UK’s text relay app service relaunches

25 November 2019, 12:44

Relay UK app
Relay UK app. Picture: PA

Next Generation Text service is now known as Relay UK with a number of improvements to help people with hearing or speech impairments.

An app that helps people across the UK with hearing or speech impairments make phone calls has been relaunched with a new name and a number of improvements.

The Next Generation Text service provided by BT has been rebranded to Relay UK, offering a simpler set-up process and the ability to save conversations, allowing users to look back at their conversations.

Since launching in 2014, the Ofcom-regulated platform translates text to speech and vice versa with the help of specially-trained assistants.

The updated app also allows frequently used phrases to be favourited, meaning regular questions like a person’s home address can be easily added to the conversation.

Relay UK app
Relay UK app (BT/PA)

Despite technology improvements, 70% of deaf or hard of hearing adults say they are forced to ask a friend or family member for help making basic calls.

The BT and UK Council on Deafness survey of 129 people with hearing problems also revealed that almost 70% had to physically go to the stores because they are unable to complete a phone call with a business.

“There are currently 12 million people in the UK who experience hearing loss and using the telephone remains a big barrier for them to communicate with friends and family, at work, with health care providers, banks and other services,” said Jesal Vishnuram, technology manager at Action on Hearing Loss.

“Relay UK provides a vital text relay service to help people communicate by phone with the use of a text relay assistant in real time.

“This service can be pivotal in keeping people with hearing loss and deafness in employment, access healthcare including emergency services and other services as well as help keep them in touch with friends and family.”

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