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Vo-Fi Vendor Vocera Scores Motorola Money

In our recent evaluation of Vo-Fi handsets, Vocera stood out as clearly targeted at verticals such as health care and manufacturing where hands-free communication through their innovative speech-recognition command system allows employees to remain in communication without interrupting their work. The recent investment of capital from Motorola should allow Vocera to generally improve their product and perhaps customize the functionality to meet the specific demands of hotel, library and retail environments. Another market of opportunity would be branching out to non-English speaking nations but the big hurdle there is expanding the speech-recognition functionality to support the native dialect--hopefully the influx of additional capital will fuel this, allowing Vocera to expand to the global market. In the future we'd expect the Vocera badge to move to an 802.11g radio (allowing more calls per AP) as well as integrating standards-based QoS in the form of WMM for proper prioritization of voice over data traffic.

Jameson Blandford
Network Computing contributing editor


This isn't Motorola's first Vo-Fi investment: It also owns stakes in Wi-Fi infrastructure vendors Trapeze Networks and Extricom, the latter of which has an architecture originally designed for Vo-Fi. Motorola Ventures has continued to up its stake in Trapeze, even though it competes with Extricom and with Motorola itself (thanks to its acquisition of Symbol.)

Andy Dornan
Network Computing Senior Technology Editor

Motorola disclosed this week that it has made an equity stake in Vocera Communications, a maker of lightweight wireless handsets designed for use by mobile workers--especially those in environments such as health care, manufacturing, hospitality and retail--who benefit from hands-free communications.

Vocera's flagship technology, known as the Vocera Communication System, consists of a wearable badge that personnel can use to contact co-workers. The technology blends Wi-Fi, Voice over IP and speech-recognition technology to simplify and expedite collaboration among highly mobile workers within a campus environment.

Vocera said the investment would help the company extend the development of its existing technology platform to meet what the vendor described as the increasingly complex needs of its customers.

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