Vocera Communications of Cupertino, California, has introduced two-ounce wearable com badges, 4.2” long x 1.4” wide, using VoIP/WiFi convergence and voice recognition at the server. (The Vocera Communications Badge has just won the 2004 Industrial Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America and BusinessWeek.)
These work quite nicely in a single facility or campus like an office building, a hospital, or a university, with a distributed WiFi network. Think of the advantage of instantaneous two-way communication within your organization. Touch the badge, speak the name of the person you wish to contact, and the server will match the name to a badge, will locate the badge on the network, and will establish a two-way voice link between the badges, which will be managed in much the same way as the cellular network manages calls between moving parties. The system even permits conferences among more than two users.
J. Anthony Vittal, ABA Technology Report