ATCOM/INFO and Microsoft this week announced that commercial trials of IPORT have been a tremendous success, and a global channel of industry leading resellers is now in place to begin widespread deployment of the high-speed Internet access solution. In addition, several vendors have signed up to offer services and support to IPORT-enabled locations. These latest developments put IPORT in a leading position to become the most ubiquitous, secure, and reliable public Internet access solution in the marketplace, simplifying online access and making it widely available for business travelers worldwide.
The IPORT commercial trials were launched in March 1998, with nearly 3,000 hotel rooms installed with the solution, in order 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. Eleven hotels across the nation are currently participating in the trials, which will be officially completed mid-year. Meanwhile, the initial trial results have been so successful that ATCOM/INFO is now making IPORT available commercially.
Running on a Microsoft Windows NT Server- and Microsoft SQL Server-based local area network at a hotel, ATCOM/INFO’s IPORT solution 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 software 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 trials have proven IPORT’s ease of use, with an average of less than one call per day to the 24-hour support service.
ATCOM/INFO and Microsoft are preparing for significant demand from hotel chains seeking to implement and offer the service to their guests. Therefore, the two companies have established a global channel of resellers to assist in the worldwide deployment of IPORT. Interquest, Dialink, Kapex, NetQuick LLC, Network Interface Consultants (South Africa), Shane Longman Pty. Ltd. (Australia) and Vircom have all signed up as official IPORT resellers. These companies will license IPORT from ATCOM/INFO, and then assist hotels in the installation of the solution. Hotels will be able to choose from various vendors based on their individual wiring and implementation needs. In addition to building depth with resellers, ATCOM/INFO has established strategic partnerships with a number of key companies, including 3Com, Anixter, Digital, Expotel, Cyntergy, Hitachi, Sprint, Tut Systems, USWEB and USWEST to provide additional services and support to IPORT-enabled locations.
IPORT soon will make slow, costly and unreliable access to the Internet, email and corporate networks nothing more than a bad memory for business travelers.