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BT unveils UK’s first ‘Next Generation Text’ relay service

BT has unveiled a new Next Generation Text [NGT] service aimed at making it easier for people with a hearing or speech impediment to make and receive phone calls.

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NGT works by using a relay assistant that can convert text into speech or the other way round and is designed to work in such a way that it is tailored to each person’s individual needs.

“NGT has really exceeded my expectations and certainly makes life a lot easier for deaf people. It’s so flexible across all devices and you can link a single mobile or landline number to NGT apps on various devices, be it a desktop or a mobile version of NGT,” stated Mike Aston, senior architectural technologist at Warwickshire County Council.

The free app, which can be downloaded for Android and Apple devices, uses both phone call and text channels and is reliant on an Internet connection on the devices to function correctly.

If the person can’t hear but is able to use their voice they can speak directly into the phone to the other person and when they reply the relay assistant converts it into text that can easily be read.

For those that have a speech impediment but can hear correctly, the app can be used to type text to the other person and the phone can then be used to listen to replies.

Users are also able to link a TextNumber to their devices so that when someone rings up they are automatically connected to the NGT service without the need for a special prefix to be dialled.

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BT has been trialling the service since March 2013 and it replaces the 20-year old text relay service with BT customers able download the app immediately and a range of other communications providers are receiving it on a wholesale basis.

Image Credit: Flickr (grazie davvero)