As President and CEO of Raketu Communications,
Greg Parker oversees development of technology that could make conversation from around
the globe simpler and more affordable than
ever. Using applications that are compatible with nearly
any device, or via the company’s website, Raketu
enables communication from phone to phone, computer
to computer, or computer to phone. It also enables users
to share pictures and documents from a range of devices
and desktops with those inside and outside of the Raketu
Parker recently met with ABILITY’s
old friend—and ABILITY365’s
to discuss Raketu’s
culture of innovation.
Chet Cooper: Great to see Raketu continuing to grow.
What distinguishes your company from others?
Greg Parker: We’ve developed a lot of first-to-market
products since we started in 2006. We have our own
proprietary technology, and we were the first to make a
mobile-video call. You can make those through a download
to your desktop or laptop computer,
or you can use
cloud technology through a browser.
Say you’re in
at an Internet kiosk. With
our service, you can log
and complete standard calls, video calls, or any other
of communication without downloading anything.
The first time I log in with Raketu—or RakDroid, as we
call it on the Android device—it takes all my contacts
from my phone and adds them to the contacts I already
have. These contacts will now be available to me no
matter how I access Raketu, whether it be through the
cloud, through a download, through the phone or
through some other device. They’re made available to
Alejandra Delaporte: Is this similar to Skype?
Parker: We often get compared to them, but we’re like
Skype on steroids, because we do everything they do
and more. We have video conferencing that allows up
to five-way video, all for free. We allow video conferencing
to mobile devices as well, and there are lots of
ways to access our services.
Many people begin by using only a few of our services,
and then they start to find other things we offer that are
of benefit to them. With our voice calling, for example,
you have the ability to call from your phone to another
phone, to a desktop, to the cloud or through 3G, 4G or
Wi-Fi, meaning no cell phone is required.
Delaporte: And how much does that cost?
Parker: That type of call is totally free.
Cooper: How did this come about?
Parker: About a year and a half ago, Sprint was looking
for somebody who could build a new technology, and
that later became known as Wireless CapTel by Sprint
[WCS]. Sprint wanted to have captioned calling,
inbound and outbound. When you call somebody on this
WCS application, your speech gets translated into text.
So if you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you can see what’s
being said and talk back. It offers full communication
for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
Sprint wanted this service available on 3G, 4G and WiFi.
A bunch of different
companies were approached to
to get this developed, and then Sprint came to us. We
said, “That’s very similar to one of the technologies we
have”—our RakDroid at the time, on Android. We spent
six to eight months building an extremely complex
application for CapTel, short for Captioned Telephone. We create the application and they do the translation.
Cooper: How is that different from other products cur-
rently on the market?
Parker: There is another company that offers captioned
services on mobile devices, but they don’t do it the way
we do it. First off, they can’t caption inbound calls, only
outbound calls. So with their service, you have to initiate
a call, and then you get called back some period of
so you can be connected to the captioning
not very convenient at all. You
able to use voice and data simultaneously on your
Our solution was to create an Internet-connection
As the population ages, their hearing will begin to fail.
Members of the baby boomer generation are in their
60s right now, so they’ll become potential users of this
application. They’ll still be able to use their phone,
iPhone, Android, smart phone, whatever, to make calls
and receive them, and they’ll also be able to see the
spoken word translated into captions.
Cooper: The number of deaf and hearing-impaired in
the United States alone is about 28 million. How will
they use your product?
Parker: They would go to a page on our site, register,
and download the service. Then they’d receive an
inbound number, called a CapTel number. It’s not the same as their mobile phone number, but it’s in the same
area code. This application runs all the time, so it’s like
a secondary phone. People call that, it rings, and then it
captions all calls.
Whenever you start a phone call, you are asked, “Do
you want to make a regular call or a CapTel call?” So
you answer all that information, you get registered, you
get a CapTel inbound number, and you’re ready to go.
Cooper: What else is your company working on?
Parker: Sprint is developing Android Christmas pack-
ages that include a Bluetooth headset and WCS installed
in the phone. There will be special deals on this package
for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is all in line with
the mission of our company. When we first started, we
really wanted to remove the barriers of communication
globally, whether those barriers existed between a grandmother
in New Zealand who wanted to communicate
her grandchild in San Francisco, or between a doctor
who wanted to consult another doctor in California
then communicate with a patient in India. If these
be free, we wanted them to be cheap. But
able to offer
a lot of services for free. We’re
be involved in a project that helps people while giving
something they didn’t
from the John C. McGinley Issue
Kessler Foundation Research
That Gets People Moving
C. McGinley Expanding His Role
John Sie And the Global Down Team
Deserts Activists Help Communities Get Good Food
Fiolek Befriends Noora, an Iranian Racer
Raketu Cool Apps for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
DLRC A Fight to Protect a Boy and His Dog
in the John C. McGinley Issue; Ashley Fiolek Befriends Noora,
an Iranian Racer; Noora Moghaddas Befriends Ashley, a US Racer;
Humor To Anchorage With Love Sen. Tom Harkin Jobs + Education
= American Dream; Raketu Cool Apps for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing;
Adaptive Golf The Fight Over Carts; USBLN Annual Conference
in Kentucky; Kessler Foundation Research That Gets People Moving;
Food Deserts Activists Help Communities Get Good Food; John C.
McGinley Expanding His Role; John Sie A Career That Spans
Tech, TV and Top Research; Global Down Syndrome Bringing Their
A Team; DLRC A Fight to Protect a Boy and His Dog;
Betsy Valnes On Creating a World Disability Congress; ABILITY's
Crossword Puzzle; Events and Conferences...