Hotel Industry and High Speed Internet Access
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), ATCOM/INFO and CGX Communications Inc. today unveiled plans to collaborate on commercial trials of a high-speed Internet access service for hotels. At the 13th annual Hotel Industry Investment Conference, the companies previewed ATCOM/INFO's IPORT(TM) product, which lets business travelers easily access the Internet, e-mail and private networks from their guest rooms. The service allows users to connect their laptop computers to high-speed Internet connections at speeds up to 50 times faster than traditional data ports and dial-up modems.
With technology developed by Microsoft(R) Consulting Services and ATCOM/INFO, and implemented by selected system integrators, IPORT will enable hotels to compete effectively for business customers by providing a complete range of sophisticated high-speed remote access options. CAIS Internet, a division of CGX Communications, will be a major co-sponsor of the trials and the primary integrator for trial hotels intending to use existing telephone wiring for the service, using its OverVoice technology.
"Hotels are very interested in providing Internet solutions for their guests. However, today's data ports are grossly insufficient slow, costly and unreliable," said Stan Julien, hospitality industry marketing manager at Microsoft. "This new service will solve these problems and bring high-speed, easy-to-use remote access to today's 'road warrior.'"
The commercial trials are scheduled to begin in February at approximately 15 hotels, with the system installed in roughly 3,000 guest rooms. Once the trials are completed, this service is expected to roll out to hotels, airports, convention centers and other public facilities. ATCOM/INFO, a San Diego-based software company with a background in public Internet access kiosks, plans to license the product to value-added system integrators in the hospitality industry.
"IPORT makes the promise of a universal Internet dial tone a reality," said Peter Van Horne, president and chief technical officer at ATCOM/INFO. "This is a solid solution with significant business benefits for hotels and business travelers, and we are very excited to begin market trials of this technology."
Value-Added System Integrators Sign On CAIS Internet will be the value-added system integrator for a significant portion of the trial sites, using its OverVoice technology. OverVoice is a low- cost infrastructure solution that utilizes existing telephone wiring to provide phone service and split-second, around-the-clock Internet access simultaneously. In addition, OverVoice technology is rapidly deployable and causes minimal disruption of the routine business of hotels.
"Rewiring and infrastructure costs will always be a headache both expensive and disruptive to a hotel's operations," Julien said. "CAIS' OverVoice technology eliminates these problems and provides us with an elegant, effective and affordable solution. In fact, OverVoice has allowed us to do twice as many trial properties with our existing budget."
San Jose-based Fourth Communications Network Inc. (4th Network) has signed up to be one of the first value-added integrators to service additional trial sites. 4th Network is a leading provider of hotel in-room technology, equipment and services, and intends to add the IPORT service to selected sites in its existing client base.
More details concerning the IPORT solution are scheduled to be released next month when the commercial trial projects are expected to begin. For more information about Microsoft hospitality solutions, visit http://www.microsoft.com/industry/hospitality/.
ATCOM/INFO is the nation's leading provider of public communications and interactive information kiosks for the 21st century. ATCOM/INFO Cyberbooths are targeted for high-traffic facilities throughout the United States and the world, including airports, hotels, convention centers and other public places. For more information on ATCOM/INFO, call 619-699-4000, or visit the company's Web site at http://www.atcominfo.com/.
CAIS Internet, acquired by CGX Communications in May 1996, is a first-tier Internet service provider with thousands of business, government and residential customers and provides underlying Internet access to more than 50 ISPs in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. CGX, with 1997 revenues in excess of $29 million, is a leading provider of advanced communications services that include patented, high speed, data-over-voice services, long distance services, operator services, and first-tier Internet services. For more information on CAIS Internet, visit http://www.overvoice.com/.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
NOTE: Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. IPORT is a registered trademark of ATCOM Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
SOURCE Microsoft Corp. -0- 01/22/98