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The Allied Group

Partners With MicroTouch® and Factura™
To Produce Complete Java Technology-based Solutions
For Networked Kiosk Market

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GLASTONBURY, Conn.--April 28, 1998--Three kiosk industry leaders are combining their products and skills in a move to offer complete solutions to the burgeoning market for networked public-access kiosks.

The Allied Group, a developer and integrator of interactive software applications, today announced an alliance with touch screen supplier MicroTouch® Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:MTSI - news) and its kiosk enclosure division, Factura™ Kiosks, to produce kiosk systems based on Sun Microsystems® Inc.'s Java™ programming language.

Many large businesses are embracing the self-service interactive kiosk as a new, strategically important method to sell products and provide services. For these businesses, this alliance of kiosk suppliers makes it easy and cost-effective to procure cohesive, fully integrated solutions.

"The goal of our alliance is to address the rapidly-growing demand for comprehensive, cross-platform solutions in such industries as retailing and banking. Our alliance will enable us to produce complete, high-quality, built-to-order kiosk systems, and reduce time to delivery, which are both important to the success of any large-scale kiosk deployment," said Irv Miglietta, president of The Allied Group.

Kiosk Industry Expertise

The alliance effectively brings together three market leaders in the kiosk industry.

MicroTouch Systems, Inc. is the world's leading manufacturer of touch screens used in point-of-sale, gaming, industrial, multimedia, and many other computer-based systems. Factura Kiosks, a division of MicroTouch Systems, is the largest manufacturer of kiosk housings in the U.S. and has produced an estimated 30 percent of the U.S. installed base. Factura's expertise is in kiosk design, manufacturing, final assembly, and logistics services. The Allied Group's Interactive Technology unit specializes in networked-based kiosk applications, and has developed a Java kiosk framework/toolkit that is based on open standards and cross-platform applications.

Java-based Solutions

The strength of the open-standard Java programming language is its "Write Once, Run Anywhere"' capability, which means that Java kiosk applications can operate on any computing platform. As a result, kiosk application development, deployment, and maintenance is much faster than traditional programs, and customers have the freedom to choose the best hardware and software solutions for their individual business needs.

For example, The Allied Group, MicroTouch Systems, and Factura recently demonstrated a prototype Java-based retail kiosk at Sun's JavaOne™ conference in March in San Francisco, and at the KioskCom conference in April in New York. In the demonstration, a bridal registry application developed by The Allied Group and powered by Sun's JavaStation™ Network Computer technology ran on a MicroTouch Systems flat-panel touch screen monitor with a receipt printer, all housed in a trim enclosure built by Factura. JavaStation Network Computer technology enables the deployment of kiosk applications that can operate on intranets, extranets, and the Internet. As a result, kiosk applications can be rapidly developed, deployed, and maintained from one central location.

Growing Kiosk Market

For MicroTouch, the alliance is an extension of its business development program to work with a variety of companies in the worldwide kiosk market, which research firm Frost & Sullivan predicts will grow at a rate of 27 percent a year to $5.3 billion by 2004.

"The demand for interactive, networked kiosk applications is growing very quickly in a wide range of industries, so MicroTouch is forming partnerships with software developers, systems integrators, and OEMs to meet this demand. This partnership with The Allied Group will make it possible for our common customers to roll out new Java-based networked kiosk systems efficiently and cost-effectively,'' said Janet Muto, vice president of marketing at MicroTouch Systems.

About The Allied Group

The Allied Group provides advanced interactive technology, solutions integration, and data management services to companies both nationally and internationally. The company is headquartered in Glastonbury, CT, with several other offices on the East Coast. Allied's interactive clients include Wal-Mart, OfficeMax, AIG Insurance, United Technologies, Hamilton Standard, and Otis Elevator.

About MicroTouch Systems, Inc.

MicroTouch Systems, Inc., headquartered in Methuen, Mass., is the world's leading provider of complete computer touch-input solutions. Its touch screen hardware and software technologies have consistently led the industry in numerous innovations and standards. Founded in 1982, MicroTouch reported sales of $128.5 million in 1997.

About Factura

Factura, founded in 1986, is headquartered in Rochester, New York. Factura is the nation's leading manufacturer of kiosk housings and specializes in the creative design, engineering, manufacturing, and delivery of Ready-to-Ship, Ready-to-Build, and Custom Kiosks for a variety of markets. To date, Factura has built more than 50,000 kiosks for Fortune 500 companies, system integrators, and entrepreneurs worldwide, including Eastman Kodak, Agfa, Sears, Wal-Mart, Dayton-Hudson, EDS, AT&T, Andersen Consulting, IBM, and PepsiCo. In February 1995, Factura was acquired by and became a division of MicroTouch Systems, Inc.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

MicroTouch Systems Inc.The Allied Group Inc.
978/659-9120860/652-6623 x228
Edward F. CloughMarvin Elbaum
contact via e-mail contact via e-mail text>
The Allied Group provides kiosk and multimedia, Internet design, systems integration and database applications to a variety of national and major regional corporations. Allied's inTOUCH kiosk software clients include major retailers, insurance companies and real estate firms. The Allied Group is headquartered in Glastonbury, CT, with offices in Reston and Richmond, VA, Baltimore, MD, and Rutherford, NJ. The company is certified at the highest levels by Netscape, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and Novera.


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