Kiosk Newsbit

Using its small-company savvy and big-company capabilities, e.spire said    
         yesterday it won a blue-chip account from larger competitors.         
                  (Daily Record Baltimore; 03/24/99)                  

   A subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Co. has named the Annapolis Junction-based 
telecommunications company as its network service provider.

   PictureVision, Kodak's Herndon, Va.-based online photo processing 
subsidiary, selected e.spire to connect its customers online to its more than 
40,000 photofinishers in stores, shopping malls and other retail locations.

   The service allows customers to place orders online and have their photos 
digitized for electronic cropping and e-mail suitability. e.spire's network 
replaces a group of local Internet service providers and network providers that 
had been cobbled together for PictureVision.

   "We have opted for a network company with a single nationwide 
infrastructure," said Phil Garfinkle, CEO of PictureVision in a prepared 

   Anurag Lal, e.spire's vice president of data and Internet product 
management, said e.spire won the contract over competing proposals from IBM and 
MCI/WorldCom by using small-company advantages.

   "At the end of the day, I think we were a lot more flexible and didn't try 
to sell the services off the shelf," he said.

   For instance, many of Kodak's 40,000 retail locations did not have enough 
photo-processing volume to justify installing a frame relay or T-1 Internet 
connection and e.spire reacted by offering the cheaper dial-up service or 
modified T-1, according to need.

   But Lal added that providing big-league network monitoring services was also 

   "We supplied services normally reserved for a Chrysler or Ford that get a 
global network," he said. "We've turn-keyed this function and taken it down 

   PictureVision will be given access to a Web site that has all its kiosk 
locations laid out on a map. If the network to one of those locations goes 
down, it turns a different color. A double click on that location reveals the 
nature of the problem.

   The Web site will also relay information that tells PictureVision how each 
of its servers is performing in processing orders.

   Lal said this capability is key since it allows a quicker process of working 
out the kinks of e.spire and PictureVision working together.

   "Rather than pointing fingers back and forth," Lal said. "We can gain total 
visibility" of what portion of the network is malfunctioning.

   With the network functioning, PictureVision envisions grabbing a large 
market share in the online photograph business. Its outlets already account for 
50 percent of all photographs processed in the United States, Garfinkle said.

   America Online is expected to boost PictureVision's business this summer 
when it introduces a link complete with a voice saying "You've got pictures."

   e.spire will realize greater profits as PictureVision expands and requires 
more substantial network  elements, Lal said.

Thanks Kinetic!

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