The Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation recently deployed videoconferencing systems to 12 of its offices. That alone wouldn't warrant special attention, but the division's clientele -- people with hearing impairments and other disabilities -- made the project more challenging than most. The agency's system supports remote closed captioning of videoconferences, eliminating the need for on-site sign language interpretation, and includes headsets that amplify sound for both staff and customers who need it.
The state plans to use the system in other ways. For example, it will connect clients with staffers who have expertise in a particular area -- say, veterans claims -- but who are located in another office. The state also plans to hold unemployment claim hearings and advisory board meetings over video, and it will potentially let clients who can't get into an office use PC-based videoconferencing to meet with staff.