On Thursday, October 16, we gathered with the Rochester Deaf community at Lovin’ Cup to re-define lights. We were warmly welcomed and for RIT alums CEO Jarrod Musano and CUX Wayne Betts, Jr., it was like coming home.

Lovin’ Cup is an artsy cafe located on RIT campus. The assistant manager there also happened to be a Convo interpreter! Working with the Lovin’ Cup staff to make Re-defining Lights happen was a wonderful experience and their food was divine. They also served Convo cappuccinos. Call us biased, but we thought that they looked really cool.

All of us had such a grand time meeting new faces and catching up with old ones that it was almost difficult to get the show started! Once Wayne took the stage, however, everyone immediately averted their eyes to the living room setup, ready to see how lights would be re-defined.

“Who here still has a lightbulb that looks like a fire alarm when it gets incoming calls?” Wayne asked the crowd. Dozens of arms shot up.

For something that had such a tremendous value to the Deaf community, our lighting technology has been incredibly limiting… until now. Wayne proceeded to introduce a better solution for our ringing experience: Convo Lights.

“I always thought that my ideal ringing solution belonged to the world of The Jetsons, but then Philips came out with Hue. That technology allowed our dreams to become real,” Wayne said. “Our team designed Convo Lights with our lifetimes of Deaf experiences. We knew when the design felt right.”

Wayne shared a story that happened when he and Jarrod flew to The Netherlands for Philips Innovation Experience Expo recently. After giving Convo Lights demos, he had a hearing person come up to him and ask if he could have Convo Lights for himself. Wayne told him that the technology was available for Deaf people only.

“It was the first time the Deaf community was ahead in technology,” Wayne mused.

We wanted to share the joy we experienced with Convo Lights, so we had three giveaways! Congratulations to the winners that night: Karen Bieter, Sarah Gordon, and Lorne Farovitch.

Rochester, thank you for being wonderful! We hope you had an illuminating time re-defining lights with us. We know we did.

Learn more about Convo Lights at convorelay.com/lights.

 
 

Talking About Art with David Call

September 12th, 2014

“Let your inner soul be your guide,” David Call says. It is the message that he tries to teach his students at school. It is also what he practices at home. His personal studio is small, but the walls have a powerful energy. It feels as if his artworks capture the inner joy and struggle of so many Deaf individuals.

David’s students often learn to look deep within themselves to find their own individual messages through their art, too. He believes that art can express what we can’t say in ASL or English.

We loved filming David and capturing his work and message in action. We were blown away with his interpretation of Convo Portal! What do you think of it?

To see more of David, check out his website and enjoy the fun questions that he answered for us below!

So long!

 
 

For the second summer now, Camp Mark 7 Deaf Film Camp was a smashing success! This 2-week program for 12 to 16-year-old campers was taught by the finest group of Deaf experts in the film industry. The final project for the campers was to create a music video.

You might have seen last year’s production, starring Azora Telford and the campers of ’13. This year, the song chosen was the popular “Happy” by Pharrell. Azora makes a return in this video, and that’s not the only thing you’ll love about it!

If this music video put a smile on your face, you’re not the only one. It got media attention everywhere in the U.S. Check out the coverage in Elite DailyHuffington Post, and Entertainment Tonight! Some international media outlets even posted this music video on their sites! We feel incredibly proud to be a sponsor for Camp Mark 7 Deaf Film Camp.

Did you catch some familiar Convo faces in the music video? See below for who gave back to the Deaf Film Camp this year and to find out what makes them happy.

“What makes me happy is coming home from work to see my wife, Sophie.” (Fun fact: Wayne and Sophie met during Deaf Film Camp last year!)

-Wayne Betts, Jr., Chief of User Experience.

“The kids at CM7′s spontaneous thinking makes me happy!”

-Braam Jordaan, Director of Creative Marketing.

“Opportunity and equality are what makes me happy!”

-Azora Telford, VP of Interpreting.

Wayne, Braam, and Azora worked closely with the campers and taught them the magic of filmmaking. There are two more people who contributed  behind the scenes that we can’t forget!

“Making anyone smile makes me happy!”

-Jay Kowalcyzk, Media Specialist. Jay assisted with the equipment recommendations.

“Seeing something that I built grow makes me happy. Also, the smiles on the kids’ faces!”

-Jarrod Musano, CEO. Jarrod has served on the Board of Camp Mark 7 since 2011.

Exciting times lie ahead for Deaf Film Camp. The program recently released a brand new website and will be offering its first-ever Advanced Film Camp, coming this October! On a final note, we are thrilled to announce that we are officially sponsoring Camp Mark 7 Advanced Film Camp for October 2014 and Deaf Film camp for Summer 2015!

What makes YOU happy? Tell us here!

 
 

Connect, a business magazine based in New York, interviewed CEO Jarrod Musano about Convo’s contribution to the Deaf community. This article talks about Jarrod’s personal experience as a property manager, which required a lot of communication, in the days before VRS and how the rise of VRS helped him succeed in his job.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I rose in the property management business as VRS took off. I always knew I had the potential to do and be more, but the technology had to catch up.” said Jarrod. Because he experienced the impact of VRS in his business firsthand, Jarrod is passionate about making a difference in the Deaf community with Convo.

Click here to read the full article.

 
 

On Tuesday night, July 8th, we hosted an intimate unveiling of Convo Lights in DC. We could not wait to share with the community our latest innovation which we believed would put the experience of receiving calls on a whole new level! We had huge grins on our faces (and butterflies in our stomaches) as we set up for the unveiling and our wonderful caterer, Chef Matthew O’Varanese, prepared his appetizers and wine.

Not only was the event to unveil Convo Lights, it was also to celebrate our 5-year milestone. It has been one heck of a ride, none of which would be at all possible without the support of our community, so we were grateful that they came out to celebrate with us that night.

After the guests had their fill of finger foods and mingled sufficiently, the unveiling began. The show started with Wayne Betts, Jr. reminiscing on Convo’s journey thus far, which led to this question: What is our future? Our answer was Convo Lights. This brand new feature, which incorporates Philips Hue technology, creates a seamless call experience that is integrated within your home and workspace. Convo Lights is smart technology that you can use to customize incoming calls with colors of your choosing and decide where you want the lights to brighten up in your house and workspace.

The best part of the night was when we got to see the reaction to Convo Lights firsthand!

We had a wonderful night. The positive support that we received, from the people at the event and from the response on Social Media, is what drives us to always challenge ourselves in improving the overall VRS experience, for you and us both.

We also want to thank The Signing Group for making the event at Wonder Bread Factory possible and to announce an exciting new partnership!

Our photographer of the night, Heidi McNulty, snapped many great shots. Click here to see more!

On a final note, please enjoy this video of the unveiling by iDeafNews.

p.s. Convo Lights will be available in our new Convo Mobile update starting tomorrow! Click here to learn more about Convo Lights.

 
 

We are thrilled to see this progress with FCC ‘s efforts to provide transparency for the Deaf community. If you have any questions for FCC or would like to file a complaint, you can now call them on their ASL Consumer Support Line on VP at 844-432-2275 or 202-810-0444. Click here for more information.

Thank you, FCC. We look forward to continuing to improve the communications between the Deaf community and the government.