ABACUS SOFTWARE: Video and Web-based applications combine in new kiosk system at major UK airports
February 12, 1999 09:13 AM EST
A new interactive kiosk-based
service will become available in the first quarter of 1999 at London's
major airports, delivered by international multimedia company, WAM
Interactive, and developed by Abacus Software under the terms of a
contract with a value of approximately GBP 100,000.
The new "WAMworld" system will offer a digital marketing network,
initially for seven BAA-owned terminals. The first stage of the project
will see the installation of fifty 'WAMworlds' in total, sited in the
four terminals at Heathrow. It is anticipated that the scheme will
extend to other UK and European airports ultimately.
The uniquely designed WAMworld kiosks combine 'public' videos screens
and 'private' Web-based marketing applications, where airport users can
find out more information. As the initial phase, the 'public' window
will incorporate some forty promotional videos; those companies taking
the 'video windows' will also be able to provide a 'marketer
application' in the 'private' window, which is the Web-based
application, providing touchscreen driven information on the company
and its products.
Each WAMworld has the capability to read and verify card payments,
accept and compile personal data supplied by the customer, accept and
process orders for merchandise, print coupons, contracts and insurance
policies and provide access to other servers, including Internet sites
and email. Typical applications are likely to include electronic
catalogues, consumer surveys, and the ability to book rental cars and
hotel rooms. In the future the WAM system could be used in conjunction
with frequent flyer and loyalty cards. The passenger would swipe their
card and be greeted with a personalised message, before going on to
browse or carry out transactions.
Abacus Software has been responsible for designing and implementing
the network infrastructure and all the software for the central server
(which houses the core database), the WAMworld servers and the
individual kiosks. Replication software is used to distribute the files
as efficiently as possible from the terminal server to the network.
Companies wishing to participate in the kiosk promotional programme
send their videos and marketing applications to a test centre where WAM
Interactive ensures that everything works in the kiosk environment.
These applications are then transferred to Abacus Software where they
are put on the servers which distribute the videos and the Web-based
applications via LAN servers to each WAMworld kiosk. The marketing
window of the WAMworld system uses Java and other Web-based
technologies so that companies can use existing applications for the
new kiosk system.
Steve Feigen, managing director of Abacus Software: "One of the
challenges of this project, which is the first of its kind in the UK to
combine videos and Web-based applications in a kiosk, was to develop
the monitoring software which would track delivery and the playing of
videos and the LED promotions, and also report back any failures. This
called for the development of a complete remote application management
environment. This is a software and hardware combination, installed in
Abacus has extensive experience of kiosk-based applications for
clients such as British Rail, and has acted as technology co-ordinator
for the WAM Interactive project.
Notes for editors:
Involved in on-line services since 1983, Abacus Software offers
design, networking, database and systems integration and electronic
publishing services to many leading UK companies, including British
Telecom, IPC and over twenty local authorities. Specialist skills
include web site development and hosting, Intranet implementation and
multimedia kiosk network design. Abacus has recently been acquired by
Wilmington Group PLC.
Copyright 1994-99 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD
CONTACT: Steve Feigen, Abacus Software Limited
Tel: +44 (0)171 549 2500
Fax: +44 (0)171 549 2501
Copyright © 1999, M2 Communications Ltd.
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