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Video Relay Service (VRS)

Getting Started

To order or inquire about this service, please contact the NIH IT Service Desk.

Service Hours: Monday-Friday, 8AM to 5PM

More Info

Related Services

Video Relay Service (VRS) enables individuals who use sign language to converse in real time with a remote hearing party. VRS uses IP video equipment (NIH supports the Z-150 only) to facilitate sign language interpretation between the hearing and hearing impaired. Using videoconferencing, a Sign Language Interpreter communicates with the hearing impaired person, and then relays the signed communication to the hearing party. By using sign language over the full motion video, VRS allows sign language users to fully express themselves in their natural language, and convey facial expressions and cues to ensure that nothing gets lost in the translation.

Customer Benefits

VRS users can be reached through a single number that will automatically connect to the user’s primary (“default”) VRS provider. The VRS provider will then provide interpretation assistance to the end users.

Customer Market

This service is available to all NIH customers.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  How can I get VRS?
A:  The user of a VRS needs a video phone which federal government employees can obtain free of charge from CAP,  the Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program at  The video phone will be provided to CAP by a video relay service. The user will need a live network port to plug the video phone into. The network port should have a static IP address assigned to it. 
The user should contact the NIH IT Service Desk to have a network port made available and a static IP address assigned to it. When the user receives the video phone, the user just plugs it into the network port and turns the video phone on.  The video phone will automatically register itself and the 10-digit number assigned to it with the VRS who provided the video phone.
Q:  Who can I call using VRS?
A:  You can make local and long distance calls. VRS is just like any other telephone.
Q:  Can I make calls to someone else who uses sign language?
A:  No, there would be no way for you both to be connected at the same time.  VRS is a service created to connect individuals with hearing and speech disabilities with people with whom they work, over voice telephone. 


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This page last reviewed: March 09, 2011