ABILITY Award -- Sprint

As part of an ongoing effort to celebrate and promote businesses that work to make the world a safer, more efficient, and more welcoming place for people of all walks of life, ABILITY is pleased to profile the latest recipient of its Best Practices Award. This issue, the editors applaud Sprint Nextel Corporation for its innovative implementation of Video Relay Service (VRS) and for its spirit of inclusion, both in the workplace and in the consumer marketplace.


Since the 1970s, Sprint has maintained its position as a dominant and forward-thinking force in the world of telecommunications, a business marked by entrepreneurial vigor and “pin-drop” clarity of message. In the late 1990s, Sprint developed the only nationwide personal communications service (PCS) in the United States. In 2005, the company bought Nextel, further strengthening its role in the ways in which we connect and communicate.

In more recent years, the technology giant has shown no signs of shrinking, and has in fact applied its considerable influence and ingenuity to improving the ease of communication for people with disabilities—particularly for the 24 million Americans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Thanks to CapTel—a “closed-captioned telephone” developed by Ultratec and provided by Sprint—phone conversations need no longer be a challenge or annoyance for the deaf or hard-of-hearing. With the aid of this innovative new technology, users can read captions on a built-in screen while in conversation. This advancement allows for a more natural, emotionally accurate dialogue between participants by eliminating or reducing the need for a third-party translator.

Additionally, with the evolution of the 4G network, Sprint Relay is shifting its developmental resources toward wireless communications using Sprint’s 4G technologies. This will take customers into the future allowing for barrier-free access to the telephone. Sprint Relay is proud to present: Sprint Mobile Video Relay Service (Sprint Mobile VRS). Sprint Mobile VRS is a free Android app, currently available on the Samsung Epic 4G, for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to connect with qualified video interpreters who relay their phone calls. The Sprint Mobile VRS app also supports Spanish VRS and the ability to video chat with any videophone. In addition to this, users will receive video mail on any missed calls. The company’s “flexible messaging” services expands its theme of inclusion even further, allowing customers with deafness or speech-related disabilities a customizable text messaging service via their Sprint PCS phones.

Like many of the most successful businesses, Sprint recognizes that its prosperity rests in its ability to appeal to a diverse spread of consumers, an awareness that is expertly reflected in the broad accessibility of their services.

Recently named by Forbes as one of 2010’s “Top 20 Most Responsible Companies” for advanced policies on diversity, Sprint has held a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for five consecutive years. This is a company that not only understands the value of communication, but also of those who seek to be heard, seen, and understood....
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Excerpts from the Kathy Ireland Issue Feb/Mar 2011:

Kathy Ireland — Interview

Blind Fishing Boat — New Fishermen Take the Bait

Yahoo — Expanding the Digital Highway

Heart Transplant — An Uncommon Cardiac Connection

Sean Forbes — Not Hard To Hear

ABILITY Best Practices Award — Sprint

Gunshot Wounds — Bullet Points

Articles in the Kathy Ireland Issue; Humor — Love Hurts; Ashley’s Column — Back in the Saddle; Sean Forbes— Not Hard To Hear; Gunshot Wounds — Bullet Points; ABILITY Best Practices Award — Sprint; Blind Fishing Boat — New Fishermen Take the Bait; Yahoo — Expanding the Digital Highway; Rehabilitation — Hitting New Strides; Terri Cheney — A Plea for Innocence, growing up Bi-Polar; Kathy Ireland — A Model Businesswoman; Heart Transplant — An Uncommon Cardiac Connection; Leigh Brill — Excerpt From A Dog Named Slugger; ABILITY's Crossword Puzzle; Events and Conferences... subscribe

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