Instant communication-no handset or phone number required

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A small, wireless badge-like device worn on a lanyard or clipped to a shirt is now available for instant two-way communication with others throughout a building or campus.

A small, wireless badge-like device worn on a lanyard or clipped to a shirt is now available for instant two-way communication with others throughout a building or campus. The StarTrek-like "communicator" transmits over a wireless network and uses voice recognition. To locate and initiate a conversation with Dr. Jones, for example, the wearer simply says, "Find Dr. Jones."

Although the badge is not a phone, it does offer many of the same benefits. It can, for example, connect someone dialing in from a phone directly to a user's badge, and a badge wearer can also call any phone. In addition, text messages can be sent to the display on the back of the badge.

According to a report in Medicine on the Net (7/2008), the American Hospital Association (AHA) has exclusively endorsed the Vocera Communication Badge, developed by San Jose, California-based Vocera Communications, as the preferred instant communication standard for AHA's membership of hospitals and health-care organizations.

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