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Leading ICT Standards Group, Gallaudet University Announce Friendship Agreement

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The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leading association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of high-tech communications networks, and the Technology Access Program (TAP) of Gallaudet University, announce a Friendship Agreement to facilitate communication regarding standards development for performance and accessibility for communications products.

As an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited standard development organization, TIA develops standards used to increase accessibility. Gallaudet University is the world’s only liberal arts university where all programs and services are designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. TAP, one of Gallaudet’s research centers, conducts research related to communication technologies and services, with the goal of producing knowledge useful to industry, government, and deaf and hard of hearing consumers in the quest for equality in communications.

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Notable TAP projects include the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and an FCC contract with VTCSecure, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and TCS Associates, to improve interoperability and access to video relay service client software. TAP also is working on a project with AT&T to explore voice call quality requirements for people who are hard of hearing. Other work includes advising consumer advocacy organizations and the FCC on Internet captioning of content shown on television and posted to the Internet, text-to-911, video relay services technology, hearing aid compatibility, the transition to IP telecommunications networks.

“Standards are a critical tool for easing the use of communication equipment for those with disabilities,” said Stephanie Montgomery, Vice President of Technology and Standards for TIA. “This agreement provides a great opportunity for TIA to exchange ideas with TAP as we work to develop and maintain voluntary standards used to increase accessibility.”

“On behalf of TAP, we are thrilled to have officially signed the Friendship Agreement with TIA,” said Dr. Christian Vogler, director of TAP. “TAP and TIA have been collaborating for many years and this agreement will help strengthen our relationship. We both understand and support the critical need for equality in communications. The TAP team is excited to see how our research and expertise will benefit manufacturers, suppliers of telecommunications networks, and the deaf and hard of hearing community nationwide.”

TIA’s Performance and Accessibility for Communications Products Engineering Committee (TR-41) develops and maintains voluntary standards for the performance and accessibility of communications products. The products addressed by TIA’s standards include telephones with handsets, headsets, and speakerphones, communications gateways, and other products that are typically installed at the user’s premises. The standards cover requirements for a product’s performance related to signal transmission, environmental impacts, interfacing to networks and other equipment, accessibility, and usability.

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