Tuesday January 20, 12:46 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: MCI Communications Corporation

MCI Center and North Communications Deliver arenaNet Kiosks To Enthusiastic Fans

Interactive Networked Displays Receive Thousands of Users

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Since its grand opening on December 2, MCI Center's arenaNet Kiosks have proven to be just as exciting as the sports events and concerts. In just one month, more than 26,700 interactive games, 5,100 emails, 5,200 electronic postcards and 1,500 pages have traveled over the arenaNet Kiosks network.

For the first time in sports-arena history, the recently opened MCI Center delivered to its fans an intelligent-networked touchscreen display system. The system, developed by MCI and North Communications, ties the entire 20,000- seat, $200-million complex together with an array of multimedia information using 19 interactive touchscreens.

``MCI Center is a showcase for some of MCI's most advanced networking skills,'' said Greg Powers, MCI's senior manager of technology development for MCI Center. ``When visitors come to MCI Center with their families to relax and have fun, they'll also see some of the most exciting new multimedia technologies that will be appearing in living rooms, boardrooms, offices and workplaces in the near future.''

MCI Center, the new home to the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Capitals (NHL), is one of the first large public buildings designed from the ground up to use high-speed networks allowing visitors to navigate the building, see what is taking place in MCI Center and more. In December, Wizards and Capitals fans used the kiosks to access information about the teams nearly 10,315 times.


The kiosks are connected to MCI arenaNet, the most technologically advanced backbone network ever placed into a sporting facility, using North's NetGain software, which puts an easy-to-use touchscreen front end onto a Web site. The Web sites viewed on the arenaNet kiosks will be originated within MCI Center, and feature full-motion video and stereo sound; additional programming in the future may come from outside the building or from anywhere in the World Wide Web. The custom-designed kiosks are located on the main concourse and the fourth floor of MCI Center.

``We believe that a combination of good location, user-friendliness, and strong content have created this groundswell of interest in the multimedia touchscreens,'' said Rick Rommel, vice president of marketing for North Communications. ``This is already one of the most active kiosk networks anywhere in the world. Every interaction is entertaining, provides a service to the consumer and a promotional opportunity for MCI Center.''


In addition to comprehensive, up-to-date information on the teams, current scores and stats, information about MCI Center and its surrounding neighborhood, some unusual features are also implemented on the arenaNet kiosks. For example, two locations within MCI Center have remote-control cameras inside; from any of the kiosks, a viewer can look through these cameras and control them through touchscreen controls -- zooming, panning and tilting around the room. The arenaNet kiosks can also interact with each other; any visitor can challenge another to a trivia game with a special pop-up message, and the two can play interactively. Videos of current game highlights, stars and interviews are available, and fans can send an e- mail to the team, or to anyone on the Internet. All of these services are free.

``More and more, sophisticated interactive media are appearing in people's daily lives,'' said Paul Kennedy, president of North Communications. ``Public places, like arenas, convention centers, train stations and airports, are an ideal way for people to experience the new broadband world, where high-quality video and sound join the text and graphics that are standard on the Web today. Our touchscreens, a free 'People's Internet,' make that first experience a powerful one. North Communications played an integral part with MCI to execute the complete hardware, software, and engineering program for the kiosks using MCI's state of the art fiber backbone network, arenaNet.''

MCI, headquartered in Washington, D.C., offers the industry's most comprehensive portfolio of communication services. With 1996 revenues of $18.5 billion, MCI ranks as one of the world's largest telecommunications companies. MCI is also the world's second largest carrier of international traffic and operates one of the world's most advanced Internet networks. Since its founding in 1968, MCI has been a leader in bringing the benefits of long distance competition to businesses and consumers and is now leading the charge to open U.S. local calling markets to competition. On November 10, 1997, MCI announced a definitive merger agreement with WorldCom, Inc. to form a new company called MCI WorldCom.

Based in Marina del Rey, California, North Communications is a designer, manufacturer, and operator of transactional kiosk networks for the public and private sectors. The company is known for its award-winning work in ground- breaking projects in California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, and New York and internationally in Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. It was the first company in the world to develop and deploy a Web-based kiosk system, at the Super Bowl in January, 1995. More information can be found at http://www.infonorth.com and http://www.kioskstore.com; NetGain software, including free download of the software for evaluation, is at http://www.infonorth.com/ netgain.

'NetGain' is a trademark of North Communications, Inc.