Saturday, 14 December 2019

BT Helps Deaf People with Free Relay UK App

BT’s Next Generation Text Service (NGTS), which since 2014 has been run on behalf of all UK landline or mobile phone providers and helps people with hearing and speech difficulties to communicate over the phone, has today been rebranded to Relay UK and upgraded to provide new functionality for users. 

The Ofcom regulated service simply translates text to speech and vice versa with the help of a specially trained Relay Assistant based in one of BT’s contact centres around the country. The new Relay UK app similarly enables a user to easily make a call based on their own accessibility needs. The user can connect to a call by selecting one of three options: Type and Read, Speak and Read, or Type and Hear. 

As before the new app is free to use and is available to UK mobile customers, although users will still be charged the standard rate to make a call as determined by their call plan. Relay UK supports Android v6 upwards and iOS 10 (iPhones etc.) upwards. A desktop version to replace the NGT Lite app for Windows PCs and Macs will be available during 2020. Relay UK is available in English only. Katherine Ainley, MD BT Ventures, said: “How we use technology to connect with each other has changed rapidly in recent decades, and this simple service transforms the calling experience for the estimated 12 million deaf people in the UK. 

We know from conversations with the community that bad telephone experiences are putting people off from using the phone to contact businesses, which can make certain services inaccessible. We’re urging businesses to alert frontline staff to the service and download our helpful Relay UK Business Toolkit, which includes educational content about the service – and what to expect when taking a call from one of our Relay Assistants. We hope that by downloading the toolkit, businesses will be able to provide a seamless call experience for their deaf customers.”

Get the App HERE.

Angelina Jolie Stole deaf superhero idea from me!

Angelina Jolie's deaf former employee claims that the A-list actress stole a movie idea from her, and that she was treated 'like a second class citizen' during her three years of employment.

Jolie, 44, employed Antoinette Abbamonte to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to two of her six children between 2016 and 2019 in California. Abbamonte, 53, who also works as a film producer/actress, tells DailyMailTV that the Maleficent star 'looked down on her' and stole her idea of creating the first ever deaf superhero for the upcoming movie Eternals, set to release November 2020. 

'I thought that [Jolie] was stealing my ideas to paint herself like she is helping the world,' Abbamonte said.   Angelina Jolie, employed Antoinette Abbamonte to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to two of her six children between 2016 and 2019. Abbamonte now claims Jolie stole her creative ideas 

On September 13, 2019, Abbamonte's attorney Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, sent an official demand letter to Jolie's legal team, claiming intellectual property theft. The demand letter states: 'It appears that you expressly solicited the idea of the Deaf Superhero from Antoinette and commercialized it together with Marvel Studios and Disney without compensating Antoinette.'

The letter also calls for Abbamonte to be given credit as well as be compensated for her idea, which she submitted to Jolie, seen in emails obtained by DailyMailTV.  In a telephone conversation conducted through an ASL translator, Abbamonte, who now resides in California, said: 'She [Jolie] treated me like a second class citizen.'