Semi-synchronous video for deaf telephony with an adapted synchronous codec
Communication tools such as text-based instant messaging, voice and video relay services, real-time video chat and mobile SMS and MMS have successfully been used among Deaf people. Several years of field research with a local Deaf community revealed that disadvantaged South African Deaf people preferred to communicate with both Deaf and hearing peers in South African Sign Language as opposed to text. Synchronous video chat and video relay services provided such opportunities. Both types of services are commonly available in developed regions, but not in developing countries like South Africa. This thesis reports on a workaround approach to design and develop an asynchronous video communication tool that adapted synchronous video codecs to store-and-forward video delivery. This novel asynchronous video tool provided high quality South African Sign Language video chat at the expense of some additional latency. Synchronous video codec adaptation consisted of comparing codecs, and choosing one to optimise in order to minimise latency and preserve video quality. Traditional quality of service metrics only addressed real-time video quality and related services. There was no such standard for asynchronous video communication. Therefore, we also enhanced traditional objective video quality metrics with subjective assessment metrics conducted with the local Deaf community.