Commercial Trials of High-Speed Internet Access Hospitality Solution Under Way

Commercial Trials of High-Speed Internet Access Hospitality Solution Under Way

REDMOND, Wash., March 4, 1998 — Microsoft Corp., ATCOM/INFO Inc. and CGX Communications Inc., along with co-sponsors 3Com Corp. and Cyntergy Corp., today announced that commercial trials of ATCOM/INFO’s IPORT
™solution have begun in several hotels on the East and West coasts. IPORT, a high-speed Internet access solution based on the Microsoft® BackOffice® family, enables business travelers to easily access e-mail, the World Wide Web and corporate networks from guest rooms and meeting rooms with a laptop computer equipped with an Ethernet card.

The IPORT commercial trials are intended to test the service, help determine pricing levels, demonstrate that the system can be easily implemented and managed, and prove that it can significantly enhance the customer experience. Five hotels are currently operating the IPORT system, with five additional trial sites scheduled for installation by the end of the month. The trials are expected to be completed in mid-1998, at which time the solution is planned to become widely available for hotels, airports, convention centers and other public facilities.

“Business travelers are demanding a fast, easy way to access the Internet and e-mail, and IPORT will deliver that,” said Stan Julien, hospitality industry marketing manager at Microsoft. “With IPORT, laptop users won’t have to preconfigure their laptop modems anymore or hassle with slow, unreliable connections. Businesses will enjoy better responsiveness and productivity from their traveling employees. And hotels will be able to reduce the strain on PBX systems, compete more effectively for business travelers and increase their meeting room revenue.”

Running on a Microsoft Windows NT® Server- and Microsoft SQL Server
-based local area network at a hotel, IPORT links Ethernet data ports in guest rooms and meeting rooms to the Internet over a T1 or other high-speed line, bypassing the hotel’s PBX. A thin-client application, available free of charge, makes using IPORT an easy point-and-click process for guests, automating the connection, payment and disconnection process from start to finish. The client application features built-in support for virtual private networking, an emerging remote access technology that uses the Internet to provide a secure, low-cost connection to a private corporate network.

“This solution is equivalent to telephone jacks in homes. A PC or laptop with an Ethernet card can plug into an IPORT/OverVoice jack and be automatically configured and connected to the Internet just as any telephone can plug into a wall jack,” said Peter Van Horne, president and chief technical officer at ATCOM/INFO. “We fully expect IPORT to become the standard for high-speed in-room Internet access for remote users.”

CAIS Internet, a division of CGX Communications, is a major co-sponsor of the IPORT commercial trials and the systems integrator for trial hotels delivering the service over existing telephone wiring. These hotels will use CAIS’s OverVoice technology, a low-cost infrastructure solution that utilizes existing telephone wiring to provide simultaneous phone service and split-second, around-the-clock Internet access. In addition, OverVoice technology can be deployed rapidly with minimal disruption to routine hotel business.

“Whereas computer networks require rewiring a hotel with category 5 cable, OverVoice technology only requires a swap-out of the telephone wall jack, which can be done for a significantly lower cost,” said Ulysses Auger II, president and CEO of CGX Communications.

3Com Corp., a global networking company based in Santa Clara, Calif., is also a co-sponsor of the commercial trials. 3Com Ethernet switches provide bandwidth maintenance for high-speed, secure connections within the IPORT network. The mobile communications division of 3Com is also providing podules and cables for guests’ laptop computers to ensure hassle-free, reliable connections for users of 3Com Megahertz PC Cards; these will be available at the front desks of the trial hotels.

Cyntergy Corp. will provide free 24-hour telephone support for IPORT users and hotel staff during the trials. Based in Gaithersburg, Md., Cyntergy provides project management, documentation, implementation and training, configuration center services, regional training centers, technical help desks, and other call-center services to the hospitality, food service, retail, retail banking, and health-care industries.

Trial Sites

The following hotels are currently market-testing the IPORT solution:

  • Homestead Village, Bellevue, Wash.

  • Hotel Vintage Park, Seattle

  • Hillsboro Candlewood, Hillsboro, Ore.

  • Washington Marriott, Washington, D.C.

  • Woodmark Hotel, Kirkland, Wash.

The following hotels will be market-testing the IPORT solution by the end of March:

  • Bellevue Courtyard, Bellevue, Wash.

  • Embassy Square Suites, Washington, D.C.

  • Hyatt San Jose Airport, San Jose, Calif.

  • La Jolla Marriott, La Jolla, Calif.

  • Marriott SeaTac Airport, Seattle

Availability and Pricing

ATCOM/INFO is ready to begin taking orders for IPORT implementations and expects to install the service in approximately 40,000 rooms between May and December 1998. Hotels interested in a pricing estimate or in signing up for IPORT implementation can contact ATCOM/INFO at ( .

More Information

Further information about the IPORT commercial trials and the free, downloadable, thin-client application (connect-time charges may apply) are available at the ATCOM/INFO company Web site, at ( . In addition, further information on the IPORT trial locations, an IPORT white paper and executive summary are available at the Microsoft hospitality Web site, .

ATCOM/INFO is a leading provider of public communications and interactive information kiosks for the 21st century. ATCOM/INFO Cyberbooths are targeted for high-traffic facilities throughout the United States and the world, including airports, hotels, convention centers and other public places. For more information on ATCOM/INFO, please call (619)699-4000, or visit the company’s Web site at ( .

CAIS Internet, acquired by CGX Communications in May 1996, is a first-tier Internet service provider with thousands of business, government and residential customers and provides underlying Internet access to more than 50 ISPs in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. CGX, with 1997 revenues in excess of $29 million, is a leading provider of advanced communications services that include patented, high-speed, data-over-voice services, long-distance services, operator services and first-tier Internet services. For more information on CAIS Internet, visit ( .

3Com Corp. enables individuals and organizations worldwide to communicate and share information and resources at any time from anywhere. As one of the world’s preeminent suppliers of data, voice and video communications technology, 3Com has delivered networking solutions to more than 100 million customers worldwide. With global reach and local touch, the company provides enterprises, network service providers and carriers, small businesses and consumers with comprehensive, innovative information access products and system solutions for building intelligent, reliable and high-performance local and wide area networks. For further information, visit 3Com’s World Wide Web site at ( .

Cyntergy Corp. provides its services in more than 55 countries. The company

has operational offices throughout the United States, regional headquarters in London and Australia, and staff located throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions. Other services provided by Cyntergy include preinstallation surveys, installation, configuration, on-site maintenance and a preimplementation help desk. For further information, visit Cyntergy’s World Wide Web site at ( .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, BackOffice and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

IPORT is a trademark of ATCOM/INFO Inc.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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