More and more healthcare professionals are toting their wireless
PDAs wherever they go, and they are searching for the next "killer
app"; it maybe that it will come from yesterday's headlines:
Tried and true voice communications.
VoIP - Voice over IP
Once you are aware of the benefits and applications
of Voice over IP, it is too good to resist. The integration
of voice and data traffic over the campus network will be demanded
by "corridor cruisers" in hospitals, universities
and research facilities across the country. The inevitable solution
will be WLAN's (Wireless Local Area Networks) capable of interacting
with voice, data, images and video conferences on-the-fly.
Sound far fetched? It's already in the works and
vendors are flooding the market with VoIP products and services.
Along with the proliferate Wi-Fi (802.11x) "hot
spots", momentum is building for the various applications
that take advantage of the bandwidth and anywhere, anytime
connectivity that Wi-Fi delivers. While wireless e-mail access
is still on the top of everyones list as the "next
big thing", there is another application that is also showing
some early promise: Wi-Fi VoIP.
A California startup: Vocera
Communications has developed a wearable, voice-controlled
VoIP system via an 802.11b WLAN.
Vocera is targeting healthcare professionals, such as nurses
who do not have offices and cannot be tied to desk phones. The
Vocera system provides "hands free" communications between
healthcare professionals facilitating communications and enhanicing
the decision making process.
Vocera Product Overview
The Vocera Communications System is comprised of two key elements:
the Vocera Server Software and the Vocera Communications Badge.
The Vocera Server Software platform runs on a standard Windows
2000 server located on the premises, and houses the centralized
the Call Manager, User Manager, and Connection Manager programs
as well as the speech recognition engine and various databases.
The intelligence of the system is centrally managed within an
organization, so the entire Vocera System can easily be upgraded
with new features and improved functionality from one central
location. The server architecture is highly scalable and can adapt
to changing environments.
The Vocera Communications Badge is a light weight, wearable,
voice-controlled device that operates over an 802.11b wireless
LAN infrastructure. It enables instant, hands-free conversations.
The badge interfaces with the Vocera Server, where the systems
intelligence is housed and accessed via a wireless network
The system can also connect to the PBX in order to place
and receive calls through the public telephone network.Together
the Vocera Server Software and Badge allow people to instantly
communicate with others throughout a building or campus
Instant access to all staff currently logged on to the
system eliminates the need to page and wait reducing
the time it takes to deliver patient care
One-to-one and one-to-many messaging options reduce the
need for disturbing overhead paging.
Virtually hands-free operation clears nurses hands
to work with patients, not telephone keypads.
A startup based at the Simon Fraser University's Campus
in Vancouver, British Columbia; Xten
Networks is developing VoIP Client Software and VoIP server
software including SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Proxies,
Registrars and Conference Servers.
Xten's product: XPhone, a software application for the
Pocket PC operating system, replicates the functionality
of a telephone handset and delivers many traditional PBX
features in addition to enhanced capabilities found in a
SIP-based network. XPhone offers an intuitive phone-like
interface and can be easily customized.
XPhone delivers SIP-based communications and services in
a software-based phone for PC-to-Phone, Phone-to-PC, PC-to-PC,
PC-to-PDA, PDA-to-PC, PDA-to-Phone, Phone-to-PDA services.
Xten offers a free version of it's product: X-Lite
You can use X-Lite to make phone calls from your PC, Laptop
NOTE: Before you install X-Lite some user account information
is required from your SIP Proxy administrator before you
run the software for the first time.
A Phone number or SIP account number, is required to make and
receive calls. If you do not already have a SIP account, go to
World Dialup (FWD) allows you to make free phone calls over
the Internet using a 'regular' telephone or a computer program.
The FWD service has over 24,000 subscribers from over 100 countries.
You can join today, at no cost, by either using programs already
on your computer, or by downloading a free program. FWD services
work on Cable, DSL, Dialup modem, or a Wi-Fi network.