The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted conditional certification to a telephone captioning service using automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology for those who are hearing challenged.
In a Memorandum Opinion and Order issued in early May, the FCC’s Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau granted conditional certification to MachineGenius, an internet protocol captioned telephone service (IP CTS) that functions entirely based on the use of ASR technology. The MachineGenius service uses an application, called Olelo, that can be downloaded for use on mobile devices and smartphones that are Wi-Fi or mobile-data enabled, and which can then be used by hearing assistive devices and accessories.
According to MachineGenius, the Olelo application delivers ASR-generated captions to users with a degree of accuracy comparable to captioning services provided with the use of communications assistants. This claim was borne out by independent testing of the application by the Commission’s research contractor, that determine that average word error rates with MachineGenius’ Olelo application were significantly lower than captioning provided by communications assistants in various call scenarios.
The Commission’s conditional certification serves to verify that the MachineGenius service meets or exceeds the standards required for compensation under the FCC’s Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, subject to further verification against TRS standards.