Monday, October 03, 2005

Technogy Makes Life Better

This weekend I visited the home of an 84 year old deaf woman named Bertha. She's been deaf all of her life and all of her friends are deaf. Deaf people of all ages are into technology; they've been using fax machines and TTY (text) phones for years and younger folks are heavy into text messaging on cell phone and computer. Of course, the older ones are mostly cautious and only adopt new technology when forced to or when the benefit is so clear that they can't possibly live without it. Well, such a technological advance has just taken place and even old set in their ways seniors are flocking to it. They've found a new technology that whose benefit is to obvious that they've just got to have it. It's the Video Phone.

Video phone technology is really neat. There's an IP phone with a built-in camera that connects to your television. The IP address is associated with your phone number, so your friends can call you up using your regular phone number. The most difficult part for the seniors using these phones is navigating through the menus using the remote control. For younger people this probably isn't an issue. It's the prevalence of high speed Internet that made this happen. Now that everyone has access to DSL and Cable Internet, the video is clear as crystal and there's no lag. On a 36" television, it's like you're sitting in the same room with the person you're talking to.

For the deaf this technology is wondrous. Conversations flow so much easier when you can see the person talking, using American Sign Language. No more typing. No more faxing. Well, almost no faxing. Bertha's daughter is a good friend of mine and she's a gadget freak that works in IT for a local non-profit. She's set up her mom with troubleshooting faxes. If Bertha makes a call and the person on the other end is having some difficulty figuring out what buttons to push on the remote, or if her family didn't configure the phone properly, Bertha faxes them the appropriate troubleshooting sheet which contains step-by-step directions and they're conversing on the video phone in a matter of minutes. Bertha's not only become a lover of this new technology, she's also now the default troubleshooter in her senior group!

I love seeing the appropriate use of technology making someone's life better.


At 12:32 AM, Blogger Rick Jones said...

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At 9:39 AM, Blogger Amy - Harbor Computer Services said...

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