The Vocera device we commented before (see previous article with links to a video demo) has been updated to include push-to-talk features, voice-initiated paging and text-to-speech message playback.
The Vocera Communications System enables mobile workers within buildings or campuses to instantly connect with one another using simple voice commands. Combining the leading-edge technologies of Wireless LAN (WiFi), Voice over IP (VoIP), and speech recognition, the system allows users to communicate, make decisions, and act quickly anytime, anywhere within an 802.11b networked facility. The Vocera System consists of the Vocera System Software and Vocera Communications Badges. The Badge, weighing less than 2 ounces, can be clipped to a shirt pocket or collar, or worn on a lanyard, enabling instant, hands- free voice communication.
Leading the capabilities of Version 2.1, Vocera offers a push-to-talk mode for instant conversations among groups of users. In critical situations, system users can now make instant, unlimited connections to large groups of users without speech recognition. Users simply press and hold the Call Button on the Badge to broadcast to all members of a pre-defined group The new push-to-talk mode enhances the existing broadcast feature by enabling users receiving a broadcast to respond to the entire group with a single button press. The new feature is part of the standard Vocera Communications System which allows unlimited group sizes and numbers of groups, with no monthly recurring usage fees.
Version 2.1 debuts Vocera's new voice-initiated paging feature, giving the user the opportunity to send a numeric page using a voice command. This permits users to communicate more efficiently with off- site personnel and resources, thereby saving time and improving productivity for staff members.
The new text-to-speech message playback feature allows users to hear an audible playback of text or e-mail messages sent to their Badges. To access audible message playback, users simply give the voice command, "play text messages," and instantly hear text messages read back to them. New play, delete, and save commands also have been added for both text and e-mail messages, giving users flexibility when listening to their messages.
The system is sold through select value-added resellers across the United States and Canada. Pricing is based on purchases of the software, Badges, and software maintenance agreement. Server software licenses start at a list price of US$20,000 for a 75-seat users' license, and the Vocera Communications Badge, which can be shared by shift-based workers, sells for around US$350 depending on the configuration.