Ed Bosson is widely recognized as the Father of Video Relay Services (VRS). While managing the statewide 7-1-1 service with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), he pioneered VRS with a four-city trial then a statewide trial, both in 1995.
"I got many calls from weeping parents who for the first time were able to communicate comfortably with their kids. One recurring message I got was that their kids would tell them who their boy/girlfriend was, that they played football or basketball or etc, and that they griped about lousy food at school and all the useless but meaningful news to parents."
For his contribution, Ed was honored with an award from the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. and a honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University. In 2008 he retired after 19 years with the PUCT.
Today Ed chairs the Board of Directors at Convo and in this capacity he advises on all policy development and regulatory activities. He also blogs on telecom issues at edsalert.com, something he has done since 2006.
In generations past, deaf people relied on the willingness of their family members and the generosity of their neighbors to make phone calls on their behalf. This often meant a sick worker would get out of bed to visit a neighbor with a note asking to call the supervisor or other elaborate acts of compensation and workarounds.
The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 changed this by ensuring telephone accommodation for all deaf people in civics and commerce. Title IV of this seminal legislation mandated access to telecom systems in every state, which came to be known as telecommunications relay service (TRS).
In 1995, the first VRS trials were conducted in the State of Texas by Ed Bosson and the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
In 2000 the Federal Communications Commission recognized video-based relay services as a legitimate form of TRS. This meant TRS companies could provide VRS and be compensated by the Federal Government.
In the years since, video technology and broadband penetration have leapt to lower costs and greater levels, making VRS progressively more viable and accessible.
Today tens of thousands of people use VRS on a daily basis on their computers, standalone videophones, set-top devices hooked up to TV sets, and smartphones.
In the last half of the 2000’s, fraud among VRS providers had became epidemic, leading providers were selling out to equity firms, and it became apparent that the deaf community were being either economically shortchanged or blatantly exploited.
In response, in March 2009 four deaf persons got together and decided to found a VRS company. In a very real sense, Convo was founded largely on the basis of bringing integrity to VRS and creating true deaf community empowerment.
Convo’s industry expertise and its adoption of integrity as a core value make its approach unique. Because deaf persons make up our ownership group, Convo has a customer’s perspective on VRS. Because former contract administrators for the states of California and Texas are part of our ownership group, Convo has a service perspective. Because many of our employees are alumni of other VRS companies, Convo has a broad infusion of industry experience.
Convo understands VRS and knows how it should be redefined. Convo is 100% dedicated to improving user experience, revolutionizing video interpreting, and creating true deaf empowerment among its callers and employees.
Some Facts About Us
|Locations||Bay Area, CA; Sacramento, CA; Mobile, AL; Fort Wayne, IN; Rochester, NY|
|Products||Convo Anywhere, Green Book, ConvoIM, Convo Desktop, Convo Mobile|
|Incorporation||Limited Liability Company|
March 2009, Convo is born
|Mar 2009||Convo is founded|
|May 2009||Launches relay service|
|Aug 2009||Launches ConvoIM|
|Feb 2010||Moves HQ to San Ramon, CA
Launches Convo Green BookOpens San Ramon, CA call center
|Apr 2010||Opens Mobile, AL call center|
|Jul 2010||Opens Roseville, CA call center|
|Oct 2010||Launches Convo Anywhere|
|Nov 2011||Conditionally certified by the FCC|
|Jan 2012||Opens Fort Wayne, IN call center|
|Sept 2012||Opens Rochester, NY call center|
|Oct 2012||Moves HQ to Pleasanton, CA|