OpenCloud to launch real-time text/talk app in UK

An innovative real-time talk-by-text application for mobile devices that is helping a Dutch charity enhance communication and information provision to those with hearing problems could soon be winging its way to Britain.

And, OpenCloud, the company behind the technology has confirmed that it has already found a hosting partner in the UK and is in active discussions with a number of businesses here about deploying the offering, although it would not be drawn on exact timescales.

Unlike traditional messaging mediums such as SMS, MSN or email, the application, which is powered by a JAIN SLEE standards-compliant service logic environment in the form of OpenCloud Rhino, transfers each letter from the sender to the recipient in real time, keystroke by keystroke.

By making use of real-time communications, service providers like telcos will be able to create and deliver richer services, both telephony-related and in other verticals, and increase profitability, according to OpenCloud.

Initially the application, which will be demonstrated at next month's 3GSM Congress in Barcelona, is available for mobile devices but there are plans to extend its reach to cover PCs with internet access.

AnnieS, a charity named after Helen Keller's teacher Annie Sullivan, for the deaf and hard of hearing based in the Netherlands is already making use of the technology, which was developed by TNO Information and Communication Technology and is supported by Dutch telco KPN.

The charity, which supports around 100,000 people with hearing impairments living in Holland, is using BlackBerry devices to access the application and will reinvest any profits it makes from the revenue-generating service back into supporting its mission.

Raymond Kruyer, the chief executive of AnnieS, has already started working with the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) about how the UK deaf community, which totals almost nine million people, can benefit from the communication technology.

"A key driver behind me developing the mobile talk-by-text application was seeing how both my deaf parents were unable to grasp modern technology because it was not suited to their disability," said Kruyer.

"I believe the real-time service will help the deaf and hard of hearing worldwide integrate fully into mainstream society."

Stephen Newton, chief executive of OpenCloud added: "By supporting the real-time application in Holland, we are initially helping a disadvantaged section of society but the potential to positively impact business and end users worldwide is huge.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.