Ed Bosson

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Roy Edward "Ed" Bosson is best known for his invention of the Video Relay Service which has provided the ability to connect between hearing and deaf communities through the means of video and sign language interpreters. Bosson then went on a long career as an administrator for the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC). After his retirement in 2008, Bosson formed an advocacy based website, bringing the issues to the deaf community regarding the Telecommunications Relay Service which includes Video Relay Service and traditional TTY Relay Service.

Early life[edit]

Bosson was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was educated at Arkansas School for the Deaf and graduated in 1961. He then attended Gallaudet University and finished with major in psychology in 1966.[1]

When Ed became deaf at age of 2 1/2 years old, his parents were unsure of which education system Ed should go; oralism or American sign language. His mother decided on a compromise so during Bosson's childhood, his parents asked a family with a deaf boy, Race Drake if they would let Bosson learn sign language from them. Afterwards, a strong friendship was formed between Race Drake and Bosson, thus paving the way to deaf world, American Sign Language and education at Arkansas School for the Deaf.

Father of Video Relay Service[edit]

Ed Bosson who was Texas's first state relay administrator with the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) had envisioned Deaf people communicating with videophones more than 10 years before the FCC mandated it nationwide. At the early years of 1990, Ed contacted Mark Seeger who was manager for Texas Sprint Relay and discussed the possibilities. Mark contacted Sprint technicians to see if Ed’s vision was feasible. They reported that it was, so Ed brought the idea to the Texas PUC. It took Ed a long time to be able to convince the PUC and get some help from a lawyer in interpreting the TRS regulation that VRS is functionally equivalent to what hearing persons enjoy with regular telephone system. First, Ed convinced his supervisor and then one-by-one, the Commissioners, that video relay should become a part of statewide Telecom Relay Service offerings. Ed also enlisted political support from state organizations such as Texas Association of the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and Coalition for the Disabilities. PUC Commissioners then authorized Ed to manage the first video relay service trials. Sprint was the first service provider to conduct the Texas video relay tests. Bosson would later receive national awards from Smithsonian Computerworld, the Gallaudet Alumni, Gallaudet University and TDI for his work with VRS.

For Ed's advocacy service over the years, Gallaudet awarded him with an honorary doctorate degree on May 16, 2008.[2]

Advocacy[edit]

Over the period, Video Relay Service industry was and is regulated by FCC however interests from the corporates generally determined its regulations and the focus was shifted from consumer towards business. During the same period, Bosson created a website called "Ed's Alert". . As of April 2011, edsalert had 76,000 hits.

Convo Communications[edit]

On March 20, 2009, Bosson returned from his retirement into the private sector of the Video Relay Service industry partnering up with Robin Horwitz, Wayne Betts, Jr and Chad Taylor to form Convo Communications.

References[edit]

External links[edit]