcome.
Wouter Bolier: Little soundcheck. Can everyone hear me?
Okay. I would like to thank the organisation for inviting me here for this talk today. Next slide.
The title of my presentation is: Accessibility of 112 for deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblind people. In the Netherlands I work as a project manager for 7 associations of hard of hearing and deaf people and people with speech or language development disorder. I work on topics like interpreting services, citizen alert systems, telecommunications and emergency number 112. About 112 I will talk to you about mostly today.
In Europe, for example when your house is on fire or when you are at a terroristic attack such as in Maelbeek, you can call 112 to get help from police, ambulance or fire rescue. How do you do it when you are deaf or hard of hearing?
So, before I left to Brussels here today I looked it up, what would be my options to call 112 as a person with a CI. I found this in Belgium. An app with a chat option. That might look like a good idea. When you look at it more closely you find it is only available in Belgium. You must download, install and register the app first. This is a unique app. It could take 2 minutes to complete. Chat is not a good option for people who cannot read good enough or for deaf persons who have sign language as their only language. You might wonder, is there something better? Well, indeed there is a better solution. It was mentioned in the first presentation. Total conversation. That is not my idea, but it was being proposed by Reach 112. This was a big project partially funded by the European Commission. The mission was to implement an accessible alternative to traditional voice telephony that should be suitable for all. In the fields from telecommunication and emergency services investigated what could be a good way to contact 112 for people with a disability. And they came up with total conversation as a good solution.
So, what exactly is total conversation? Total conversation is a standardized concept where you can use video, text and speech at the same time in a phone call. That’s why it fits people with disability as well as all.
I wanted to show a little movie. Instead of explaining everything about total conversation. I need a little help, who has the computer?
No one? Okay. I will continue. Total conversation which you can use video, text and speech. You can choose sign language, text, speech. Or any combination. It is also in Nexes one of the key points.
So, with regards to Total conversation, it is nice to mention that in 2011 the European Parliament adopted a written declaration on the need for accessible 112 emergency services.
For this declaration the European Union of the Deaf and the European Federation of hard of hearing people lobbied for this with success. This declaration calls on the Commission to make 112 accessible and promote the use of Total conversation.
So, we have a technology, Total conversation and a written declaration. Now the next step would be to implement total conversation in the member states. That is what we did in the Netherlands. In 2012, our telecommunication act was adjusted, implementing total conversation following European directives on universal services, relating electronic communication services. This is also better known as the Universal service directive.
As a direct result, since 2013 in the Netherlands you can make phone calls using a sign language interpreter or speech to text interpreter using Total conversation.
But how about 112? What I started with.
In the Netherlands you can contact 112 in 2 options. The first is the telecom interpreting service I mentioned. This is for deaf sign language users. It is 2 years ago, we have the option of directly making a call to 112. Using speech or text. Of total conversation.
The 112 operator will respond to you with text.
So, that looks good. Doesn’t it? But, the telecom interpreting service in the Netherlands has limited opening hours. This means you cannot contact 112 in sign language 24/7. At night.
Also user tests have shown that with the direct option call, there are technical problems. So you have a risk of disrupted or even no contact with 112.
So, in the Netherlands our government promotes 112 with the slogan: If every second counts. Als elke seconde telt. But it is not the case for people who are deaf or hard of hearing or deafblind or have difficulties speaking. We still have a lot of work to do. Thank you very much.
The video. Can be shown. This is about Total conversation.
As I still have some time left. But I’m done. Thank you very much.
Mark: Thank you very much.
Again very good time keeping skills. Thank you very much Wouter to give the 112 perspective and the challenges.