SoftLayer helps Czech nonprofit Tichý svět aid hearing impaired

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wpid-thumbnail-f69baf1f3b4d5b68926aec5dcc8a85c61-250x250Imagine you’re alone, having a medical emergency. You need an ambulance and to go to the hospital, immediately. You dial a public emergency number for assistance and an operator answers. The problem is, you’re deaf.

For millions of deaf and hearing-impaired individuals around the world, the scenario is a frightening possibility. This is why Tichý svět (“silent world”), a nonprofit organization based in Prague, Czech Republic, offers a translation service to help the hearing impaired communicate and conduct transactions with other people using video chat technology. But not too long ago, its communication platform comprised multiple proprietary systems, making it difficult to administer and too cumbersome for its clients, the hearing disabled, to effectively use.

Envisioning something better and more like a social network, Tichý svět engaged strategic and business service provider Kodárna s.r.o. to develop a new system on the SoftLayer platform.

Jan Pulkrábek, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Kodárna s.r.o., explains: “Tichý svět wanted to create its own ecosystem for its clients with a web interface, mobile applications and human interpreters to translate sign language into the Czech language. So, for example, the client communicates with a human interpreter through a webcam or chat, and that interpreter communicates with the third party, like a hospital, in real time for the client.”

Making sure the new system ran smoothly on a highly reliable cloud platform was paramount to both the Kodárna and Tichý svět teams. “This service is crucial; lives might even depend on it,” Pulkrábek says.

For the CEO, who had worked with a couple of cloud providers in the past and found their service lacking, only one company fit the bill. “We wanted the most reliable technology and everybody knows that, with SoftLayer, IBM offers a rock-solid solution. We don’t have to sort out the hardware problems, we can just create a virtual service.”

So they did.

Today, Tichý svět provisions its system on a SoftLayer virtual server infrastructure in the SoftLayer Amsterdam data center, with open source software for online call and video streaming capabilities. By doing so, the nonprofit not only avoided USD20,000 in capital expenses and ongoing hardware maintenance expenses, but also greatly reduced the complexity of its solution so operators can support more clients.

And helping clients is what the nonprofit is all about. “With our SoftLayer platform,” says David Trávníček, project manager at Tichý svět, “we can offer translation services to virtually any deaf person throughout the Czech Republic at virtually any time.”

But why stop at the Czech Republic when there are hearing disabled people all over the world? Trávníček and Pulkrábek have already thought of that.

Pulkrábek concludes, “We’re thinking about bringing this software to all of Europe and maybe the whole world. With SoftLayer, Tichý svět has a scalable solution when they’re ready. That’s why we chose IBM.”

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