New York -- Hal Krisbergh’s WorldGate Communications Inc. has found a unique potential market for its new “Ojo” videophones -- the deaf.
Among those attending a WorldGate investor and media briefing here were executives from Aequus Technologies LLC, a company that provides translation services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.
Aequus CEO Richard Schatzberg said the firm is considering a large purchase of the Ojo, currently priced at $700 apiece. While he declined to discuss details of the potential purchase order, he said the Pine Brook, N.J.-based company could use the videophones to help deaf people make phone calls.
The plan: Aequus would supply deaf customers with videophones. Hard-of-hearing users could either use the videophones to communicate with each other directly using sign language, or a deaf person could have a conversation with someone using a traditional phone with an Aequus sign-language translator -- also equipped with an Ojo videophone -- relaying the conversation.
The videophones -- coupled with translation service, which can cost $8 per minute -- aren’t cheap. But Schatzberg said the Federal Communications Commission could pay the service fees for deaf Ojo users.
Through its universal-service fund, the FCC spent more than $30 million on video-relay services in 2003, he added.
For more on WorldGate’s Ojo, please see Steve Donohue’s story on page six of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.