VRS videophones/software being able to work with each other is known as “VRS interoperability”. Currently, certain videophones are not able to leave video mail with other videophones.

FCC on June 7, 2013 recommended to amend FCC’s rules to:

 “explicitly require that, if a VRS provider offers a video mail feature to its customers, the provider must ensure that video mail messages can be left by point-to-point callers who are customers of other VRS providers and are using access technology provided by such other providers.”

Philip Bravin of ZVRS filed a letter on August 14 with FCC saying:

“This year marks the 15th “anniversary” of the video relay service as we know it today. Looking back, we have made a lot of progress in partnership with the FCC, without whom the service would not be where it is today.

We look to the wireless industry as a “barometer” for functional equivalence. The ability to call between providers, to be able to port between providers and to transfer information such as contact lists from one provider to another, to be able to leave messages on any device from any provider is what I view as examples of what we ought to gauge the functional equivalence of VRS as a service.”

National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed a letter with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about “the inability to leave video mail messages with friends and family who use different videophones”. NAD in their filing on September 2 commented:

“The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is writing to express serious concerns regarding interoperability among video mail services. We have received numerous messages […] from members of our community regarding the inability to leave video mail messages with friends and family who use different videophones. This lack of interoperability seriously impedes our telecommunications access and our freedom to choose among video relay service providers.

We have reached out to several video relay service technology experts to better understand the barriers to video mail interoperability. It is our understanding from these discussions that video mail interoperability is feasible.

Sorenson Communications followed up with a letter filed to the FCC stating:

“Sorenson Communications is pleased to announce that its video mail soon will be interoperable with all standard videophones. Sorenson has developed a solution that it plans to launch before the end of the year.


Sorenson noted the need to use server-based routing for a general video mail solution, and reminded the Commission that it had not yet responded to a petition filed by Purple Communications in 2010 or a letter from Sorenson in 2011 seeking confirmation that providers may use server-based routing.


Sorenson’s solution must undergo further testing and Sorenson must complete the task of moving its nTouch endpoints to SIP, but Sorenson is confident that it has developed an interoperable solution that will enable all VRS endpoints to leave messages with Sorenson users. ”

Sorenson also indicated in their filing that they are aiming to launch support for interoperability in regard to video mail as of December, and anticipate the launch to be successful.

Claude Stout, TDI Executive Director, said, “We concur largely with the letter of National Association of the Deaf on the video mail interoperability issue.  Everyone that has a videophone, regardless of model/technology, must be able at any time to leave a video message with his/her contact information via VRS or peer-to-peer communication.  This will -move toward meeting our functional equivalency needs in interactive phone communication.  Many do not realize that this will make us more equipped to participate fully in the general mainstream.  This has been an ultimate goal for the TRS user community, and we cannot delay any longer.  We look forward to bringing this issue to a successful closure in the next few months with the Commission and the VRS industry.”

ZVRS’s filing with FCC: //apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7521759808

NAD’s filing with FCC: //apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7521826916

Sorenson’s filing with FCC: //apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7521827492