The specialist service, SignVideo, has been set up by Significan't, a social enterprise run by sign language users, with a £500,000 grant from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's e-Innovations programme.
Using a converged voice, video and data network from Cisco, the system allows users to connect to a central call centre from a local authority website, using an IP video terminal. They then gain access to a sign language interpreter, via a webcam or their monitor, through which they can do a range of things like apply for a parking permit or make a complaint about services.
The service is the first of its kind within the UK that allows agents to transfer video calls from one agent to another. This is vital as every language has its own form of sign language, so routing technology to makes sure that customers are routed to the most appropriate agent.
The use of a converged voice, video and data network keeps costs lower when compared to using separate voice, data and video isdn networks.
"The contact centre interpreters are able to work from the SignVideo contact centre and also log in remotely to work from their own homes, which allows for the service of these interpreters to be much cheaper than they are at the moment and easier to access," Jeff McWhinney, Significan't director, said.
The system will be rolled out across the UK in the next year.