Newsbits


Invasion of the Internet Kiosks


11:03 a.m. Nov 04, 1998 Eastern

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 4, 1998--Convenience stores, car washes, coffee cafes and hotel chains are just a few of the places computer users will find the latest "must-have" in communication devices, the Mirage Link Internet Kiosk.

According to U.S. News, 40 percent of the United States' population owns a home computer. Until now, the other 60 percent have been forced to use long-distance phone calls and faxes as their primary means of telecommunications.

Mirage Link, based in Las Vegas, is providing an inexpensive, convenient solution to this problem.

Similar in appearance to a video-poker machine, Internet Kiosks allow users to surf the Internet, check their e-mail, send video e-mail and video teleconference for approximately 30 cents a minute.

"Our Kiosks are designed to be fast, fun and easy. With the swipe of a credit card or deposit of a bill, users are online within seconds," said Marti Tarnutzer, president of Mirage Link.

In August, Go Call Inc., a publicly traded telecommunications and electric-commerce corporation (Nasdaq:GOCA) signed a contract with Korean American Grocers Foundation (KAGRO) to provide a variety of telecommunication products (including Internet Kiosks) to 35,000 convenience stores throughout the United States.

"I am very pleased to have joined forces with Mirage Link in launching our Internet Kiosk project. Their expertise in this market is precisely what we were looking to help us evaluate the initial test market, which consists of 300 convenience stores in the Las Vegas area. Once completed, we plan to deploy Internet Kiosks throughout the 35,000-location network we have with National KAGRO," said Ian Smith, president of Go Call.

Sunset Station, owned by Station Casinos Inc. will be the first Las Vegas hotel to offer this amenity.

Rick Pollock, president of Trade Show Technical Inc., a technical service provider for the convention-and-meetings industry approached Sunset Station about a possible joint venture after recognizing a huge need for the Internet Kiosks.

"In today's society, e-mail plays an important role in business. With the convenience of the Kiosks, one will be able to walk out of the meeting room, swipe his/her credit card and have access to critical or updated documents," said Pollock.

"Forward-thinking businesses, such as Sunset Station are attracting new customers and keeping old ones by expanding their existing service base," Pollock added.

Fabulous Freddy's Car Wash, the newest in upscale car wash chains is incorporating Mirage Link Internet Kiosks into its customer- service-oriented theme.

Dubbed the "classiest car wash in town," Fabulous Freddy's boasts 24-hour service, a VIP lounge, a gourmet coffee cafe and Mirage Link Internet Kiosks.

"Internet Kiosks complement the VIP lounge perfectly. We wanted to create a calm atmosphere where businesspeople will have access to telephones, a fax machine and the Internet. This way they can conduct business while they wait for their car to get fully detailed," said Fred Smith, president of Fabulous Freddy's.

Smith added that the first Fabulous Freddy's is scheduled to open November 1998 on the corner of S. Fort Apache and Charleston. At least four more locations will open in Las Vegas and the company has plans for expansion outside of Nevada.


Copyright 1998, Business Wire



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