News in brief

C&WO launch Bluefield

Cable & Wireless has launched its new global online sales channel, Bluefield, offering small and medium-sized businesses a "one-stop source for Internet communications services". Services provided by Bluefield include Web hosting, Internet access, 24x7 online and offline customer and technical support, as well as startup and business management advice. The Web site (http://www.bluefield.com.au), allows customers to learn about, purchase, monitor, maintain and update their services wherever and whenever they choose, through e-enabled sales and customer relationship management. The service is available in the US now with expected plans for release in Australia in the near future.

AOL not ready for Aussie talk

The way Australians speak English is holding up local access to new functions in America Online (AOL)'s version 6 software. AOL by Phone, a service that lets members check their e-mail and use other interface features using simple, spoken commands from any telephone will be not be available in Australia due to our dialect of English. The developers of the speech software, Speech Works, are working on the Aussie accent, but have not yet set a release date for the software. The Phone service, so far unavailable to AOL's four million non-American members, is a vital part of the company's AOL Anywhere client, which allows users to access e-mail and services from a variety of wireless devices in addition to their PC. Speaking at the Internet World Fall 2000, John Borthwick, AOL vice president, new product development, said the voice-activated service had been developed in four months and had been beta tested with about 6000 users. He said the service would be ideal for people on the go who do not want to carry a laptop everywhere simply to check their e-mail.

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