store in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex has implemented what’s called Shop ‘n Scan — customers with a preferred savings card pick up a handheld scanner at a kiosk and as they pick up groceries, scan in the barcodes. The hardware is from Symbol and NCR, which connects to a Wi-Fi network powered by Cisco APs. As the customers come to the checkout, they can finalize the purchase by transmitting the scanned data to the register. They can pay as they arrive — no more standing in line, except to hear “paper or plastic.” Albertson’s will be “thoroughly evaluating the customer feedback” on this public trial to see if it should move the Scan ‘n Save feature into the rest of its 2,300 store brands (including Acme, Sav-on, Osco, and others). — April 8, 2004
Connexion by Boeing, the service that could mean Wi-Fi is on your future plane rides, is barely off the ground with German airline Lufthansa, but might already be coming to Singapore. They’ve signed a “memorandum of understanding” with StarHub, a broadband provider in Singapore, so StarHub can add the Connexion abilities to its portfolio and possibly link their two networks for cross-roaming. — April 8, 2004 Telabria has a new wireless/mesh broadband network solution for use by rural communities in the United Kingdom, one that will let an entire village share a single broadband connection. Called RuralMesh, the technology had a trial run in Kent in the southeast recently and is now being used in conjunction with brewer Shepherd Neame to turn pubs in Doddington, Bridge, and Wye into tech hubs for their communities. Each pub has a 2Mbps satellite connection that connects to an antenna on the chimney to make the wireless connection available to the community — anyone who has the Telabria supplied receiver called an mNode — the multi-hopping mesh uses 802.11 in some form (the release isn’t specific; the Web site says it can upgrade to WiMax in the future). Telabria says it can set this up on any community center building, from pubs to churches to schools. Subscribers will pay #30 per month to get download speeds of 512Kbps (RuralMesh Pro version will be #39.99 for 2Mbps; both prices require 12 month contract and #75 install fee). The company will actually create a foundation that shares some of its revenue back with the locality. Telabria also operates hotspots that are certified as Wi-Fi ZONEs by the Wi-Fi Alliance. — April 8, 2004 ICOA’s QGO division says it has turned on Wi-Fi service at the Clermont County Airport in Ohio, specifically in the Sporty’s Café there. The hotspot access is free of charge for anyone with a wireless devices. Sporty’s is the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) for private planes at the airport, and ICOA calls this deployment the first in the “untapped FBO market vertical.” Sporty’s is a catalog shop selling items to pilots. — April 7, 2004 An alliance of three: Trapeze Networks (switch maker), Nomadix (hotspot hardware & software maker), and PicoPoint (billing and AAA for WISPs) have formed a the Wireless WorkZone Alliance, hoping to drag providers and hardware makers in to a consortium that would work together toward making seamlessly interoperable public access Wi-Fi services and products. The three are showing off such revenue-generating possibilities (you didn’t think they were doing this magnanimously did you?) at London’s Wireless LAN Event show.
If that’s not enough of a group hug, consider RoamPoint then. This is an independent launch of Inspired Broadcast Networks’ The Cloud (a WISP in the UK) to try and link hotspots though a “centralized hub” and thus allow a consistent interface for roaming over multiple networks — RoamPoint will be the broker for all payments to the hotspots. Only the Cloud apparently is signed on so far, but the Register seems to think they’ll announce mobile phone operator and hotspot operators partners next week — enough to cover 5000 hotspots. Intel backs RoamPoint, but only in name, not with cash. — April 6, 2004
Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts is now is requiring future Internet/wireless access in its 130 hotels throughout Africa, Europe, and the Middle East to fit the “Enterprise Ready” status defined by virtual network operator iPass. 110 Radisson locations are ready, or almost ready, to do so. This means, no matter what providers are installing hotspot or guest room services in the hotel, they must meet iPass criteria and become part of the iPass Global Roaming Network. Radisson SAS hotels get 7.5 million guests annually. McDonald’s required the same thing for all of its future hotspots back in November 2003. — April 6, 2004 European hotspot operator Trustive is expanding into the Asia-Pacific area in a deal with MoBiTai Communications of Taiwan. 110 venues run by MoBiTai under the “mobee LAN” brand will now be available as part of Trustive’s footprint. In fact, in a series of announcements coming out of the London-based Wireless LAN Event taking place this week, Trustive said its adding 500 hotspots in total because of deals with WISPs in countries such as Ireland, Czech Republic, and the Americas. — April 6, 2004 The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe of Skagit County, Wash., is holding a ceremony this Wednesday the 7th to “celebrate and demonstrate the educational and e-commerce opportunities now available to the tribe” due to the installation of a Wi-Fi network at its reservation. On hand will be folks from the state’s Office of Indian Affairs, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Allen Foundation. The Sauk-Suiattle Reservation is about 80 miles southeast of Seattle. — April 6, 2004 Over 100 of Scandinavia’s Scandic hotels, a division of the Hilton family of hotels, will be getting wireless Internet service courtesy of Hewlett-Packard and Aptilo Networks. HP will be installing the networking, including stationary computer terminals for access and even printing services. The wireless service will be free to guests in their rooms. — April 6, 2004 Hotel Internet provider STSN just bought its way into the European market by purchasing MyCall of Amsterdam. MyCall ran networks in 1,000 hotels across 13 European countries including Germany and the UK. The acquisition means STSN’s iBAHN now powers high-speed Internet (wired and wireless) at 1,900 hotels world wide. — April 6, 2004 College Park, Georgia-based Creative WiFi said today it’s launching a program to provide free hotspots in any business that qualifies. Which is nice, but the company doesn’t say what the criteria is, only to call them (877-999-9189 if you’re in the Atlanta area and you’re interested). Creative WiFi is an Airpath partner and according to their Web site uses hardware from companies like Proxim, Cisco and Nomadix.– April 5, 2004