News

COLUMBIA, Md., Feb. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Towson University (TU) and BTS Software Solutions (BTS-S2) concluded a successful STEM technology transfer for Towson University Captioning Solutions (TUCS), a patent-pending, live captioning and transcription solution that will serve the deaf and hard of hearing communities. This STEM transfer is the culmination of three organizations’ dedication to serving the community and greater public good.

Founded in 2008, TUCS resulted from Towson’s College of Liberal Arts and the National Public Radio (NPR) Labs’ commitment to providing real-time radio captioning for individuals who cannot hear. Dr. Ellyn Sheffield, cognitive scientist and TU Research Professor, developed new processes and innovative technology.

“Approximately 23 million Americans have difficulty accessing audio programming because of hearing loss,” said Dr. Sheffield. “This number is expected to grow as the number of senior citizens triple by 2050. In addition to providing services that assist institutions in complying with ADA and Section 508 guidelines, we have a civic responsibility to guarantee that citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to information in all communication outlets.”

In 2013, BTS-S2 joined as TUCS’ software developer, integrator, and technology partner, focused on refining the software and building an expansible architecture and development environment. BTS-S2 plans to expand TUCS’ ability to bring accurate, affordable captioning and transcription services to the community via traditional and new service pathways.

Newly rebranded Verb8tm©, the service provides accessible information to multiple sectors, from live radio and television captioning to academia, conferences, and events. Verb8tm’s accuracy, latency, scalability, and pricing makes captioning and transcription affordable to many more communities.

“We are pleased to transfer ownership of TUCS’ sophisticated captioning and transcription process to BTS Software Solutions,” said Terry Cooney, Dean of TU’s College of Liberal Arts. “It is a company that will manage the expansion of operations into a business and will continue to seek improvements and new applications for the captioning and transcription process.”

BTS-S2 will continue TU and NPR Labs’ original civic vision in employment strategy. “We currently provide highly paid, skilled employment opportunities to students,” said David Tohn, BTS-S2’s Chief Executive Officer. “We will also approach the wounded warrior, homebound handicapped, and broader veteran population as our workforce.”

Verb8tm’s innovative pedigree predates this transfer. As a non-traditional STEM technology transfer from academia to the commercial sector, TU broke new ground in developing TUCS within the College of Liberal Arts rather than a typical transfer from an engineering or computer science college. The leadership within the College of Liberal Arts successfully took TUCS from a research project to a working service for national media companies, including NPR and Futuro Media.

“The NPR/BTS-S2 partnership presents us with strategic possibilities for the future of structured data in our organization,” stated NPR’s Chief Librarian, Data, Research and Archives Strategy, Laura Soto-Barra. “Their new capabilities will increase efficiency in our operations and enhance the value the NPR Library, Data & Research Center delivers to a very diverse range of partners.”

Verb8tm continues to provide transcripts for NPR’s daily public radio shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air.

“That TUCS/Verb8tm attracts such notable clients is a testament to the dedication and work that Dr. Sheffield and our students put into TUCS in partnership with BTS Software Solutions,” said Tim Chandler, Provost and Acting President for TU. “We’re excited to see it grow with BTS Software Solutions.”

“We are honored to work with TU, NPR, and our other partners,” stated David Tohn. “Bringing TUCS and BTS-S2 together will accelerate development and advance our shared vision of service to our community.”

About Towson University (www.towson.edu)
Founded in 1866, Towson University is among the nation’s best regional public universities, offering more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, and applied professional fields. With close to 23,000 students, Towson University is among the largest public universities in Maryland. Towson combines research-based learning with practical application and its many interdisciplinary partnerships with public and private organizations throughout Maryland provide opportunities for research, internships and jobs. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Towson University one of the nation’s best and most efficiently run universities.

About BTS Software Solutions (www.unleashbts.com)
BTS Software Solutions is a team of service-minded professionals who create impactful solutions for our community’s real and complex communications problems. As a Veteran Owned Small Business, BTS-S2 holds Service to our Community as our core value. From serving warfighters to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, we believe that good companies provide good service to those in need. Our creative and energetic engineers and PhDs lead their fields with 30 patents and over 40 peer-reviewed articles. Our portfolio includes mobile technologies, advanced applications, enterprise-wide development, and applied research in cognitive science, speech-to-text technology, and cutting edge data compression technologies.