One of the more interesting trade show demos I have seen lately came from Motorola who was demonstrating their latest mobile voice and data solutions, such as their TEAM VoWLAN Solution (mobile access to toll-quality, PBX-based telephony, enterprise-grade Push-to-Talk, text messaging, email/calendar/PIM, Internet/intranet, line of business applications); TEAM Radio Link Solution (enabling basic Push-to-Talk talk-group communications capability between existing two-way radio systems and the TEAM solution devices); TEAM Express Solution (a downloadable voice client that enables basic Push-to-Talk communication between disparate devices); WLAN infrastructure; Voice-optimized data devices (mobile computers with rich data functionality and VoIP-enabled scanners); Security and management software.
An area of special interest was a demo of how verticals can increase productivity, responsiveness and collaboration with Motorola's integrated voice and data mobility solutions, Motorola also announced in conjunction with Vocera a new agreement to jointly deliver a way to extend Vocera's communications platform so it will work on various Motorola Enterprise Digital Assistants (EADs) and voice-over-wireless LAN (VoWLAN) smartphones so that healthcare staff can better access critical information, collaborate, provide improved patient safety and more attentive care, and otherwise streamline their communications.
The need for healthcare productivity increases have been touted by the Obama administration and as such it made great sense to investigate further.
To learn more, I caught up with Bart Lipinski, a Motorola External Communications Consultant; Russ Knister, Senior Director, Converged Enterprise Communications, Enterprise Mobility business, Motorola, Inc.; and Niraj Jain, Vocera Communications' VP Business Development. They showed me a ruggedized version of a WiFi phone that runs Vocera's software.
"Ultimately, everything boils down to mobility," says Motorola's Knister. "Whether it plays in a classic enterprise setting or one of the verticals, the introduction and increasing adoption of mobility indicates that customers like it, but they want choices in terms of the device which is right for job they want to do. That's why, between Motorola and Vocera, customers will be able to enjoy advanced mobile communications on all sorts of different devices. Vocera has already shown productivity enhancements in various venues."
"These first Vocera-enabled solutions will include such Motorola EDAs as the MC70, MC75 and MC55," says Vocera's Jain. "The second solution is the Vocera Smartphone that has all the phone functions along with our voice-enabled calling and messaging capabilities that work within the enterprise. It's based on Motorola's TEAM VoWLAN solution, and it will ship in the third quarter of 2009. We're picking up the WiFi phone as a cobranded product for the healthcare market, which makes sense since we're heavily into the healthcare vertical. The phone will run apps such as those that access electronic medical records, but it's quite rugged and will work in just about any environment. The phone can be seen as complimentary to our badge technology. The phone operates under the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system. Indeed, Vocera also has a new software client, to be sold as an upgrade, that runs on Windows Mobile handheld computers and instantly gives them VoWLAN capabilities. As a result, Vocera's technology will now run on a badge, smartphone or PDA. Customers are very impressed with the features."
"We figure that healthcare workers will save about 40 minutes in day using Vocera technology in combination with these devices," says Jain, "which makes a big difference for a nurse serving patients, since there on their feet all the time, and an extra 40 minutes might just allow them some time to eat lunch."
In addition to healthcare, retail is the other major VoWLAN market for us, because stores want multiple modes of communications, and we also do well in the hospitality area," says Jain. "You can find our technology running at the Plaza in New York City, and the Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles."
It looks like Motorola and Vocera's first public announcement will lead to a win-win situation for both companies.