Hands free talk with global reach and style

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 29, 2015 3:37 PM

By Ben Gruber

San Francisco - Anytime, day or night, no matter which way you look, it seems you'll see someone with a smartphone in their hand.

Jesse Robbins and Greg Albrecht of San Francisco based company Orion wanted to find a way to give people their hands back. 

"What can I do to make real time communication something that everyone in the world can have in a way that doesn't have them looking down at their smartphone," said Robbins, who learned the importance of hands-free communication during his days as a volunteer firefighter.  

Robbins began sharing his ideas with fellow firefighter Greg Albrecht, a communications and IP specialist. 

"We wanted something you could wear that would keep you in the moment and keep you in what you were doing," added Albrecht.  

The answer to their search came in the form of a wearable device called Onyx that allows you to communicate with people anywhere in the world while keeping your phone in your pocket. 

The device is the main mode of communication at the company's large office space in the Mission District of San Francisco.    

There are plenty of hands free options in the market, but armed with a team of coders and developers, Orion took their concept a step further. 

"It is essentially a bluetooth communications device so it is not much different than any other bluetooth device you might connect to your phone with the exception that the Onyx and other devices on the Orion network connect you to the Orion network," said Albrecht. 

The Orion network, accessed via an app on your phone, is what sets the company apart. It allows any member, no matter their location or cellular provider to speak with another member or group of members with a simple push of a button.   

"The range is the Internet. It has even been used on a moving boat in Palao to talk to a team back in the United States," said Robbins. 

The network also provides users with other useful information about their contacts location and their online status. 

Robbins envisions a day when the devices get smaller and the capabilities of the network expand, giving users the ability to control everything from their TV to their appliances with voice commands. 

The company is growing and will offer a new device called Ruby marketed towards the fashion conscious later this year.