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Purple Communications Unveils SmartVP, Game-Changing Communications Platform for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals

Purple Communications, Inc. today unveiled SmartVP -- a videophone that combines the latest in technology on an intuitive platform with a wide array of smart applications and features that will transform how deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals communicate. Click here for high-resolution version

ROCKLIN, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 2, 2013) - Purple Communications, Inc. today unveiled SmartVP -- a videophone that combines the latest in technology on an intuitive platform with a wide array of smart applications and features that will transform how deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals communicate.

As the first videophone to feature true HD quality and a range of other smart features, SmartVP provides users with crisp, clear and almost life-like video conversations through their televisions. By simply pressing one button on the SmartVP remote, users can make a call using video relay service (VRS), allowing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to connect directly with each other or communicate with hearing people in real-time via American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters.

Purple partnered with Tely Labs, to develop SmartVP. Based on the award-winning telyHD™ video calling device, SmartVP was built on the Android operating system and features an HD camera with a wide-angle lens that can send and receive video up to 720P HD from one SmartVP to another. "We are very proud to partner with Purple on the SmartVP to deliver HD video communications to the deaf and hard of hearing in a way that's fun and easy to use," said Sreekanth Ravi, president and CEO of Tely Labs.

With a phased approach, Purple will rollout SmartVP market-by-market using a one-on-one installation process to ensure customer service and quality. For more information on SmartVP, visit www.purple.us/SmartVP.

"The deaf community has a history of embracing new technologies that improve the quality and flexibility of their communications. Today, we're excited to begin unveiling SmartVP as the next-generation of video communications for people who are deaf or hard of hearing," said John Ferron, Purple's president and chief executive officer. "We've been delighted with early feedback from our customers and how impressed they are with the functionality and ease of use of SmartVP when compared to other options in the market. We're excited to begin sharing SmartVP with customers as we begin our regional rollout."

SmartVP is the first videophone to feature applications. Through SmartVP's sleek, transparent interface, users can access the apps at any time, even during a call. They can check out select YouTube channels, stay up-to-date on weather, order pizza through an exclusive Yellow Pages® app, or find the closest show times for captioned movies through the Captionfish app. The platform is also equipped with a full deaf movie library.

SmartVP includes two 360 degree bright flashers and is compatible with Sonic Alert® so users never miss incoming calls, even when in another room.

Katie Leclerc, actress in the ABC Family drama Switched at Birth and Purple's new spokesperson, will work closely with the company to inform deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals about SmartVP. Leclerc, who suffers from a genetic inner ear disorder called Meniere's disease, is ASL-fluent.

"I'm so proud to be working with Purple and see their authentic commitment to getting their products just right for customers," said Leclerc. "SmartVP is an amazing videophone and besides all the wonderfully unique features for the deaf consumer, it's also just very cool! I know my deaf friends will definitely want one as soon as it comes to their area!"

"Our goal at Purple is to deliver an exceptional video relay service experience for our customers on any screen they want to use; PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone or TV. SmartVP fulfills our five-screen strategy and goes well beyond simply allowing customers to make video calls from their televisions," said Tony La Rosa, Purple's chief technology officer. "The inclusion of relevant applications and features that make calling easier, including 911 emergency services, set SmartVP far apart from competitive options in the market today and give us a platform that is rich for further innovations."

Other SmartVP innovations include:

  • Yellow Pages: Look up local businesses and then save the phone number to the contact list or instantly call the number directly on the SmartVP.

  • Single phone number: SmartVP and all Purple products use a single phone number, allowing users to be reached on the same number at home, at work or on-the-go. Other VRS providers require separate numbers for different products.

  • Powerful remote control: With one touch, users can begin a phone call from anywhere in the room thanks to a powerful yet easy-to-use remote.

  • Entertainment center and apps: Smartphones go beyond simply making a call by incorporating apps and entertainment. SmartVP will become integral to customers' lives with powerful apps, such as Yellow Pages, a deaf video center, YouTube channels, local weather and the ability to search the latest playing captioned movies using Captionfish.

  • Simplified contact lists: Contact lists are shared across multiple devices and the contact information can be updated online -- both firsts for VRS users. Users can save up to five numbers for one contact. Rather than arduously scrolling, users can type the area code to locate a number or add friends and family they call the most to a favorite contacts list immediately shown when signed on. Plus, contacts can be pulled up while on the call.

  • PurpleMail: SmartVP features PurpleMail™ -- a message system that allows users to have a personal outgoing message in ASL and receive messages from callers in ASL.

  • Text chat: During the call, the ASL interpreter can type out important information, such as addresses or phone numbers, from the hearing caller which can then be sent to the user's email. Similarly, the deaf party can type out information for the interpreter to relay to the hearing caller. To ensure privacy, the text chat is subsequently erased from the interpreter's screen.

  • Multiple users: Multiple users, such as spouses, roommates or family members, can easily switch back and forth between accounts without logging out. For privacy, a personal identification number (PIN) can be set to limit access.

  • Voice carry over (VCO): Built-in speakers and microphones for voice carry over (VCO) allow a deaf individual who prefers to use his/her own voice when making a call to speak directly to the caller.

About Purple Communications, Inc.
Purple Communications provides a high-quality video relay service (VRS) available from multiple platforms -- TV, desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. VRS is a free service for deaf and hard-of-hearing customers who use sign language to communicate via video conference and a video interpreter (VI). The VI voices/relays the signed conversation in real-time to both deaf and hearing individuals.

Purple's portfolio of solutions spans across telephone captioning services, text relay services, on-site interpreting services and video relay interpreting (VRI) delivering a wide array of options to meet the varied communication needs of businesses and customers, collectively make communicating with both the deaf world and the hearing world accessible to all. For more information, visit www.purple.us.

About Katie Leclerc
Leclerc can currently be seen in the role of Daphne Vasquez on ABC Family's Switched at Birth, which premiered in summer 2011 and will start its summer season June 10, 2013. You can read her full biography at http://www.katieleclerc.com/.

About Tely Labs
Tely Labs, a Comcast ( NASDAQ : CMCSA )-backed venture company was founded in 2010 by the successful entrepreneurial team of Sreekanth Ravi (President and CEO) and Sudhakar Ravi (CTO). Tely Labs is a pioneer in simple, secure and affordable video communication and collaboration systems that fundamentally change the way people communicate. The company's products are used extensively in enterprise conference rooms, remote offices, SMBs and healthcare facilities worldwide. For more information on Tely Labs, visit www.tely.com.

About Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS)
Created by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS) is a telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. There are a variety of types of relay service including video (VRS), text and captioning services. TRS is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories for local and/or long distance calls at no additional cost to the consumer. The Telecommunications Relay Services program is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and providers of such services are compensated for the costs of providing TRS from either a state or a federal fund. For more information related to TRS, visit www.fcc.gov/guides/telecommunications-relay-service-trs.