Voice: 866-505-7008   |    Video Phone: 816-527-9079   |   Don't Worry, We're Open!
A ROUTE 66 Adventure

A ROUTE 66 Adventure

A ROUTE 66 Adventure

Talk to Me America: Bridging the Deaf and Hearing Face to Face Communication Gap.

sComm has a lot of firsts in our 11 year history.  Here is another one!

Jason Curry, CEO of sComm, the maker of the UbiDuo 2 communication device, is set to drive down the historic Route 66 from St. Louis, Missouri to Amarillo, Texas on October 5 – October 15.  He will have a UbiDuo 2 in the front seat.  What better way to travel and meet people along the way than to use sComm’s UbiDuo 2 communication device for those down-to-earth conversations?

This trip is not just about driving down Route 66 and learning about America’s history but it is the opportunity to be able to talk with the people we meet who have lived and worked along Route 66. We can easily do that using the UbiDuo 2, a go anywhere, talk to anyone communication device.  It is about meeting America.  Nothing is more Americana than Route 66 with its vintage service gas stations, vintage cars, the Mom-and-Pop stores, quaint motels, the garish and flashy billboards, and classic diners tucked away like a time capsule. Combining those historical spots with the smell, feel, and taste of food and drink found in small towns and Main Streets adds to that extra Americana dimension.  Often people who are deaf miss getting to hear those stories.  Not this time with the UbiDuo 2.

The whole communication concept behind the UbiDuo 2 is simple and straightforward. It is used as a crucial communication bridge between a deaf and hearing person without the need to rely on a 3rd person to help with the communication.  Some may opt using the paper and pen method but it is guaranteed to be slow with its short and impersonal conversations while each person takes turn reading and writing their responses.

With the UbiDuo 2 communication device, the communication is instantaneous while typing to each other. Communication is done in real time. No need to hit the return key to send out a response. Just sit down and type out your conversation. It becomes a genuine face to face conversation allowing each other to see their conversations in real time while watching each other’s facial responses and body language.

This is no different than seeing two hearing people talk to each other with their voices. It is the same for the UbiDuo 2 communication device when the “talking” is done in real time by typing to each other. Why use a 3rd party to help with the face-to-face communication when both the deaf and the hearing person can use the UbiDuo?   Just sit down, open up the UbiDuo 2 communication device that comes in with two halves with its own screen and keyboard, turn it on, and 3 seconds later you’re ready to communicate. No Wi-Fi connection is needed. Connection is done wirelessly. It does not use the internet. It is a dedicated communication device meant for one thing, the clear, 100% accessible communication between a deaf and hearing person.

Come and join us, and follow our Route 66 adventure. Who knows what we will learn from the people who live and work on Route 66? We get to hear their stories and they have the chance to communicate with a deaf person using the UbiDuo 2 communication device for the first time in their life.

The original plan was for Jason to drive his navy blue ’67 Mustang that he bought with his paper route money back in Junior High.  He has kept that Mustang to this day and is having it restored.  The restoration is not complete but it will be when he begins driving another section of Route 66 next year.

But now……..follow us along and enjoy the stories of those we meet and communicate with on Route 66!  The UbiDuo 2 is going to make that possible.

10%/90% Face-to-Face Communication Between Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing

10%/90% Face-to-Face Communication Between Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing

10%/90% Face-to-Face Communication Between Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing

Isolated

Back about 12 years ago, I remember how extremely miserable I was in my job as a Financial Analyst with the Federal government.  I was totally isolated with no relationships with anyone.  I was dependent on an interpreter or a CART writer for face-to-face communication.  That happened about 5% to 10% of the time.  The other 90% to 95% of the time, I had zero interaction on the job.   I needed a way to have face-to-face communication that other 95% of the time.  I look back and wish I had the UbiDuo in that environment because I would have been able to move up like everyone else by being able to execute my tasks, roles, meetings, and activities freely without interruption through barrier-free face-to-face communication.

When I got the very first UbiDuo prototype in 2006, the first thing I did was hop in my truck and drive 1 hour to Sedalia from Kansas City to sit down across from my dad, David, and communicate with him for the first time word for word without barriers.   When the first words dad said to me came across the UbiDuo screen, I felt a jolt of freedom and knew that my life was going to be totally different afterwards.

After that 2-hour long conversation on the UbiDuo with my dad with so many topics we covered, I had a glimmer of hope that I would be able to sit across from any hearing person and interact freely at last without barriers.  On the way back to Kansas City, it seemed it was the longest drive of my life with thoughts rushing my mind.  I thought over all the struggles I have faced in sitting across from many hearing people, wishing I had a relationship with them but couldn’t due to the fact I am deaf.

Rarely Discussed

Can you ask yourself this question that you really don’t think about?  How would you sit across from a deaf or hard of hearing person and actually have a conversation without barriers?   Think about it just for a few minutes.  Picture yourself sitting across from that person and you don’t know sign language.   How will either of you communicate without barriers?

The most common answer is calling for an interpreter or a CART writer to solve that problem.   Yes, that will work in many settings, but take into consideration that most often an interpreter is only available about 5% to 10% of the time.  Interpreters play an important role, but interpreters must be scheduled in advance and that can take hours of days for that to happen.  Interpreters are paid professionals and realistically cannot be present for every hour of every day for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. In addition, after the interpreter or CART writer leaves, the need and opportunity for nonstop, face-to-face communication continues.  In a lot of cases, you have to resort to writing notes back and forth which does not enable the same level of conversation that a real-time conversation provides.

Face-to-Face Barriers Throughout the Day

What will you do to fill the other 90% to 95% of the time for nonstop communication in your environment every day at the hospital, university, agency, or at work?

The real face-to-face communication problem takes place within that 95% of the time between the deaf and hearing person in a hospital, agency, or in a job when the interpreter or CART writer is not present.  We don’t realize that during a day in any setting, the majority of our time is spent in face-to-face interactions with people around us.    When a deaf person is in a setting surrounded by hearing people, he or she is not able to just walk up to a hearing person then sit down across that person and start up a short or long conversation.   That can be the game stopper to the flow of the day between the 2 people especially in the hospital, university, agency, or job when exchange of information through communication.   Barriers to communication interrupt the ability to move freely within a day and execute tasks, roles, meetings, or activities.

Imagine a hearing employee at his or her job, working every day from 8:00 to 5:00.  He experiences 100% barrier- free face-to-face encounters with co-workers, managers, clients, and other hearing peers.  Hearing co-workers can sit down and discuss work-related issues at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.  They can talk multiple times a day, every single day.  They can execute tasks, roles, meetings, or activities freely without barriers.  The majority of our time is spent in face-to-face interactions with people around us.

Now picture a person who is deaf, sitting at a desk, wanting to discuss the same work-related issues with her hearing co-worker.  A deaf person in a setting surrounded by hearing people, is not able to just walk up to a hearing person; sit down across that person; and start up a short or long conversation.  That can be the game stopper to the flow for the day.

What can you do to fill 90% to 95% of the everyday face-to-face communication problem in your setting if you can only have an interpreter or CART writer for 5% to 10% of your time?

UbiDuo Solution

The UbiDuo has become the solution to the face-to-face communication problem.

The UbiDuo 2 is a stand alone device that facilitates direct face-to-face communication which means the deaf and hearing person can sit across from each other and communicate in a natural flow through real time text.  The UbiDuo 2 empowers deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals and hearing individuals to converse face-to-face from one to as many encounters a day as they desire even up to 100% of the time.

I look back and wish I had the UbiDuo in that earlier work environment because I would have had more of an opportunity to move up like everyone else by being able to execute my tasks, roles, meetings, and activities freely without interruption through non-stop, face-to-face communication.  People like myself who are deaf, can communicate on the spot, quickly and efficiently by using the UbiDuo 2 with doctors, nurses, professors, co-workers, managers and clients.

I have been running sComm for 11 years. We engineer and manufacture the UbiDuo 2. I use the UbiDuo 2 to manage the staff and execute tasks, roles, meetings, and activities nonstop without interruption.  I have the UbiDuo placed permanently on my desk turned on at all times in my office.   It allows the hearing staff to walk into my office throughout the day anytime and have short, medium, or long conversations.  Every staff member in our company has a UbiDuo on their desk whether hearing or deaf to enable instant communication. The optimum for everyone, deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing, is to be able to experience barrier-free, communication without interruption when they choose at any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Again the UbiDuo 2 has become the solution to that face-to-face problem.  In general, an interpreter or CART writer can be present 5% in majority of situations between a deaf and a hearing person but we know they cannot be present the other 90% to 95% of the time.

Lastly, this is about the deaf and the hearing person having a daily relationship with each other, working together freely in any setting with the ability to exchange 100% information.

This is about making the communication setting whole with an interpreter or CART writer 5% of the time and filling in the other 90% to 95% of the time on a UbiDuo with no interruption to their tasks, roles, meetings and activities through barrier-free nonstop face-to-face communication. That’s the bottom line.

Take Action

If you are an employer, a hospital, law enforcement agency, university, or a government agency that either serves deaf or hard of hearing clients or patients or has employees who are deaf or hard of hearing, you will elevate your level of one-on-one communication with the UbiDuo 2 communication device. Being totally dependent on an interpreter or CART writer for only 5% to 10% of the time, can compromise your level of communication.

The UbiDuo 2 provides you nonstop one-on-one communication between people who are deaf and people who are hearing  The UbiDuo 2 meets ADA compliance requirements.

Take action with the ADA compliant UbiDuo 2 in your environment.

Next Gen UbiDuo 2 Text to Speech is Finally Here

Next Gen UbiDuo 2 Text to Speech is Finally Here

Next Gen UbiDuo 2 Text to Speech is Finally Here

The next generation UbiDuo 2 Text to Speech (TTS) is finally here. sComm has advanced face-to-face communication technology again with the revolutionary introduction of the UbiDuo 2 Text to Speech (TTS). This breakthrough communication device is the world’s first communication device with real-time, split-screen text, and dual text to speech for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, hearing, and others with communication disorders. This ultimate communication solution allows two people to communicate in real time using text, text to speech, and both at the same time.

You can learn more about the 2 UbiDuo 2 TTS version below:

UbiDuo 2 TTS wired

UbiDuo 2 TTS wired

UbiDuo 2 TTS wireless

UbiDuo 2 TTS wireless

We are accepting pre-orders so contact us to learn more about the breakthrough of the UbiDuo 2 TTS
at 1-866-505-7008 V, 239-214-2880 VP, or info@scomm.com

Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation – Positive UbiDuo Experiences

Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation – Positive UbiDuo Experiences

Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation – Positive UbiDuo Experiences

Sheila Hoover, Statewide Coordinator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Camille Atkinson, Rehabilitation Counselor, with Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation share the positive experience of how the UbiDuo2 has transformed their environment between individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing. The counselors find the UbiDuo2 enables nonstop face-to-face communication, privacy, and clear discussions. They use the UbiDuo2 to meet communication needs of their clients and staff in many different situations in any location.

Sheila’s Story:

Camille’s Story

 

Sitting Across From Each Other – Deaf and Hearing

Sitting Across From Each Other – Deaf and Hearing

Sitting Across From Each Other – Deaf and Hearing

 

Sitting Across From Each Other – Deaf and Hearing

The most valuable key in the relationship is direct, face-to-face, one-on-one communication and interaction. For between individuals who are deaf and individuals who are hearing, that face-to-face communication is difficult. The reality is it is difficult the majority of the time because of communication barriers. The goal is to experience direct face-to-face communication without communication barriers. 

By Jason Curry, CEO of sComm

 

Some of you may not know I was born profoundly deaf myself and have been deaf my entire life. I have sat across from thousands of hearing people in endless communication situations. The outcome has been mostly frustrating because of the communication barriers between us. We simply could not communicate in the same way. Usually these conversations to have understanding had to be assisted by an interpreter.

I want to share my analogy of what is happening. There continue to be discussions with the deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing community with regard to when interpreters or CART services fit into the environment and the when they should be used in work, medical, educational, and social settings. What is missing from this discussion? There is a need to talk about what solutions are available when the interpreter or CART writer is not present for that one-on-one interaction when the deaf or hard of hearing person is sitting across from a hearing person.


Anxiety, Confusion, and Misunderstanding

Misunderstandings can happen when an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened sits down across from someone who is hearing, each wanting to communicate. When the communication is relayed through a 3rd party, each person is concerned if the translation is being relayed exactly the way it is being said. There is some anxiety and confusion on the part of both people because no one wants misunderstanding or confusion during communication. And yet there it is difficult to verify the accuracy of the discussion.

In most cases, people who are hearing do not have the experience of sitting across from an individual who is deaf and being able to communicate directly when the interpreter or CART writer is not available. Each of us reacts differently and sometimes negatively which impacts the outcome of the relationship.

The majority of people who are hearing are unaware of how to communicate independently with someone who is deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened. For many people, such a discussion is a first time experience. Although each person is willing to communicate, the natural instinct is to communicate directly with each other. After all, that is how people who are hearing communicate with each other. Unfortunately, the outcome usually ends up with anxiety, confusion, and misunderstanding. Still there is a critical need for people who are hearing and people who are deaf to be able to sit across from each other with 100% understanding of what each other is saying without anyone else present.

The UbiDuo Communication device meets that need and provides that face-to-face communication. That 100% understanding leads to increased trust and confidence which builds the relationship to the next level. Here’s what’s going on.


100% Direct Face-to-Face Interaction Builds Trust and Confidence

Often, when people sit face-to-face, they initiate a conversation with each other. The ability to exchange spoken or signed thoughts to each other allows them to build trust and confidence. When two people are able to communicate without barriers, they can become comfortable working together or interacting together on a personal level.

Using the UbiDuo 2, two people can have an independent discussion and be clear when the discussion is complete. It can be as simple as smiling at each other, making healthy eye contact, or a pat on the arm at the end of a meeting.

Trust and Confidence is the key to a healthy and positive relationship especially in the work environment. Having clear one-on-one communication encounters leads to a more satisfying working relationship.

When it comes to a conversation between a person who is deaf and someone who is hearing, the UbiDuo 2 is the solution which allows them to carry on a conversation with zero anxiety, zero confusion, and full understanding. Each person can be more open and honest, and reach more positive outcomes. Barrier free communication with the UbiDuo 2 causes each person to feel confident in the discussion.

Job interviews, doctor appointments, or office meetings generally need to be done in person. The UbiDuo 2 allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened to sit across from someone who is hearing at any time with unlimited communication access.

People who hear get unlimited communication access however that has been difficult to achieve for people who are deaf. Since interpreters and Video Remote Interpreting cannot be available on a 24/7/365 basis, the person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened is at a disadvantage.

In general, an interpreter or video remote interpreter is not available about 90% of the time. What then is the solution for the everyday face-to-face communication between people who are hearing and people who are deaf?

The UbiDuo 2 can produce many of the benefits of face-to-face interaction between people who are deaf and hearing. It provides the same communication ease that comes between two people who are hearing who are talking or between two people who are deaf who are signing. With the UbiDuo 2, each person is communicating in the same mode with the other. Nothing replaces the ability for two people to sit across from each other and communicate directly without a third party. When that happens everyone benefits.


Team Inclusion and Promotion

Using the UbiDuo 2, the more the person who is hearing engages in one-on-one conversations and sharing of information with a person who is deaf, the more the team understands how easily everyone can be included in discussions about the work throughout the day.

If the team is only able to communicate with the team member who is deaf when the interpreter is available, it disrupts the work flow of the team and limits the immediacy of information sharing. At times, when these one-on-one interactions become routine, it can enable the person who is deaf to have the same opportunities for promotion as others in the work place.

Sometimes people who are deaf are hesitant to use the UbiDuo 2 thinking that communication can only be accomplished with an interpreter. Few employers can sit an interpreter next to an employee who is deaf 100% of the time. Everyone benefits when there is openness to utilize the interpreter, CART writer, and the UbiDuo 2. This completes the communication picture making communication available at all times.

Moving forward with total inclusion is the goal. What can each person do to communicate when an interpreter is not available 90% of the time? What is the solution for that? The UbiDuo 2 was designed for that sole purpose to cover that gap for nonstop one-on-one interaction in the work environment.


Take Action

If you are an employer, a hospital, law enforcement agency, university, or a government agency that either serves deaf or hard of hearing clients or patients or has employees who are deaf or hard of hearing, you will elevate your level of one-on-one communication with the UbiDuo 2 communication device. Being totally dependent on an interpreter or CART writer, can compromise your level of communication.

The UbiDuo 2 provides you nonstop one-on-one communication between people who are deaf and people who are hearing.  The UbiDuo 2 meets ADA compliance requirements.

Take action and make your environment compliant with the UbiDuo 2. 

 

10 Year Anniversary / UbiDuo: A Father’s Inspiration

10 Year Anniversary / UbiDuo: A Father’s Inspiration

10 Year Anniversary / UbiDuo: A Father’s Inspiration

A Letter from the CEO, Jason Curry, on the sComm 10th Anniversary

This is a special time for sComm.  This is sComm’s 10th anniversary.

Last month, sComm passed a very exciting and important milestone, the 10 year mark since the inception of sComm.  The idea of the UbiDuo was sketched by my dad on the white board in our family’s kitchen after we came home frustrated from trying to communicate with each other at Perkins in Sedalia, MO in March of 2002.

Here is how my dad relays what happened:  The idea of the UbiDuo came to me out of necessity.  It came to me over a period of time.  I had taken sign language classes but still could not communicate at the high level that I wanted to with Jason.  I had been thinking through all of Jason’s growing up years, during his college years, and with him beginning his work career how I needed something to be able to communicate with him at the highest levels.  We sat at Perkins for a couple of hours going over the details of a real estate contract and after all those years of wanting to find a solution to my communication problems, the picture of the communication device just came all at once into my mind.

I said to Jason at that moment:  “Son, let’s go home.  I want to show you something on the white marking board in the kitchen.”  We always kept a white marking board in our kitchen to write words on for Jason or anyone else in the family.

We walked in the kitchen and I drew the picture that came into my mind.  I said:  “Jason, if we had something like that, our conversation would have gone a lot faster and been a whole lot easier.”

Jason stepped back and looked at the rough sketch on the board.  And then he jumped up in the air and said:  “Well, dad, if I had that, it could change my whole life.  I could go anywhere and talk to anyone without needing someone to interpret for me all the time with people who do not know sign language.

Dad said:  “Well, if you really think that, why don’t we get a patent on it and try to build it?”  And as the saying goes:  THE REST IS HISTORY.

Without dad’s idea, there would not be a UbiDuo or thousands of lives changed everywhere.  Thank you to my dad, David G. Curry.DadJasonFirstPrototypeConversation

Jason and David on the first UbiDuo Prototype in 2006

A few months after filing for the patent, we decided to apply for a Phase 1 SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health to do a feasibility study on the effects of face-to-face interaction between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people.  We received that grant in 2003 to do the study for a year; then we compiled the results and submitted the report back to NIH.  Based on the positive results and the deep interest in having a communication device which could be used independently, sComm applied for a Phase II SBIR grant.   We waited a year and a half until we were awarded the funding to develop and engineer the original UbiDuo 1.

From August 2005 to December 2006 over 17 months of development and engineering, the UbiDuo 1 became a reality and sComm began shipping on January 27, 2007.  We began the company in a 600 square foot office in Independence, MO with just 4 employees.  Emma my mother and I traveled across the country to hundreds of conferences and met people from all over expressing their need for a face-to-face solution between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing.  Because of the idea that dad came up with,  the UbiDuo 1 has literally changed thousands and thousands of lives all over the country in endless situations in different environments.  Just this week, we received this statement from the Mayor of a small town who has just been using the UbiDuo with her mother for the past two weeks:  “We LOVE the UbiDuo.  It has changed our lives!

At the beginning, we set the goal of empowering deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people to interact with each other freely without barriers with the UbiDuo everywhere.  Some people thought we were out of our minds to dream and imagine that it was possible.  I am just blown away by how far we have come with thousands and thousands of UbiDuo customers in different markets.  It is just truly amazing to think about how far the UbiDuo has come since then, and we can all be proud of the role sComm played in the face-to-face revolution.  We are grateful for each UbiDuo user who shares their story:  The agency worker who are not been promoted for 15 years but after the addition of the UbiDuo to enhance daily communication with her supervisor, she was promoted multiple times; The grandfather who now talks daily with his grandson; The man who lost his hearing and could no longer meet with his model railroaders group, but now has returned with his UbiDuo.  These are the American stories the UbiDuo has helped to create.

Today though, I am thinking much more about sComm’s future than its past.  I believe face-to-face interaction between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing will continue to evolve faster in the next 10 years than it ever has before.  We live in a world where we are thirsty for more human interaction with zero barriers.   We all want technology that will enable us to become free and communicate with each other with zero frustration, zero bluffing, and zero barriers.

The introduction of the UbiDuo 2 showed its strength and a huge increase in the usability rate.  The UbiDuo 2 has taken face-to-face interaction to the next level.  People are much more engaged in the interaction on the UbiDuo 2.  sComm also launched a new division,  UbiJobs, which is an employment service that helps deaf and hard of hearing clients find jobs.  The UbiJobs success rate is over 90% with its clients from both Missouri and Kansas Vocational Rehabilitation.  Our goal has always been about communication anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

Under the blue print of advancing face-to-face interaction, sComm is better positioned than ever to make that happen.  We have better resources to drive and solve the face-to-face problems between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing.

We are engaged with our customers by learning what their needs are and have the deepest commitment to the development of breaking face-to-face barriers. Our goal is to get the UbiDuo in the hands of every deaf and hard of hearing individual who is struggling with interaction with hearing people in America.  While honoring the important role played by interpreters, sComm’s goal is to close the gaps when an interpreter is not a part of the interaction and enable full communication access.  The UbiDuo plays an important role in employment, in law enforcement, in corporations, in medical settings, in educational settings; and in personal use.

In the next few years, sComm will continue to reach even more people and organizations around the world.  I hope you will think about what you can do to make the power of face-to-face technology accessible to everyone, to empower deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people to interact with other, and make the UbiDuo available.

I want to thank each one of you for helping sComm accomplish a lot during our first 10 years and for helping to empower countless people and companies to realize their full face-to-face communication potential.  I am very excited about what we will do in the next 10 years.  Thank you for helping make sComm the company it is today.

 

X