Communication Aids21st January 2016
New Deaf-Friendly app allows GROUP video calls on your phone!
SOMA video-chat app is taking Deaf community by storm!
A new mobile messaging app is spreading quickly through the Deaf Community because it allows completely free, group video calling.
The new app, called SOMA Messenger, is a real contender to replace other messaging apps like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber for many people, as it is one of the first to allow up to four people to take part in group video calls. Unlike some other services that charge for group video calls, SOMA is offering their app completely free and say that it will always be free. On top of all that, they also claim that “SOMA Messenger is the world’s fastest HD video, voice and messaging app available today”.
The SOMA Messenger app focuses on providing high quality HD video/audio calls with no buffering in group calls of up to four people. This ability to have group video chats, means it is easier for small groups of people to chat and organise things (day trips, football practise, etc) or just for family and friends to get together and catch-up.
Unlike some other messaging services, SOMA also take security and privacy very seriously, offering full encryption of all messages and as soon as that message is delivered to the receiver, they are immediately removed from the servers. Undelivered messages expire and are permanently deleted after seven days from the server and messages are never stored on SOMA’s servers or in any cloud after they are deleted. This means that there is no chance for anyone to spy on your information. Chat history and message content is stored only on your own device.
This week, Mario Del Costi recorded a short video clip comparing WhatsApp and SOMA and says that while he does like WhatsApp, he believes SOMA has some great features that make it stand out from other messaging apps. Some of the similarities and differences he highlights between WhatsApp and SOMA are:
- Both allow sending of text / emoticons
- Both allow sending of photos and videos
- SOMA allows larger group chats (up to 500 people in a group, WhatsApp only allows 100)
- SOMA allows live video chatting
- SOMA also allows group video chat with up four people on the screen at the same time!
We have also asked a couple of other Deaf people for their thoughts on SOMA Messaging and here's what they had to say:
"Setting up SOMA app was straightforward. I quite like the notification when someone joined, so I can see how many people are using the app. It's not always straightforward to know this on other apps like FaceTime."
"I think it is a very useful app for cross platform support between Android and iPhones. However, I think video calls (FaceTime) between Apple devices are better, as it is much more integrated into the device and therefore, it has better stability."
"One thing FaceTime does not have is group calls, so in that case SOMA is useful if someone wants to make a group conversation."
Giving further thoughts on the SOMA app, Mario Del Costi went on to say, "The Soma app is very useful for deaf people, so we can all chat together via webcam. It is more visual and suitable for BSL users! I wasn't looking for a communication solution, I just accepted what I had, but then someone recommended the app to me and now it helps with communication barriers!"
"I was amazed how my video about the app was shared with so many people on Facebook. It is good to know that we are sharing any useful apps or information in the deaf community. This will help and reduce barriers in the Deaf community, so it is important that any recommendations should be shared at all times."
"For the Deaf community, it is important to reduce any barriers. It would be good to communicate with anyone, any services, organisations, including non BSL users and be able to communicate ourselves at all times, with no need to rely on families, interpreters etc. We want our independence to do things without facing barriers. Nowadays, things are improving, but there is so much more needed to improve on with technology providing the solutions."
So, what are you waiting for? Get downloading now and test out some group conversations - and don't forget to let us know what you think!
Article by SL First Tech Team
posted in Technology / Communication Aids
21st January 2016