Skip to Main Content
Interplanetary explorers in science fiction have long worn communicators to keep in voice contact with team members and deliver crucial information just when needed. Wearers simply ask the badge to contact appropriate individuals by name, function, or location-voila, they are connected. Moreover, the badges respond only to their owners, not to nearby casual conversations. They are always light, small, and casually portable. Best yet they are no longer fiction. To see how this concept translates to a real-life working organization with pressing scheduled and a busy staff, I spoke with representatives from Vocera Communications, which has developed a working communicator badge system for mobile users, and from St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, which has deployed the Vocera system. As with other pervasive systems we've covered, this one delivers information directly to mobile workers, at the point of service, thus saving numerous trips to distant telephones, terminals, and PCs to get needed data and messages.