|WEDNESDAY - NOVEMBER 22, 2006 - ISSUE NO. 237|
Dear friends of Wireless Messaging,
Greetings to everyone and for all the readers who are celebrating Thanksgiving day tomorrow—Happy Thanksgiving!
As you probably noticed, there was no newsletter last week. This week's issue is coming out on Wednesday due to the holiday. By December, I hope to have my move to Springfield, Illinois completed, to be back on a normal schedule, and to resume the podcasts. Please note my new address and telephone number at the end of this newsletter.
There was a rumor going around last week that USA Mobility was going to shut down their 152.480 MHz network. It was false.
Ron Mercer has a new e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now on to more news and views.
A new issue of The Wireless Messaging Newsletter gets posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the Internet. That way it doesn't fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world's major Paging and Wireless Data companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers—so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It's all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology. I regularly get reader's comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Data communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
NOTE: This newsletter is best viewed at screen resolutions of 800x600 (good) or 1024x768 (better). Any current revision of web browser should work fine. Please notify me of any problems with viewing. This site is compliant with XHTML 1.0 transitional coding for easy access from wireless devices. (XML 1.0/ISO 8859-1.)
|AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PAGING CARRIERS|
|FEATURED ADVERTISERS SUPPORTING THE NEWSLETTER|
Bell Industries, Inc.
John A. Fellows/Mitchell I. Rosen
Pondel Wilkinson Inc.
Roger S. Pondel/Angie H. Yang
BELL INDUSTRIES SIGNS ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE VERIZON BUSINESS’ SKYTEL UNIT
—Transaction Expected to Add New Growth Vehicle—
El Segundo, California—November 14, 2006—Bell Industries, Inc. (AMEX:BI) today announced it has entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets and assume certain liabilities of SkyTel Corp., a subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc.
The proposed transaction, which has been approved by Verizon management and the board of directors of Bell Industries, is subject to the completion of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including approval by the Federal Communications Commission. The parties expect the transaction to be completed in the next few months.
Headquartered in Clinton, Mississippi, SkyTel provides nationwide wireless services and support, including email, interactive two-way messaging, wireless telemetry services and traditional text and numeric paging, to business and government customers throughout the United States. SkyTel’s revenues over the past 12 months were more than $100 million.
“This transaction is in keeping with our objective of providing additional growth vehicles for Bell and expanding our reach beyond technology management and support services to wireless solutions,” said John Fellows, chief executive officer of Bell Industries. “SkyTel has a long and very distinct history of product innovation and market leadership. We look forward to providing SkyTel associates with a platform that will allow them to continue the successes they have achieved over the years.”
SkyTel is a unit of the former MCI, which was acquired by Verizon Communications Inc. earlier this year.
“Verizon Business is selling the SkyTel unit in order to even more closely focus on our core businesses of global IP services and next-generation services for large business and government customers, including advanced wireless services provided through Verizon Wireless,” said Ron McMurtrie, group president for specialized services for Verizon Business. “We wanted to carefully select a buyer to make sure this business transitions smoothly and we look forward to working with Bell Industries and our SkyTel customers in this transition.”
About Bell Industries, Inc.
Bell Industries is comprised of two diversified operating units, Bell’s Technology Solutions business and its Recreational Products Group. The company’s Technology Solutions business offers a comprehensive portfolio of technology products and managed lifecycle services, including planning, product sourcing, deployment and disposal, and support services. The Recreational Products Group distributes after-market parts and accessories primarily to the recreational vehicle and boating markets.
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a leading provider of advanced communications and information technology (IT) solutions to large business and government customers worldwide. Combining unsurpassed global network reach with advanced technology and professional service capabilities, Verizon Business delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. For more information visit www.verizonbusiness.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements, including, but not limited to, completion of the transaction to acquire SkyTel and its growth potential, are based upon our current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof. Actual results may differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and uncertainties, including uncertainties as to the nature of the industry, including changing customer demand, the impact of competitive products and pricing, dependence on existing management and general economic conditions. Bell Industries’ Annual Report on Form 10-K, recent and forthcoming Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, recent Current Reports on Form 8-K, and other SEC filings discuss some of the important risk factors that may affect the company’s business, results of operations and financial condition. Management undertakes no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason.
Source: Bell Industries Press Release
| SKYTEL TIMELINE|
SkyTel's revenues for the past 12 months were more than $100 million, according to a release from Bell Industries.
Calif. firm buys SkyTel for $23M
November 21, 2006
By Nell Luter Floyd
El Segundo, Calif.-based Bell Industries is buying SkyTel Corp. of Clinton for $23 million, pending federal approval.
"They're telling us we'll be part of Bell Industries and keep the jobs here," said Bruce Deer, president of SkyTel. "I think it's a good thing for us."
SkyTel is a subsidiary of Verizon Business and once was part of WorldCom, which was Mississippi's only Fortune 500 company.
SkyTel employs 350 people, 200 of whom are in Mississippi, said Peter Lucht, executive director of media relations for Verizon Business. "Most are in Clinton at the former WorldCom building," he said.
Verizon will continue to own the building in Clinton, he said.
"It will be up to Bell Industries to determine where the (SkyTel) employees work long term," Lucht said. That issue will be resolved closer to approval of the deal, he said.
The Federal Communications Commission has to approve transfers of wireless licenses and the deal is expected to be finalized in 30 to 60 days, he said.
Bell Industries provides technological support for business clients. John Fellows, chief executive officer of Bell Industries, said in a statement that SkyTel will grow the company and expand its reach beyond technology management and support services. The company had no further comment until after the deal is approved, a spokesman said.
Lucht said Verizon Business is selling SkyTel so it can focus on its core business for global IP services and next generation services for large business and government customers.
SkyTel, founded in Jackson in 1988 as part of Mtel, was one of the first nationwide satellite paging systems designed for the frequent business traveler. It was purchased by WorldCom in 1999.
WorldCom later become known as MCI after one of the nation's largest accounting scandals and going into bankruptcy. Verizon bought MCI in January 2006.
SkyTel provides nationwide wireless services and support, including e-mail, interactive two-way messaging, vehicle tracking and traditional text and numeric paging to business and government customers. Its revenues for the past 12 months were more than $100 million, according to Bell Industries.
Paging is still the company's "bread and butter," Deer said. The general public's use of pagers has dropped off in favor of cell phones, but physicians and emergency responders find pagers more reliable and consistent than cell phone service, he said.
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, a chartered financial analyst in Ridgeland, said she's not surprised by the sale, only that SkyTel wasn't sold sooner. "Verizon recognized it wasn't going to be a growth piece for the company," she said.
Ashby Foote, president of Vector Money Management in Jackson, said SkyTel was known as a leader in two-way paging, but technology has continued to evolve. "Just because you're the first in the market doesn't mean you'll be the one who carries the day," he said.
Terri Hudson, a SkyTel employee for 16 years and former chief financial officer for the company, said she considers the sale positive. She left SkyTel in 2000.
"I'm glad for my friends at SkyTel," said Hudson, a public finance banker at the Jackson office of Little Rock-based Stephens Inc. "They've gone through lots of transactions."
Bell Industries also makes after-market parts for recreational vehicles and snowmobiles, motorcycles and boats.
Source: Staff reports
Source: Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi)
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By Vic Jackson, Interconnection Services, Inc.
ROBBERY 1 OF A PAGING CARRIER CONFIRMED BY THE FCC!
November 17, 2006
Really, we’re not trying to outdo the National Enquirer! But the truth is sometimes a harsh reality!
The October 13th issue of the Newsletter headlined the release of the FCC’s Mountain Communications, Inc. v Qwest Communications, International, Inc. Order which “Granted Mountain's claim that Qwest's charges for transporting traffic to Mountain from Qwest's own customers are unlawful.” The significance of this FCC Order relates to those paging carriers that are being charged for Wide Area Calling, (otherwise known as “Reverse Billing,” “Area Wide Calling Plan”, or other similar services) under a state tariff or unregulated retail services rather than by the terms of an agreement. In essence, the FCC Order says a local exchange telephone company cannot charge a Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) paging carrier for Intra-MTA, wide area calling services without an agreement specific to the wide area calling arrangement. Bottom line, if your company is being charged for wide area calling services under a state tariff, rather than an agreement, the charges are unlawful and have been since November 1996. So, if you are in a similar situation, demand a refund!
If you go back to the Friday September 12, 2003 edition of the Brad Dye Paging and Wireless Data Newsletter (since renamed Wireless Messaging Newsletter) an article titled; “Robbery by Telephone Bill” discussed how the local telephone companies were unlawfully charging paging and cellular carriers for Wide Area Calling (Reverse Billing, Area Wide Calling Plan, etc.). The FCC’s recent October 2006 Order validated the theme of my contentions in that 2003 opinion piece that some local telephone companies have been “robbing” paging carriers with unlawful charges for wide area calling.
David Balsick, the president of Mountain Communications, has been fighting with Qwest, the Regional Bell Operating Company, over this issue since 1998. His persistence in demanding lawful interconnection with a Goliath telephone company has finally resulted in a win for the paging industry, but it was a long, expensive and difficult struggle. After filing a complaint at the FCC in September 2000, the Enforcement Bureau denied the complaint on February 4, 2002. Mountain immediately requested a review of the decision and the Commission again denied the complaint on July 25, 2002. Mountain then immediately petitioned for review of the FCC decision by a Federal Court of Appeals. It was Mountain Communications versus the FCC and the Government of the United States. As in the ancient story, David, (pun intended) prevailed over the Goliaths and in a January 2004 opinion, the Count found that the FCC had made an arbitrary and capricious decision and “remanded” (sent back to the FCC) Mountain’s complaint. Finally, after more than six years, and in spite of some tedious legal arguments and objections from Qwest, the FCC issued its October 2006 Order granting Mountain’s original complaint and confirming that Qwest has been unlawfully charging Mountain for Wide Area Calling. Additionally, the Order re-affirmed that a local telephone company cannot charge for facilities/delivery of any Intra-MTA call traffic originated by that telephone company without an agreement that allows it to levy charges for that traffic.
If you are part of the twenty-first century paging industry, call or e-mail Dave Balsick (719-240-1554 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and thank him for scoring a big one for wireless messaging. He has won a very hard fought victory over those local exchange carriers that continue to “rob” paging carriers through unlawful billings and/or tactics that force the paging carriers to pay more than their fair share of interconnection facilities.
1 The American Heritage Dictionary defines “Robbery” as: “The act or an instance of unlawfully taking the property of another by the use of violence or intimidation.”
Source: Vic Jackson
Vic Jackson is the founder of Interconnection Services, Inc., which specializes in assisting Commercial Mobile Radio Service carriers seeking Interconnection Agreements with other telecommunications carriers, Interconnection Issues and other Interconnection related services. Additionally, Vic is a telecommunications consultant for businesses, educational institutions, and government telecommunications systems.Vic’s background is technical and systems management, including paging systems, two way mobile systems, telephone networks, and computer applications. For the past thirty years he has been involved in negotiating wireless interconnection and numbering issues with the local exchange carriers in various capacities on a local, regional and nationwide basis. He has also made numerous presentations as a nationally recognized authority on interconnection issues before industry groups, FCC staff, Regional Bell Operating companies, and state commissions. Please see www.interconnectionservices.com for more information.
GTES has recently made the strategic decision to expanding its development activities to include wireless location technologies; a market that researchers forecast could reach $3.6 billion by 2010. In support of this new strategic direction, GTES has developed SHERLOC™ a complete one-stop wireless location service, providing the flexibility of being protocol neutral and network agnostic. Targeted at business customers who need to track their high-value shipments or better manage their service or delivery fleets, SHERLOC™ is a hosted application that combines configuration flexibility with ease of use.
GTES is offering SHERLOC™ services both directly and through authorized resellers. If your company has an interest in finding out how location services can enhance your revenue stream, and has the contacts and expertise to make you successful in the location marketplace, please contact us for further information at www.sherlocgps.com and select “Reseller Opportunities,” or call us at 770-754-1666 for more information.
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FIRST ZIGBEE CERTIFIED PRODUCTS NOW AVAILABLE
Alliance Testing Program Ensures Quality from Beginning to End of Supply Chain
Munich, Germany and San Ramon, Calif. – November 14, 2006 – The ZigBee™ Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in residential, commercial and industrial applications, today announced the first group of ZigBee Certified Products, marking a major milestone in the Alliance’s ultimate vision of creating an open, global, wireless sensor and control networking solution. Member companies earning ZigBee Certified Product status include MaxStream, NEC Engineering, S3C and Software Technologies Group.
The ZigBee Certified Product testing program offers original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and others, a process proving the robustness of their ZigBee products at testing facilities with known ZigBee network implementations. Upon successful test completion, approved products earn the right to display the ZigBee logo. The ZigBee logo signifies to consumers, business and industrial users that they can safely purchase ZigBee Certified Products and be assured of networking performance.
“With the ZigBee Alliance’s focus on creating interoperability and proving the capabilities of ZigBee products via the ZigBee Certified Product testing program demonstrates why In-Stat believes ZigBee will be the dominant wireless mesh networking technology,” says Chris Kissel, In-Stat analyst. “In-stat expects a river of ZigBee products to hit the market in the coming years not only because of the technology, but because the ZigBee Alliance is an open community actively promoting the technology.”
“ZigBee Certified Products answer a global need for a variety of commercial and industrial sensor and control networks based on a recognized wireless networking standard,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. “In the coming year, we expect the availability of many more ZigBee Certified Products to exponentially increase and provide answers to a variety of needs such as energy management, mcommerce, building management, home convenience and security. ZigBee is the only wireless technology in the market today designed with the lowest-power consumption rates and highest security, convenience and reliability.”
All ZigBee Certified Products are designed on one of the Alliance’s more than 30 approved ZigBee Compliant Platforms, and have passed stringent independent lab tests conducted by NTS and TUV Rheinland Group.
“The testing program developed by the ZigBee Alliance is a robust and reliable process which will ensure the ability of certified ZigBee products to perform in ZigBee networks as promised,” said Osman Sakr, Chief Technology Officer of NTS.
Dr. John Lin, Wireless Business Development Manager of TUV Rheinland Group added, “Independent testing plays a key role in any technology standard’s development and ZigBee has taken stringent steps to assure home, commercial or industrial users that ZigBee products offer wireless control that works.”
The first group of ZigBee Certified Products address a variety of commercial and industrial needs.
Maxstream - XBee:
The XBee line simplifies adding ZigBee technology into any OEM’s or systems integrators existing electronic products/systems. XBee is tailored towards industrial and commercial applications requiring robust, reliable wireless communications in harsh environments. The XBee and XBee-PRO OEM RFmodules are interchangeable and allow for customizable networks that yield desired performance needs. The XBee product line is available now at http://www.maxstream.net/products/xbee/xbee-oem-rf-modulezigbee.php
NEC Engineering - ZB24FM-Z:
The ZB24FM-Z family of embedded modules from NEC Engineering, provides a PC-hosted human presence management solution. This product allows for the monitoring and communication with any person voluntarily carrying the device as they enter or exit a defined location. The system allows facility managers to gain accurate headcounts at private events or locati ons and improve emergency response planning. The ZB24FM-Z family's bi-directional communication function uniquely allows facility managers to send commands indicating an alert to each device in case of emergency, dramatically improving safety communication. The ZB24FM series is available now at http://www.neceng.com/pro/zigbee/.
S3C - GC63:
The GC63-Wireless from S3C is a new ZigBee-based differential pressure sensor for wireless applications. Its accompanying mesh network software supports self-forming and self-healing networks and interfaces with S3C’s proprietary gateway package, SensGate, allowing seamless integration with Open Data-Base Connectivity compliant data management systems. The outstanding power performance allows continuous operation for four years on 2 AA batteries. The GC63 includes a custom version of S3C’s wireless sensor interface module, XM2400, which can turn virtually any sensor into a wireless node using its built-in analog, digital or serial interfaces. Benefits include superior operational control, negligible installation cost and ease of maintenance compared with existing wired sensors. The GC63-Wireless and XM2400 will ship in the first quarter of 2007. www.s3cinc.com
Software Technologies Group - Sensor Network Infrastructure (SNI):
SNI products enable rapid development of ZigBee-based sensor network products for a variety of commercial and industrial applications. This line of products allows users to install sensors and other control mechanisms wirelessly and connect to a remote master control area. SNI products include a variety of network infrastructure devices including central gateways, routers and sensor interface products. SNI products have been tested in various real-world sensor applications, including a 250 node deployment of a wireless fire extinguisher monitoring system. See www.stg.com/wireless
ZigBee Certified Testing Programs:
Manufacturers, OEMs and developers can qualify for one of two test programs: the “ZigBee Compliant Platform” testing program is for chip suppliers or platforms that are intended to be used as building blocks for end products; the “ZigBee Certified” testing program applies to modules and end products built on a ZigBee Compliant Platform. All testing programs ensure that ZigBee devices delivered to the market will coexist in ZigBee network environments designed by the end user.
ZigBee: Wireless Control That Simply Works
The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost effective, low-power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance membership comprises technology providers and original equipment manufacturers worldwide. Membership is open to all. Additional information can be found at www.zigbee.org.
National Technical Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of engineering services to the defense, aerospace, telecommunications, automotive and high technology markets. Through a world-wide network of resources, NTS provides full product life-cycle support, offering world class design engineering, compliance, testing, certification, quality registration and program management. For additional information about NTS, visit our website at www.ntscorp.com or call 800-270-2516.About TUV TUV Rheinland Group, headquartered in Cologne, Germany with offices and laboratories worldwide, provides third party testing and certification of products ranging from consumer goods to heavy machinery. TUV offers safety, and regulatory certification services, including FCC TCB, EU Notified Body, Japan Wireless Regulatory approvals for a wide range of wireless products. TUV also brings a wealth of experience from other wireless standards to the ZigBee Alliance, being appointed BQTF of Bluetooth SIG and a WiFi Alliance accredited Testing Facility for Logo certification. Visit our website a www.tuv.com.
GolinHarris for ZigBee Alliance
All company, brand, and product names may be trademarks that are the sole property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
# # #
Source: ZigBee Alliance
We at Unication have listened and delivered.
About Unication Co., Ltd.
|BLOOSTON, MORDKOFSKY, DICKENS, DUFFY & PRENDERGAST, LLP|
BloostonLaw Telecom Update
SENATE CONFIRMS MARTIN TO SECOND FULL 5-YEAR TERM AT FCC
The U.S. Senate last week confirmed Kevin Martin to a second full term as Commissioner and Chairman of the FCC. Martin was unanimously reconfirmed 21-0 by the Senate Commerce Committee last September, and his nomination was awaiting a floor vote when it was suddenly placed on hold.
According to press reports, U.S. Senator John Sununu (R-N.H.) had placed the hold, even though he was one of the Commerce Committee members who had voted to unanimously reconfirm Martin. Apparently, the hold was linked to the FCC’s requirement that voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) providers deliver E911 calls to a local emergency operator as a standard feature rather than an option. At the time, Broadcasting & Cable Magazine reported that Sununu’s office had neither confirmed nor denied the hold (BloostonLaw Telecom Update, October 4).
In any event, the hold disappeared last week as mysteriously as it arrived two months ago, and Martin has now been confirmed by the full Senate. Martin’s first term expired June 30; he was re-nominated to a second five-year term by President Bush. If the Democrats win the White House in 2008, however, Martin would step down as Chairman, although he could still serve out the remainder of his term as Commissioner.
In a statement on his confirmation, Martin said, “I will continue to work to provide a regulatory environment that promotes competition and drives investment and innovation while protecting consumers and promoting public safety."
BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
AUCTION OF UNSOLD BROADBAND PCS SPECTRUM SCHEDULED FOR MAY 16, 2007: The FCC has scheduled Auction No. 71—the auction of unsold broadband personal communications service (PCS) spectrum in various bands between 1850-1990 MHz—for May 16, 2007. The spectrum to be auctioned has been offered previously in other auctions but was unsold and/or returned to the Commission as a result of license cancellation or termination. Auction No. 71 includes licenses for A, C, D, E, and F blocks of broadband PCS spectrum. We noted that no Tier 1 licenses (comprising markets with population at or above 2.5 million, based on 2000 decennial census figures ) will be offered in Auction 71. C1, C2, C3, and C4 licenses in Tier 2 (all remaining markets) are generally available only to “entrepreneurs” in “closed” bidding. This eligibility restriction no longer applies, however, to licenses that have been made available on that basis, but not won, in any auction beginning on or after March 23, 1999. Thus, certain licenses that were formerly subject to “closed” bidding and available only to “entrepreneurs” are now offered in “open” bidding in Auction No. 71. We also note that (1) some of the C block licenses to be offered in Auction No. 71 are available to all bidders in “open” bidding, while others are available only to “entrepreneurs” in “closed” bidding; (2) certain of the licenses available in Auction No. 71 will cover less bandwidth and fewer frequencies than listed on the FCC-published tables; and (3) while much of the private and common carrier fixed microwave services (FMS) operating in the 1850-1990 MHz band (and other bands) have been relocated to available frequencies in higher bands or to other media, some FMS licensees may still be operating in the band. Finally, the FCC seeks comment on the auction procedures in this AU Docket No. 06-206 proceeding. Comments are due December 4, and replies are due December 11.
BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast, and Cary Mitchell.
Source: Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy and Prendergast, LLP
For additional information, contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or email@example.com
|EUROPEAN MOBILE MESSAGING ASSOCIATION|
|EUROPEAN MOBILE MESSAGING ASSOCIATION|
Palm CEO on Apple iPhone Threat
Wednesday November 22, 2006 02:14 AM EST
Posted by arn
MercuryNews.com reports on comments by Palm's CEO Ed Colligan on the persistent rumors that Apple will be introducing a Apple phone in the near future.
Overall, Colligan was not concerned about Apple's possible entry into the smart-phone market.
"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,'' he said. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in.''
Colligan does theorize that Apple might offer their phone with Wifi technology and distribute the phone in Apple stores rather than through the traditional wireless carriers, such as Cingular or Verizon.
Apple has been rumored to have paired with Cingular for their 2007 launch of the iPhone. Recent announcements, however, have cast some doubt on this arrangement.
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Use of Mobile and Wireless Technology Jumps in Hospitals
By Neil Versel
November 21, 2006 | TECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Even though adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and other clinical IT remains fairly anemic, at least one aspect of health-IT has taken giant steps forward in the last few years: the use of mobile and wireless technology where choices are proliferating.
"This really is the third generation of wireless in healthcare," says Neil Martin, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Doctors and other healthcare professionals have progressed from pagers to basic cell phones and now to data-enabled "smartphones."
Remember personal digital assistants (PDAs) with docks or infrared beams for synching? That is soooo Y2K. Even Wi-Fi cards for laptop computers have started to seem dated.
"We've seen evolution from cradle synching," says Mireille Gotsis, a Redmond, Wash.-based healthcare industry manager for Cingular Wireless (Atlanta). Physicians have been trading in their old, disconnected PDAs for modern PDA smartphones with cellular integration and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless functionality for use within the clinical environment.
"Now everyone is looking at the shiny, new devices that provide those integrated capabilities," Gotsis says. "You try to reach the physician or the clinician wherever they are."
And practitioners want to be reached. "As a neurosurgeon, I'm all over the hospital," Martin says. "I guess I'm the ultimate mobile professional." And he needs more than vmail. Martin needs access to images when consulting on patients in critical care.
An MRI or CT scan viewed on a PDA or smartphone may not be diagnostic-quality for a radiologist, but for a neurosurgeon or other specialist helping to treat life-threatening emergencies, the resolution is just fine, according to Martin. He says that a smartphone screen just happens to be about the size of one square of a 12-image MRI film, which is good enough for him.
"We're not looking for tiny things when we're called about changes to patients in intensive care," Martin says. "The issue is not: Will you miss some tiny details? The issue is: Can you access the information when you get called from the ER? There's got to be a real-time way to get the information."
With his all-in-one mobile device, Martin can look at EKG wave forms from afar, not just lab reports, allowing him to alert the operating room that a patient is on the way. "It shortens the decision cycle," Martin says.
"It eliminates unnecessary trips to the hospital," he says. In congested southern California traffic, that is an important plus.
As the hardware has progressed, so has the network infrastructure behind it. It has been possible for years to connect a cell phone to a computer modem and get dial-up Internet access from just about anywhere, but anyone who has cable or DSL Internet service at home knows how painfully slow a 56-kilobit-per-second (kbps) dial-up connection can be.
Three years ago, it used to take 30 seconds to transfer an image over cellular airwaves. By next year, Martin expects download time to shrink to a mere 3 seconds, thanks to a new generation of wireless broadband technology. "Now the technology that we envisioned years ago is feasible," says Martin, who also is chief medical officer and co-founder of Global Care Quest, a mobile healthcare software developer in Aliso Viejo, Calif.
He says that the networks of Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel have been upgraded tremendously, based on a data-transmission protocol known as Evolution Data Optimized (EVDO).
Late last month, Sprint upgraded its broadband network by debuting EVDO Revision A in the San Diego area, and the company announced plans to add 20 additional markets by year's end and to have the fast data exchange available nationwide by the third quarter of 2007.
Revision A of the technology increases download speed slightly, to about 450-800 kbps, but accelerates upload speed to 300-400 kbps, roughly six times faster than the previous range. Peak download speed might "burst" as high as 3.1 megabits per second and uploads to 1.8 Mbps, according to Verizon and technology partner Nortel. Verizon has not said when it intends to move to Revision A.
"That's going to give us DSL speed over a cellular network," Martin raves.
For its part, Cingular has high-speed data networks in 52 metropolitan areas using a protocol known as Universal Mobile Telephone System/High Speed Downlink Packet Access (UMTS/HSDPA). These networks deliver sustained download speeds of 400-700 kbps, with bursts topping 1 Mbps.
Something as fast as home DSL certainly can't compete with a well-developed hospital network, but speed is relative. In the hospital, physicians would stop using wireless devices if it took a several seconds to pull up an image. "If you're sitting in a restaurant a half-hour from the hospital, taking 10 seconds doesn't seem so bad," Martin says.
One challenge is easing the transition between wide-area networks like cellular broadband and local-area networks such as a Wi-Fi hot spot, Gotsis says. She mentions a Seattle-based company called NetMotion Wireless that has developed a mobile virtual private network (VPN) specifically for healthcare and public-safety usage to smooth the handoff between wireless WAN and LAN environments.
Earlier this year, Cingular launched Office Reach a product that connects wireless devices to existing PBX telephone systems, enabling a cell phone to work like just another internal phone extension. "We've seen quite a bit of interest there," Gotsis says.
Soon, cellular data networks will be able to detect a user's presence on a VPN. If a user is busy updating records, that person is not immediately available for another appointment. "This really helps with the scheduling of a homecare nurse," Gotsis says.
Cingular also is testing an Internet-based technology called IP Media Subsystem (IMS), which will enable the simultaneous transmission of voice and data; for example, someone in a hospital could send images and test results to a remote, consulting physician. If the doctor has a nearby computer with Bluetooth connectivity, the cell phone could function as a modem while the doctor is talking.
Region-by-region introduction of this is planned starting in 2007, Gotsis says.
Laying the groundwork for such future innovations, the University of Chicago Hospitals installed a comprehensive wireless infrastructure, covering about 95 percent of its campus -- including the hallways, stairwells and elevators in its older buildings -- on multiple frequencies.
Even cell signals are now as strong deep inside aging buildings as they are in the university's gleaming, new children's hospital. "We also found that our pagers and radios work flawlessly," says vice president and chief information officer Eric Yablonka.
"Mobility within the building is critical," Yablonka explains. The hospital has replaced its old paging system with wireless IP phones for those on the move. The floors are quieter and clinician response is quicker. "And the nurses love it," Yablonka adds.
Campus security is wireless-enabled, and some other building functions such as lighting and HVAC could go wireless if management wanted to make the switch, Yablonka says. The infrastructure is secure and robust enough that Yablonka is comfortable providing wireless Internet access to patients and visitors on a segmented part of the network that does not compete with critical hospital systems.
"This is a disruptive, enabling technology," he says. In this case, disruptive is a positive in that it challenges old, inefficient ways of doing things.
That is exactly the way it should be, suggests Intel senior healthcare strategist Ron Ribitzky, M.D. "Mobility by itself is not a panacea for the delivery of data," Ribitzky said in a recent Webcast organized by ambulatory electronic medical records (EMR) vendor Allscripts. Mobility merely enables delivery.
"If we don't understand the business proposition, it will not work," Ribitzky says. What is the desired outcome of IT investment? It could be financial, it could be clinical quality improvement, or it could be workflow optimization to enable outcomes measurement.
In his view, mobility has three components: tagging, moving, and connecting. Tagging is the ability to identify and account for what is moving, Ribitzky says. "The key point is to enable people to connect to the data from wherever they are."
For Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, part of Jefferson Health System in Philadelphia, the goal of IT was more accurate charge capture and better communication between more than two dozen sites.
Each of the 60 clinicians carries a Hewlett-Packard iPaq PDA loaded with an Allscripts e-prescribing module and linked to an IDX scheduling system. Built-in wireless connectivity permits charge capture at the point of care.
The practice created "exploding sets" that open up custom templates and populate multiple data fields as a physician clicks on a particular procedure or order. "We are much less likely to miss [charges for] procedures that are being done," explains medical director Julie Massey, M.D.
The prescribing component connects in real time to payer formularies, provides interaction alerts, and can learn physician "favorites" to save time in the future. The system also gives practitioners routine clinical reminders for specific types of patient visits.
Massey reports that physicians initially were reluctant to take over charge capture from office staff, and it often takes a couple of months for new doctors to program their preferred medications into the system. "Once they get over that learning hump, physicians love it," Massey claims. They no longer have to fill out paper encounter slips, and the bills are submitted electronically so claims are cleaner.
And there's another side benefit of the mobile devices. "Our kids, in particular, just love us carrying around our iPaqs," says Massey, a pediatrician.
Source: Digital HealthCare & Productivity.com
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How to communicate when disaster strikes
Networks offer breakthroughs in affordable emergency radio
Posted: November 21, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Joseph Farah
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
WASHINGTON — What happens when the television signal goes dark, when the electrical grid fails, when regular and cellular phone service won't work and even the Internet is not accessible?
Communication is one of the critical components of disaster-planning scenarios, as anyone who watches the hit CBS series "Jericho," about the isolation of a small Kansas town after a nuclear attack, can tell you.
'Jericho' on CBS depicts how Americans deal with aftermath of nuclear detonation
Apparently, they never heard of Family Radio Service in the town of Jericho.
Family Radio Service is a very low power, short-range UHF citizens band in the 460 MHz band that some civil-defense activists believe offers great promise in worst-case communications disaster scenarios.
The hand-held two-way radios sell for as little as $20 and a rapidly developing National SOS Radio Network is aiming to plug in approximately 100 million U.S. users with direct communication with about 700,000 ham operators.
It's the brainchild of Eric Knight, a ham radio veteran of 32 years. He says training is essential to the success of the program and statewide and nationwide drills are being prepared to help bring the network to life.
The DC Emergency Radio Network is an example of what could be in place soon for much of the nation. If there's a power, telephone, cell-phone or Internet failure, the DC Emergency Radio Network can keep Washington-area residents in touch with neighbors, family and official announcements.
DC Emergency Radio Network uses Family Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service, or GMRS, radios on channel 1, no privacy channel (subchannel 0).
Many people in the Washington area already have FRS and GMRS radios. They are the same small handheld walkie-talkie radios that people use to keep in touch at parks and on ski slopes. They're sold at Radio Shack, Best Buy, Staples and elsewhere. FRS radios are license-free and have a range of 1/4 to 1 mile; GMRS radios have a range of 5 to 10 miles.
"If normal modes of communication go down or become unreliable – because of a terrorist attack, power outage, cell-phone network congestion, storm or other problem – the DC Emergency Radio Network is a pre-planned way of communicating and relaying vital information," explains the cooperative.
Earlier this year, the Midland Radio Corporation, REACT International, the DC Emergency Radio Network, and NationalSOS.com jointly announced their support for the National SOS Radio Network – a free communications network based on the estimated 100 million FRS-compatible radios already in the hands of the public, a number growing by up to 12 million radios per year.
Born in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, organizers recognized that a major contributing factor to the tragic loss of life was the near total breakdown of communication systems. Once electricity, telephone, and cell-phone services failed, people were unable to let rescuers know of their dire situation – and died as a result.
The National SOS Radio Network doesn't require new laws or any new legislation, organizers say. It could be effective immediately. Once the ham and GMRS radio communities are made aware to listen for the public's emergency FRS broadcasts, the national network will be up and running.
"We are honored to be teaming up with three fantastic organizations in the field of communications," Knight said. "Midland Radio is a long-time pioneer in innovative radio technology. REACT International, Inc. has been at the forefront of an all-citizen emergency communications network for nearly 50 years and introduced FRS radio as an important public communications tool in 2000. And the DC Emergency Radio Network is a brilliant example of using FRS radios to connect people and neighborhoods in an emergency."
Bill Adler, the founder of the DC Emergency Radio Network, DCERN, said he wants to see every household in America with an FRS or GMRS radio.
"As we've learned from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and other disasters, without communications nothing else operates effectively," Adler said. "I envision a national network of ordinary Americans with FRS and GMRS radios who can relay information in an emergency. When a natural or manmade disaster strikes, the only good communications system is one that will actually work. The idea behind this new emergency network is to have a simple, reliable communications system that doesn't depend on electricity or standing cell-phone towers – and that anyone of any age can use."
In addition to these private efforts to equip Americans with the communications devices they need for civil defense emergencies, the Department of Homeland Security also recently moved to spend $5 million to supply all 97,000 public schools with hazard-warning radios activated with a broadcast signal. Originally conceived to deliver weather warnings, the system now covers all hazards, including terrorism and abducted children.
Source: WorldNetDaily (Thanks to Aaron Osgood)
• FIREHOUSES • SCHOOLS • PUBLIC FACILITIES • GOVERNMENT FACILITIES • EMERGENCY ROOMS •
WHAT DO FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES, WISPS, HAVE IN COMMON?
THEY ALL USE NIGHTHAWK.
Nighthawk Systems Inc. manufactures low cost and reliable remote control products for fire house alerting, volunteer alerting, activation of warning signs and sirens, and a number of applications for public safety. The Company manufactures the EA1 and the FAS-8 which have been designed specifically for these applications. Both products are paging based and will work with any public or private paging network. They are available in all VHF, UHF, and 900 MHz paging frequencies. The products can serve as the primary notification system or an excellent, low-cost backup to existing systems.
The EA1 is the solution for remotely activating public warning signage. Examples include tornado sirens, flash flood warnings, fire danger, Amber Alert, icy roads, etc. The EA1 can also send text messages to scrolling signs. This can occur in conjunction with the activation of audible alarms and visual strobes. This is ideal for public notification in buildings, schools, hotels, factories, etc. The group call feature allows for any number of signs or flashing lights to be activated at the same time over a wide geographic area. In addition, the EA1 Emergency Alert is the perfect solution for low cost yet highly effective alerting of volunteer fire fighters in their home. When activated the EA1 will emit an audible alarm and activate the power outlet on the units faceplate. A common setup is to simply place the EA1 on a table and plug a lamp into the faceplate. When paged from dispatch or any touch tone phone the EA1 will awaken the fire fighter to a lit room. As an option the EA1 can be ordered with a serial cable, allowing for attachment of a serial printer. When paged the alphanumeric message will be printed out at the same time the alarm sounds and the outlet is activated. The EA1 is an ideal complement to alphanumeric belt pagers common to volunteers.
The FAS-8 is designed for activating one or more relays in a firehouse and if desired, printing the alphanumeric message to a serial printer. For this application the FAS-8 is set to activate upon receiving the proper paging cap code sent from 911 dispatch. Up to eight different devices can be activated all with individual time functions. The most common devices to turn on include the PA amplifier, audible wake up alarm, and house lights. The most common device turned off is the stove. The FAS-8 can accept up to 8 different cap codes and have separate relay and time functions per cap code. This allows for different alerting to be accomplished at the same physical location depending upon which cap code is sent. This can be very helpful when fire crews and medical crews are housed in the same building.
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Display-IT comes in two different sizes, either two or four feet in length, both with highly readable 4.75" high LED characters. Your wireless sign can be programmed to use your local paging carrier for message updates, or simply attach InfoRad's TX125-EN transmitter / encoder to your computer via your serial port for onsite messaging to the wireless LED signs.
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TAPS—Texas Association of Paging Services is looking for partners on 152.480 MHz. Our association currently uses Echostar, formerly Spacecom, for distribution of our data and a large percentage of our members use the satellite to key their TXs. We have a CommOneSystems Gateway at the uplink in Chicago with a back-up running 24/7. Our paging coverage area on 152.480 MHz currently encompasses Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Kansas. The TAPS paging coverage is available to members of our Network on 152.480 MHz for $.005 a transmitter (per capcode per month), broken down by state or regions of states and members receive a credit towards their bill for each transmitter which they provide to our coverage. Members are able to use the satellite for their own use If you are on 152.480 MHz or just need a satellite for keying your own TXs on your frequency we have the solution for you.
TAPS will provide the gateways in Chicago, with Internet backbone and bandwidth on our satellite channel for $ 500.00 (for your system) a month.
Contact Ted Gaetjen @ 1-800-460-7243 or firstname.lastname@example.org CLICK TO E-MAIL
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
Date: November 16, 2006 8:50:36 PM CST
Hope things are going well with you and your new pod casts. I am sending this email to see if you would forward it to your readers and see if any one would be interested in some of the items that I have and I want to get rid of. I have about 10 or so P935’s in the box brand new with software. It even comes with service level grade software to allow you to remove passwords. Make me an offer for one or all…. I also have a Alpha mate keyboard on EBay if someone want to bid… CLICK HERE
Again thanks for all you devotion to the newsletter to keep up informed on the lasted news… and giving us something to look forward to on Fridays!
Carter C Blumeyer
Desk 301-874-4232 FAX 301-874-1301
Nextel 301-573-5578 Cingular 573-268-3000
USA Mobility/SMS 866-227-6582 DC 164*988*1742
4420 Buckeystown Pike
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Subject: RE: Wireless Messaging Newsletter for Steven Day
Date: November 13, 2006 9:02:16 AM CST
John Franklin Larison
November 8, 2006
A meeting of memories will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Riva Grill for John Franklin Larison, 76, who died Nov. 3, 2006, at Stateline, Nev.
John was born July 26, 1930, in Hot Lake, Ore., to John Spencer Larison and Emmy Louise Knotts. He honorably served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1954 and attended Eastern Oregon College. After the Navy he worked for RCA, and the Army Signal Corp. as a civilian. He went on to co-found a communications business dealing primarily in paging. He was a scientist, scholar and entrepreneur. He was known for his love of snowboarding and skiing and for his philanthropic activities that helped several area students attend college. He was an avid parachutist and loved motorcycling, diving and general outdoor activities. He traveled across the country and throughout the world to pursue his passions.
He is survived by children, Michael and Marsha Bluto; grandchildren, Larison, Cole and Marijke Bluto; brother and sister-in-law, Craig and Beverly Larison of La Grande, Ore.; and nieces, Kari Ewert and Kelli Lovell.
|UNTIL NEXT WEEK|
That's all for this week. Please keep in touch.
With best regards,
P.O. Box 13283
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