First Annapolis Hires IT Director

Ben P. Yuhas has joined First Annapolis Consulting as a Senior Associate and Director of Information Technologies. Dr. Yuhas will head the information technology services of First Annapolis Consulting. His functional areas of specialization will include predictive modeling, data mining, and decision support systems.

Dr. Yuhas has 10 years of experience in quantitative methods. He has worked with clients in the retail, telecommunications, and travel industries. Previously, Dr. Yuhas was a Principal within IBM’s Global Business Intelligence Consulting Group. In this position, he assisted clients in the assessment, design, and implementation of decision support systems and strategies. Prior to joining IBM, he was the Director of Neural Networks for AT&T’s Universal Card Services, where he managed predictive modeling efforts to support risk management and marketing.

Fred White, President, states “Ben brings an in depth knowledge of analytic techniques and an understanding of how they can best be integrated into the decision process.” Dr. Yuhas is a published author and a frequent speaker at conferences, seminars and executive forums. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago.

First Annapolis Consulting is a full-service, general management consulting firm specializing in financial services, specifically credit card issuing, merchant acquiring, private label card, commercial card, electronic banking, and mortgage banking. The company offers a variety of services including planning, financial analysis and management, marketing strategy and research, operations planning and re-engineering, and general management advisory services. Its subsidiary corporation, First Annapolis Capital, provides merger and acquisition advisory services related to credit cards, ATMs, and other electronic banking businesses.


Dec Sales Up 2.2%

December same-store retail spending rose a moderate 2.2 percent over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company.

The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 167,000 subscribing locations. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of First Data Corporation.

“Consumers maintained the same moderate spending pattern evidenced throughout the holiday season, despite the fact that this December had one less weekend shopping day than December 1996. Heavy discounting that ran throughout the season may have reduced total spending at the retail level,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Advisor.

The Southeast led the nation with a 4.7 percent increase. Sales rose 5.2 percent in Tennessee, 4.6 percent in Florida, 3.4 percent in The Carolinas, 2.6 percent in Georgia and 2.3 percent in Louisiana. Sales grew by 2.9 percent in Nashville, but dropped 2.4 percent in Memphis. Orlando’s sales rose 5.0 percent, Tampa’s grew 1.7 percent and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale’s gained 0.7 percent. Sales rose 3.4 percent in Atlanta and and 1.4 percent in New Orleans.

Both the Midwest and the Northeast were up 2.4 percent. In the Midwest, sales rose 2.5 percent in Wisconsin, 2.4 percent in both Illinois and Ohio, and 1.2 percent in Michigan. Minnesota’s sales dropped 0.1 percent. Milwaukee’s sales were up 2.1 percent, Chicago’s gained 4.9 percent, Cleveland’s grew 2.8 percent and Detroit’s rose 1.1 percent. Minneapolis/St. Paul’s declined 1.3 percent.

In the Northeast, sales rose 2.3 percent in New York and 2.1 percent in Massachusetts. New York City was down 2.2 percent while Boston was up 2.4 percent.

The Mid-Atlantic’s sales were up 1.9 percent, with Maryland up 2.1 percent, Virginia up 2.0 percent, New Jersey up 1.7 percent and Pennsylvania up 1.2 percent. Sales rose 0.4 percent in the District of Columbia, 3.2 percent in Baltimore, 0.4 percent in Philadelphia and 0.3 percent in Pittsburgh.

Sales in the West rose 1.2 percent. Hawaii’s sales grew 4.0 percent, Arizona’s and Washington’s increased 2.8 percent, California’s rose 1.1 percent and Colorado’s gained 0.7 percent. Oregon’s sales dropped 0.6 percent. Sales were up 3.4 percent in Phoenix, 3.7 percent in Seattle and San Diego, and 1.9 percent in Los Angeles, but dropped 0.5 percent in the Bay Area. Denver’s sales rose 2.6 percent and Portland’s grew 1.0 percent.

In the Southwest, sales rose 0.3 percent. Missouri’s sales were up 1.1 percent and Texas’ grew 0.8 percent, while Oklahoma’s dropped 1.1 percent. While St. Louis’ sales rose 1.6 percent, Kansas City’s dropped 0.2 percent. Austin’s sales grew 3.9 percent, Dallas/Fort Worth’s rose 3.0 percent, San Antonio’s gained 1.7 percent and Houston’s grew 1.4 percent. Oklahoma City’s sales rose 1.2 percent, but Tulsa’s dropped 1.6 percent.

TeleCheck’s index is compiled on a calendar basis and is based on the total sales volume of check-writing consumers at a broad cross-section of retailers. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for 37 percent of retail spending. In 1996, TeleCheck authorized over $40.2 billion in checks and processed more than 645 million check inquiries.

Note The TeleCheck logo and holiday retail sales figures can be downloaded from the TeleCheck web site at [http//][1] .

Founded in 1992, Hackensack, NJ-based First Data Corporation is a global leader in payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods or services by credit, debit or smart card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check, or wire money – seamlessly and effortlessly.

For more information about First Data, visit us on the Internet at [http//][2].

Dr. William Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his career he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served on former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s Federal Open Market Committee.

                TeleCheck National Retail Sales Index
                           January 6, 1998

NATIONAL                     2.2%
SOUTHEAST                    4.7%       WEST             1.2%     
Florida                      4.6%       Arizona          2.8%     
  Miami/Ft. Lauderdale       0.7%         Phoenix        3.4%     
  Orlando                    5.0%       California       1.1%     
  Tampa                      1.7%         Bay Area      -0.5%     
Louisiana                    2.3%         Los Angeles    1.9%     
  New Orleans                1.4%         San Diego      3.7%     
Georgia                      2.6%       Oregon          -0.6%     
  Atlanta                    3.4%         Portland       1.0%     
Tennessee                    5.2%       Washington       2.8%     
  Memphis                   -2.4%         Seattle        3.7%     
  Nashville                  2.9%       Colorado         0.7%     
The Carolinas                3.4%         Denver         2.6%     
                                        Hawaii           4.0%     
SOUTHWEST                    0.3%                                 
Texas                        0.8%       NORTHEAST        2.4%     
  Austin                     3.9%       Massachusetts    2.1%     
  Dallas/Ft. Worth           3.0%         Boston         2.4%     
  Houston                    1.4%       New York         2.3%     
  San Antonio                1.7%         New York City -2.2%     
Missouri                     1.1%                                 
  Kansas City               -0.2%
  St. Louis                  1.6%
Oklahoma                    -1.1%
  Oklahoma City              1.2%
  Tulsa                     -1.6%

MIDWEST                     2.4%    
Illinois                    2.4%    
   Chicago                   4.9%    
Michigan                    1.2%    
   Detroit                   1.1%    
Minnesota                  -0.1%    
   Minneapolis/St. Paul     -1.3%    
Wisconsin                   2.5%    
   Milwaukee                 2.1%    
Ohio                        2.4%    
   Cleveland                 2.8%    
MID-ATLANTIC                1.9%    
District of Columbia        0.4%    
Pennsylvania                1.2%    
   Philadelphia              0.4%    
   Pittsburgh                0.3%    
New Jersey                  1.7%    
Virginia                    2.0%    
Maryland                    2.1%    
   Baltimore                 3.2%    



Tanzanian Smart Phones

Boston-based African Communications Group , a company providing telecommunications services in Tanzania, will deploy more than 150 payphones from Intellicall, Inc. later this month.

The ACG Tanzanian order is the second to Intellicall since March 1996 and will bring deployment of Intellicall phones in Tanzania to more than 350.

The phones will be connected to existing Intellicall Intelligent Network Platform (INP) technology, which can process prepaid calls from “smart” chip cards, magnetic stripe cards and debit cards, and remote database memory.

“Our success in Tanzania is a direct reflection of the sophistication and functionality of Intellicall technology,” said John J. McDonald, Jr., president and chief operating officer of Intellicall. “Tanzania is a showcase for the versatility of our products in international markets.”

As the Tanzanian network grows, further orders are expected from ACG in the upcoming months. “We have been extremely pleased with the performance of the switching platform and phones,” said Monique Maddi, ACG chief executive officer. “Intellicall’s reliable technology has helped create a new demand from our customers, most of whom have never had the opportunity to experience telecommunications services.”

The $200,000-plus order exemplifies the growing popularity of prepaid phone platforms worldwide. The payphones will be installed in several major cities throughout Tanzania, where access to telecommunications services for the population of about 30 million is severely limited. ACG is licensed to install payphones across the 348,000 square-mile country.

“We have barely scratched the surface of the potential in the telecommunication markets in Tanzania and other African countries,” said Bill Brooks, Intellicall vice president of global sales. “Tanzania is a country with a developing economy, sorely in need of advanced telecommunications capabilities, and Intellicall, in partnership with ACG, is leading the way to providing those capabilities.”

Intellicall is a leading manufacturer of advanced public access telecommunications systems, including intelligent payphones, prepaid and call processing systems, and network control and business management systems.

Intellicall’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ICL and is listed in alphabetical quotations as “Intellicall” or “Intel Cal.”


Card Profits Drop

The weighted, average, after-tax, return-on-assets for the bank credit card business dropped from 2.00% to 1.56% during 1997, according to an annual study prepared by R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers. (The pre-tax figures were 2.6% for 1997 and 3.3% for 1996.) Hammer cites intense competition as the underlying reason for declining income yields. However those issuers who outperformed their peer groups have strong branch network sales cultures, a clear set of corporate/parent objectives, heavy investments in risk management technology and very aggressive marketing. Hammer also found the ROA for platinum cards to be significantly better than other card products and that returns for private label retail card portfolios continue to be significantly lower than bank credit cards.

                                 1997  CARD  PROFIT  ANALYSIS
                     Bank Cards  Store Cards   Standard   Gold   Platinum
Total Income           17.4%        16.8%        17.5%    17.4%    17.3%       
Operating Expense       4.3%         5.0%         4.3%     4.4%    4.4%
Net Charge-Offs         4.6%         5.5%         4.8%     4.4%    4.0%
Cost of Funds           5.9%         5.9%         5.9%     5.9%    5.9%
Pre-Tax Net Income      2.6%         0.4%         2.5%     2.7%    3.0%
Net Profit After-Tax    1.56%        0.24%        1.50%    1.62%   1.80%


First Union Picks ProfitMax Bankruptcy

HNC Software Inc. Tuesday announced that First Union Corp., a leading U.S. credit card issuer, has signed a license agreement for HNC’s ProfitMax Bankruptcy, a predictive software solution that monitors card transactions for indications of potential bankruptcy.

The new software is strategically important to First Union, according to Fred Winkler, executive vice president of First Union’s Customer Direct Access Division. “Our volume and quality-focus make state-of-the-art risk management more important than ever, given the recent trends in consumer bankruptcy,” Winkler said.

Using neural networks and HNC’s proprietary cardholder behavior profiling, ProfitMax Bankruptcy analyzes each cardholder transaction for evidence of bankruptcy risk. The use of cycle cut and transaction data often allows the prediction of bankruptcy even before the cardholder is delinquent on any payments.

David Nole, senior vice president Credit Policy at First Union, commented “Our experience with some of HNC’s other neural network, transaction-based products, such as Falcon, gives us confidence that the ProfitMax Bankruptcy methodology will be effective.”

“The purchase of ProfitMax Bankruptcy followed hard on the heels of First Union’s installation of our Capstone application decision processing system,” said HNC Software vice president Krishna Gopinathan. “It’s particularly gratifying that First Union’s experience with our services supported their decision to invest in our technology once again.”

Charlotte-based First Union Corp. provides financial products and services to more than 12 million corporate and retail customers nationwide. First Union is the nation’s sixth-largest bank holding company with assets of $144 billion as of Sept. 30, 1997.

With headquarters in San Diego, HNC Software Inc. (NASDAQHNCS) is a world leader in the development and delivery of predictive software solutions in client/server environments. HNC provides innovative predictive software systems in the financial services, retail, insurance information, and electronic commerce markets. For more information, contact Patsy Campbell, director of marketing, HNC Software Inc., 5930 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, CA 92121, 619/546-8877. For the investor relations hotline, call 800/396-8052.


Driver’s Edge Card

Citibank unveiled its replacement for the ‘Ford Citibank VISA/MasterCard’ yesterday. The new ‘Driver’s Edge VISA/MasterCard’ offers cardholders the ability to earn rebates toward the purchase or lease of any new vehicle, regardless of make or model. Citibank says all ‘Ford Citibank’ cardholders were converted to the new program as of January 1. Last summer Ford decided to end its co- branded rebate program with Citibank at the end of 1997. The new ‘Citibank Driver’s Edge’ card offers a 2% rebate on purchases with an annual rebate cap of $500. A maximum of $1,500 may be accumulated towards the purchase or lease of any one vehicle. Cardholders simply submit a special ‘Redemption Form’ and two proofs-of-purchase to collect the rebate directly from Citibank. Citibank is also running a sweepstakes, giving away a new car each month.


New AmEx Expense Management Solution

American Express Corporate Services, the world’s largest corporate card and business travel services provider, today announced a strategic alliance with Portable Software Corporation, the worldwide leader in travel expense automation solutions based in Redmond, WA, to integrate Portable Software’s automated expense management system into its corporate travel product set for companies in the U.S. and around the world.

This alliance enables American Express Corporate Services to offer an integrated set of intranet-based travel management tools — from travel reservations to management reports to expense management — as part of RoundTrip Services(SM), a variety of products and services designed to help companies better manage travel and entertainment.

American Express will offer Portable Software’s Xpense Management Solution(TM) (XMS) in place of the Expense Manager software American Express developed for an e-mail platform, introduced in 1996.

The Xpense Management Solution, in use by more than 65 Fortune 1000 and multinational companies today, is an enterprise-wide solution that enables companies to reduce administrative costs by automating the entire T&E expense management process.  XMS gives business travelers convenient access to electronic data, including information on charges to their American Express Corporate Cards.  The software enables them to easily complete and file expense reports from their PCs and speeds reimbursement by seamlessly integrating with corporate accounting systems.

XMS will be the first enterprise expense management system to be released in a multi-platform Windows and intranet version in March of this year. Future versions of XMS will include additional enhancements for American Express Corporate Card customers and fully integrate with American Express’ AXI(SM) (American Express Interactive) corporate online travel reservation system, which was jointly developed with Microsoft Corporation.

“We’ve seen a dramatic shift in demand in recent months toward intranet-based T&E systems as companies took for ways to integrate travel booking with expense management in an easy-to-use application that employees can access any time, from any place,” said Mike Mulligan, Senior Vice President and General Manager, American Express Corporate Services Interactive group.  “Portable Software’s XMS, integrated with AXI for trip booking, will enable us to meet this growing demand with an intranet-based solution that supports multiple languages, currencies and international expense practices.”

“We’re excited about working with the industry leader in corporate card programs,” said Steve Singh, President and CEO of Portable Software Corporation.  “Many of our existing Fortune 1000 and multinational customers are American Express Corporate Card customers.  This alliance will enable us to work with American Express to build in product features that fully leverage the advantages of an integrated end-to-end travel and expense management system.”

Controlling Corporate Travel Costs

Travel and entertainment (T&E) is typically a company’s third-largest controllable cost, and the average company spends an additional 5% of its annual T&E budget just processing the paperwork related to expense reports.  A manual process costs the average company $36 per expense report, according to a recent in-depth American Express study.  Automating the process can cut that cost to $8 or less and reduce the time employees spend per expense report from 55 minutes to 15 minutes or less.

By integrating XMS with American Express’ full array of RoundTrip Services, including Web-based travel booking system AXI and its traditional travel agency services, American Express offers companies a comprehensive way to ensure that corporate travel guidelines and negotiated rates are applied consistently, whether reservations are initiated by PC or telephone.  And, companies can reduce the time and effort travelers spend making reservations and filing expense reports.

“My goal as a travel and financial director is to implement solutions that streamline and reduce the overall cost of travel,” said Elliot Grissom, Director of Accounts Payable, Travel, and Financial Systems for Solutia Inc., formerly the chemical businesses of Monsanto Company.  “The integration of American Express’ Corporate Card and AXI solutions with Portable Software’s XMS solution will ease the strain on a company’s travelers. It will encourage them to follow spending guidelines and use corporate discount rates, as well as provide companies with the information to better manage travel budgets and vendors.”

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company — a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.  It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance, and international banking.  More information on American Express Corporate Services may be found on the World Wide Web at [http//][1].

Since 1993 Portable Software Corporation has been developing and marketing travel and entertainment automation software and services that serve the entire enterprise, from business travelers to corporate accounting departments.  Its flagship product, the Xpense Management Solution (XMS), has been chosen by more Fortune 1000 and multinational companies for enterprise-wide T&E expense automation than any other travel expense solution. As the recognized worldwide leader in T&E expense automation, Portable Software has already automated travel expense management processes in over 250 companies around the world.



NCR & CyberCash Partner

NCR Corporation today added CyberCash as an online bill payment supplier for its SmartEC Billing Plus, making it a total billing access solution that allows businesses to pay telecommunications bills securely online from any existing checking account, just as they do today with paper bills.

CyberCash’s Internet payment solutions will be incorporated into NCR’s SmartEC Billing Plus to allow businesses to review, analyze, and pay their telecommunications bills right at their desks via the Web, with no additional software required.

“We chose to partner with CyberCash to enable the Internet bill payment capabilities of our SmartEC Billing Plus solution because we recognized that our customers are looking for complete solutions,” said Paul O’Brien, vice president of NCR’s Communications Industry Business Unit.  “SmartEC Billing Plus is a complete online billing solution for telecommunications companies, providing online access to billing details with review and analysis tools, and online bill payment.”

The bill presentment and payment process begins with the customer inputting a password to access his/her account information securely via the telco’s own Web site.  When the amount due is presented, the customer simply clicks on a PayNow(TM) button.  The standard check book interface is familiar to anyone who has paid bills with a paper check.  The bill payment screen on the Web site enables encrypted transactions to move between consumers, businesses, telecommunications companies and their bank.

“NCR’s SmartEC Billing Plus solution provides telcos with compelling content which guarantees recurring visits to their Web site,” said Richard Crone, vice president and general manager of PayNow Secure Electronic Check Service for CyberCash.  “Deploying a ‘direct to the biller’ service like NCR SmartEC Billing Plus on the telco’s Web site is key to learning how to deepen its own branded relationships with customers.”

NCR SmartEC Billing Plus also includes

* Online Bill Summary Allows customers to view a summary bill with call and cost information, similar to a printed billing statement summary page.

* Online Bill Analysis Allows customers to sort, filter, highlight, save and print as they analyze their billing detail records from within a spreadsheet-like interface.

* Security & Data Privacy  Supports multiple-level authorization and enhanced user session authentication using TrustedPASS(TM), an NCR-developed technology.

About CyberCash

CyberCash, Inc., headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is a technology-driven company that provides software and services to enable secure financial transactions on the Internet.  The Company offers a complete suite of Internet payment services including a credit card service, an innovative micropayment service, which enables cash transactions, and a secure electronic check service, which allows consumer-to-business  payments from a bank account. CyberCash is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol CYCH. CyberCash’s Web address is .

About NCR

NCR is the leader in delivering commercial open computer systems for transaction processing and decision-support solutions to customers in all industries.  The company, with headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, has 38,000 employees, including 20,000 service professionals in 1,100 locations and 130 countries. More information on NCR can be found on the World Wide Web .


Chargeoffs Flat

Chargeoffs for the November collection period among card bonds notched up one basis point to 6.66% according to the ‘Fitch IBCA Credit Card Performance Index’. Delinquencies (60+ days) also edged up slightly to 3.46% from 3.38% in the previous month. Fitch projects bankruptcies will hit 1.5 million for 1998. Among card securitizations posting chargeoff increases Capital One, Chevy Chase, First Chicago and Sears.


Discover Dinosaur Contest Winner

Justin Hofmann, 6, of Newton, New Jersey, knows why long-necked dinosaurs have long tails, understands the difference between the Triassic and Cretaceous periods and has his own theory of why dinosaurs vanished from the earth 65 million years ago.  Because of his knowledge, this young dino expert won the unique honor of having a new dinosaur named in his honor.  As the grand prize winner of Discover(R) Card’s Junior Paleontologist Discovered Contest, Hofmann was named Discover Card’s Official Junior Paleontologist.  Now, as the contest winner, a newly found species of dinosaur will be named in his honor.

Hofmann, who’s been a dino-enthusiast since age 4, was thrilled to be selected as Discover Card’s Official Junior Paleontologist.  “I really like digging for dinosaur bones in my backyard and pretending to dissect fossils findings,” said Hofmann.  “Now, I’m very excited about having my very own dinosaur named after me and sharing my dinosaur stories with other kids!”

![][1]     The new species of dinosaur is named Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni.  It was a meat-eating dinosaur with a relatively long neck, sharp teeth, grasping hands, long swift legs and a balancing tail.  Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni lived during the early Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago.  It was recently excavated in east central Utah by James Kirkland, Ph.D., senior paleontologist, Dinamation International Society.

The Junior Paleontologist DISCOVERed contest, launched in conjunction with Universal Studios Home Video release of The Lost World  Jurassic Park(R), is part of Discover Card’s DINOSAURS DISCOVERed program.  The program is designed to stimulate children’s interest in learning more about dinosaurs.

“We are delighted to honor Justin by naming a dinosaur for him,” said Lisa Lampert, vice president, Discover Card marketing, NOVUS Services, Inc.  “We hope our DINOSAURS DISCOVERed program will inspire many more children to take an interest in science and see how much fun learning is.”

To enter the contest, children were asked to explain why they think dinosaurs vanished from the earth 65 million years ago, and why they should be selected as Discover Card’s Junior Paleontologist.

Hofmann was selected from 11 finalists to become Discover Card’s Official Junior Paleontologist.  Hofmann and another first prize winner, Colin Lenehan from Chelsea, Michigan, received a family vacation to Universal Studios Hollywood(R).  Nine runners-up received a $500 savings bond.

The Junior Paleontologist DISCOVERed contest was open to children 6-12. To enter, participants could download a contest entry form from the Discover Card Web site at .  Children entered the contest via the Internet and direct mail.  Entries were judged based on originality and creativity of essay, appropriateness to the subject and knowledge of subject matter.  Winners were selected from the 11 finalists by a panel of Discover Card judges under the supervision of D.L. Blair, Inc., an independent judging organization.

As part of the DINOSAURS DISCOVERed program, Discover Card also created a free, 24″ X 36″ activity poster (call 888-311-DINO) for children interested in fascinating facts about the life of dinosaurs.  The DINOSAURS DISCOVERed poster, available through January 16, 1998, includes exciting dinosaur-related games for children to play such as “Din-O-Maze,” “Are Birds Really Dinosaurs?,” and “Break the Code.”  The poster also contains dinosaur pictures children can color.

Discover Card, issued by a business unit of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co., is a general purpose credit and financial services card that is accepted nationwide wherever the NOVUS(R) sign is displayed.

[1]: /graphic/discover/kid_dino.gif


Micron Low-Cost RFID

Micron Communications, Inc., today announced that it has signed an Authorized Systems Integrator agreement with the Range and Information Systems Group of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), authorizing the company to use Micron Communications’ developing MicroStamp remote intelligent communications (RIC) family of products to provide integrated systems solutions for its customers.

As a Micron Communications ASI, SAIC, the largest employee-owned high-technology company in the United States, intends to offer RIC systems solutions for end users by providing site-specific design, system design, software adaptation and development, and comprehensive systems integration and support skills.

“We’re pleased SAIC is now part of the Micron Communications ASI team,” said Michael W. Bokan, Director of Worldwide Sales for Micron Communications. “We believe its reputation as a world-class systems integrator and commitment to deliver quality solutions will expand the number of applications that may benefit from the flexibility and power of our high-frequency MicroStamp and low-frequency MicroTag technologies.”

“In the emerging technology of low-cost RFID, we have seen opportunities for tracking and remote monitoring applications for commercial and defense needs. We have been a charter member using Micron’s products, and are pleased to now formalize the relationship,” said Steve Childress, Senior Systems Engineer at SAIC’s Range and Information Systems Group in San Diego, California. “Most RFID related applications are indeed a ‘system-of-systems,’ requiring a sophisticated systems integrator with core capabilities in software component reuse, database interoperability, complex data communications, proven architectural approaches, and experience in leading a multi-company team on complex, multi-discipline projects,” he added. “With the recent acquisition of Bellcore, we have begun joint work on large, enterprise-wide projects. In the defense area, we are now engaged in and foresee many varied applications of RFID.” Employee-owned SAIC provides high-technology services and products to government and commercial customers in the areas of systems integration, information technology, telecommunications, health systems and services, national and international security, transportation, energy, and environmental systems and engineering. With the recent acquisition of Bellcore, SAIC and its subsidiaries have estimated annual revenues of $4 billion and more than 30,000 employees at offices in 150 cities worldwide. More information about SAIC can be found on the Internet at . Information about Bellcore can be found at [][1].

MicroStamp remote intelligent communications (RIC) technology is a very small, high-performance, high-frequency (2.4 GHz), leading-edge wireless automatic identification and data capture technology. Micron Communications believes the MicroStamp integrated circuit is the first wireless communications technology to integrate a direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) microwave radio, a microcontroller, and a low power static random access memory (SRAM) into a single chip solution. Micron Communications’ MicroStamp and low-frequency MicroTag radio frequency identification (RFID) products can be used for automatic service station fuel pump authorization, laundry automation, asset tracking, airport passenger bag matching, enhanced security systems, inventory control, automatic vehicle identification, remote smart card technology, and other applications. Micron Communications continues to expand its worldwide network of technical partners. Interested systems integrators, original equipment manufacturers, or end users should contact Micron Communications’ Customer Service Department, 1-800-MICROSTamp (800-642-7678).

Micron Communications, Inc. is a subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc., whose common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol MU. For more information about Micron Communications, please visit its web site at [][2].



CommKey & Homisco Team

In an announcement made Tuesday  by Company Executives, CommKey Corp. – – a newly formed telecommunications provider specializing in prepaid and long distance services and HOMISCO/VOICENET – – the leader in hotel voice processing and telemanagement systems – – are joining forces to provide one of the most comprehensive, attractive and competitively priced telecommunications and network packages available today for the hotel/hospitality industry.

Through this joint effort, HOMISCO, which currently has more than 2,000 turnkey systems installed in over five continents, will now be offering CommKey’s cost-saving and revenue producing network services for an extremely attractive price along with its Call Accounting, Answer Detection or Voice Messaging Systems. By signing on with CommKey, hotels not equipped with the current guest amenities such as voice messaging, answer detection or call accounting will now have the unique opportunity of adding these features without incurring any capital outlay. In line with their contract for providing their hotel Call Accounting through Lucent Technology, Homisco will promote CommKey’s services through its distributor network on a similar basis.

According to Ron Contrado, President of HOMISCO/VOICENET, “While many companies provide long distance and telemanagement services, there has never been another more comprehensive and engaging offer than this because of the price and inclusiveness of all the different technologies. And, without the need for capital outlay, it is the ultimate form of financing.”

In addition to the unparalleled savings advantages of this offer, CommKey’s unique patented prepaid phonecard program will allow the hotels to recoup potential phone revenues that have, over the last few years, been lost to third party calls such as calling cards or credit cards. By using the CommKey(TM), a combination electronic room key, prepaid phonecard and debit card, guests can use their card to make calls at a twenty percent discount off the standard prepaid rates (an incentive for guests to use this card over others) while the hotel receives a five percent commission on all card usage – – even calls made with the card after the guest leaves the hotel. The hotel also receives commissions on all recharges as long as the guest uses the card.

“This one-of-a-kind offer for complete telecommunications services is a terrific opportunity for hotels to become part of the 21st century,” added Joe Clark, President of CommKey Corp. “We are looking forward to servicing the hotel/hospitality industry and expanding the opportunities with our telecommunications capabilities.”

Serving the hospitality industry for 16 years, HOMISCO/VOICENET has been a one-stop solution for hotel voice processing and telemanagment systems. The Company developed the first Call Accounting System for the resale guest room telephone service in hotels; an Answer Detection System that enabled hotels to resell completed short duration guest room telephone calls. HOMISCO is the only company that develops, markets and supports these three important hotel technology products of its own design and offers them directly to hotels.

CommKey, a newly formed, Los Angeles-based Company specializes in prepaid telecommunications services which make long distance calling easy, enjoyable, affordable and most of all, reliable. CommKey is a facilities based reseller of long distance services that can handle both domestic and long distance calls through its own switching facilities. The Company also provides telecommunications products and services including dedicated long distance, prepaid long distance phonecards, prepaid cellular, international call back and internet services.