Wearable, voice activated communications system from Vocera
By Mike Hanlon
June 4, 2004
Vocera's latest Communications System for mobile workers inside 802.11b wireless networked buildings enables immediate communucation through the use of simple voice commands. With obvious benefits in healthcare, retail, school campuses and other high-pressure environments, the system incorporates "voice printing", a biometric security enhancement that prevents unauthorized access and protects sensitive information.
Voice printing works by comparing the voice of the person logging on to the system prerecorded voice print and authenticates the user through their unique vocal characteristics. According to Vocera, the system is highly-reliable and will function even if a persons voice has changed slightly from the effects of a cold.
The unit is worn as a clip-on badge and a call button is pressed to open the communication channel. The badge includes a microphone and speaker, LCD readout to display text messages and e-mail (which the system also supports) and an 802.11b wireless radio.
A "live broadcast" feature enables a specific group of users to be contacted simultaneously - for example, a doctor can notify all medical personnel on duty of a major emergency by saying, "Broadcast to ER team," then announce the necessary message which would be received by all relevant staff.
Currently sold throughout the United States, pricing of the Vocera system is based on purchases of the software, badges, and software maintenance agreement. Server software licenses starting at a US$20,000 for a 75-seat users' license, and the Vocera Communications Badge, which can be shared by shift-based workers, costs US$350.