HP and North Communications Strike Deal to Provide Networked Kiosks for Unprecedented Convenience in Delivery of Products and Services

New Kiosks Will Use Advanced Technology to Deliver Full-motion Video and High-quality Sound


PALO ALTO, Calif., August 12, 1997: To help business and government organizations provide their customers with easy access to information and services on the Internet, Hewlett-Packard Company and North Communications today announce the signing of an agreement to jointly market networked multimedia kiosks. These compact but powerful kiosks can be an important sales and marketing tool for a wide range of businesses, including retailers, car dealers, financial-services firms and government entities.

They are similar in size to most automated teller machines and can be placed in malls, car dealerships, convenience stores and other public places to give consumers easy, touchscreen access to selected product information and services. The advanced computing and networking technologies built into the kiosks are designed to allow consumers to get the latest on-line product demonstrations, for example, using full-motion video and high-quality sound, or to perform financial transactions.

"These kiosks provide an excellent way for business owners and managers to leverage their web-site investments and give their customers a convenient and immediate channel for safely purchasing products and services, as well as exchanging information with participating companies," said John Weidert, general manager of HP's Integrated Systems Division. "Our agreement with North Communications brings together the key technologies that make these kiosks a powerful sales and marketing tool."

"Mall owners, for instance, may design their kiosk network as an advertising option for tenant stores by collecting fees for placing ads, coupon offers and ordering programs, effectively making the kiosk a profit center while providing free services to shoppers," said Rick Rommel, vice president of marketing for North Communications. "Kiosk users will not need to be computer savvy, but will be able to take advantage of the high performance and reliability our kiosk system will offer."

As part of the marketing agreement, HP will supply customized personal computers, multimedia equipment, printers and touchscreens for the kiosks. North Communications provides its standard and custom kiosk enclosures, NetGain software supporting kiosk based web access, multimedia application development, and ongoing network operations and service.

North Communications designs, manufactures and operates transactional kiosk networks for business and government. More information is available on the Web at http://www.infonorth.com.

Hewlett-Packard Company is a leading global provider of computing, Internet and Intranet solutions; services; communications products; and measurement solutions, all of which are recognized for excellence in quality and support. HP has 114,600 employees and had revenue of $38.4 billion in its 1996 fiscal year. Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.hp.com.