Sramana Mitra: In what other ways is the mobility trend affecting hospitals?
Brent Lang: A hospital is probably one of the most mobile environments in the world. There are very few workplaces you’ll go to where almost every employee is standing and walking for almost the entire day. There have been studies that showed that nurses can walk more than six miles a day. In fact, that’s one of the benefits we deliver because we’ve shown that by wearing a Vocera badge, we can reduce the number of miles a nurse walks by up to two.
Mobility as a trend is all about enabling users to do their jobs from wherever they are. If you think about whether it’s a hotel, a hospital or a retail store, people don’t want to have to leave whatever they’re doing just to be able to communicate with someone else. I think you see this trend with mobile phones in society as a whole, but within the working world, the same trend is there.
This trend of delivering information and access to people in a more mobile way is going to have a profound impact on the way we work and interact with other people.
SM: Would you talk a bit about your decision to branch into other areas besides hospitals?
BL: That’s a great question. Today we have more than 100 customers outside of health care, but when we started selling products, we were not health care focused. We viewed ourselves as a multi-vertical company. We initially launched into retail, hospitality, manufacturing and health care. In fact, our first customer was a big box retailer. What happened over time, during the early years when we were raising venture dollars and trying to make the company successful, was that we found the value proposition within health care was just stronger than in other marketplaces.
There were a couple reasons for this. One, hospitals have a lot more people, so there’s a lot more complexity to the communication flows than there are in, say, a retail store. Our solution is well suited for that. Two, hospitals are dealing with time-sensitive and potentially life-threatening critical information relative to, say, a retail store where a spill in aisle three is not likely to be life threatening unless somebody slips and falls because of it. Because the value proposition was stronger in health care, our business in the healthcare vertical grew more quickly. From a strategic standpoint, because we were relying on venture dollars to grow the business, we wanted to focus on the areas that gave us the biggest bang for our bucks. We focused more sharply on the healthcare marketplace.
Over time, we still saw there was a big opportunity in non-healthcare verticals. We look at them as a future option for growth. We will likely put more emphasis on and resources into those other markets because the product itself is highly configurable. There’s nothing about the product that prevents it from being sold into other vertical markets. It just happens that we focused our sales, services, and marketing efforts on the healthcare marketplace.