Friday, December 21, 2012

Fun with Verizon Wireless

Last week, a Public Relations Specialist from Verizon Wireless came down from Chicago to spend the day with me and Farmer Doc. Paul wanted to see how we use technology in our daily lives and at work and how Verizon Wireless could help us do our jobs better.

I know that we learned a lot from Paul, and I think he learned some things about rural Indiana and had a pretty good time in the process. We started the morning off with a farm call to do pregnancy checks on a herd of beef cows. We let Paul have the full experience. This cow was 5 months pregnant. And Paul got to check it out for himself! (Apparently, VZW does not have an app that will help with this. Oh well. I guess that’s job security for us!)

Pauls first preg check
We definitely gave Paul feeling of what it’s like to be a mixed-animal veterinarian in southwest Indiana. We saw a little bit of everything – a cold farm call to check pregnant cows, pet vaccinations back in the warm office, a dog with heartworms, a cat teeth cleaning, and a series of x-rays with barium contrast in a cat with a mass in its abdomen!

While we do have a website and some neat online services for our clients, there is still one big technology gap at the Princeton Veterinary Hospital. Cell service. Right outside our building (and throughout Princeton and almost all of Gibson County) the VZW 4G service is spectacular. (Just download the free Speed Test app to check it out!) But as soon as you walk in our door the cell signal evaporates. Something about a two-story metal building. Since our phones are constantly searching for service all day, the batteries don’t last very long. The problem is that we are on call for emergencies after hours. And if our cell phones go dead, we can’t take emergency phone calls.

To try to solve this problem, Farmer Doc and I have a Motorola RAZR MAXX HD phone to try for a few weeks. This phone has a monster battery life, and so far is passing the test! (PS, that’s 11:17 PM in this photo… and still 57% battery life left!)

VZW RAZR MAXX HD screenshot
Paul is also going to ship us a Network Extender to try for a few weeks to see if this solves the signal problem in the building. Theoretically, all we need to do is set up up near an upstairs window, and it should boost the cell service and 3G signal inside the entire building. We should be getting this neat toy in a few days, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it works!

As a large animal internal medicine specialist, I mainly serve as a consultant for Farmer Doc and the other vets in our practice. And I get a lot of phone calls with “can you give me your opinion on this case?” The truth is, it can be really hard to give a medical opinion without seeing a patient. Verizon Wireless to the rescue! With their Looxcie Bluetooth Video Camera, Farmer Doc can send me a live video stream of his examination of a complicated case. We can talk to each other over the video stream so I can ask more questions and he can get the answers from the owner or do a different exam right then and there. Now that’s customer service!

VZW Looxcie video camera
Paul definitely got us intrigued by a few other products. We love the idea of the Tagg Pet Tracker (keep virtual tabs on your cat, dog, or farm animals on your smart phone!). The Belkin Net Cam WiFi Camera could be great help to keep an eye on kids at home, mares getting ready to foal in the barn, or that sick goat who needs a little extra TLC. Wonder who is coming up your long driveway? Set one of these puppies up to monitor the driveway and get an email alert when the motion detector goes off!

I’ve got to say, we had a blast meeting Paul and learning about some of the fun things that Verizon Wireless has to offer. Check out the Verizon Wireless Midwest Area blog for Paul's thoughts on his visit!

{Verizon Wireless has provided me and Farmer Doc with devices to try, but the opinions expressed her are our own.}


  1. I'm surprised they didn't offer you a micro-cell to stick inside that attaches to your internet connection to route cell traffic via the internet.

  2. Justin – That’s basically what the Network Extender does.

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