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After winning a contract to manage the payroll for 12,000 employees of Motorola in China, Australian company Aurion Corporation believes it is set for a rapid expansion of its operations in China and South-East Asia. Recently appointed CEO Bruce Ford and executive director Silvano Basso are on a tour of the region and will hold meetings in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. "We are hopeful these talks will result in a doubling of sales to the region in the near future," noted Aurion's chairman Ian McMillan.

The Commonwealth Government's Health Insurance Commission has opened an e-Health Technology Centre in the ACT to test emerging online technologies and business solutions for the health community. The centre aims to replicate all manner of technology platforms like to be found in doctors's rooms around the country, ranging from 386-based PCs to other running current generation Intel processors, a spokesman claimed. "Examples of applications undergoing development and testing at the e-Health Technology Centre include software that will enable secure access to the Australian Organ Donor Register online to help authorised medical personnel to quickly identify and act on donor wishes," the spokesman explained. The centre is also testing software that will enable GPs to send patient referrals to specialists electronically using Public Key Infrastructure to ensure the safety and security of patient information.

In the US, Nike has acknowledged that installation problems involving a new set of supply chain management applications will affect the company's third quarter profit. It is understood the applications in question were provided by Texan company i2 Technologies, although representatives of i2 told the IDG News Service that its software accounted for only about 10 per cent of a $US400 million ERP project being undertaken at Nike.

Sears Roebuck plans to deploy some 15,000 wireless handheld devices from Symbol Technologies in one of the largest single deals involving devices powered by the Palm operating system. Sears will use the devices to manage inventory, price changes, merchandise pick-ups, receiving and replenishment. Symbol is the only manufacturer currently producing Palm devices equipped with 802.11b wireless LAN modem cards.

Symbol is also featuring at Kmart, which is overhauling its US instore technology with the purchase of $US200 million worth of Internet-enabled cash registers from IBM, and a $US70 million order of handheld computers and wireless LAN devices from Symbol. The Symbol equipment will be used to run price checks and in back-end applications such as receiving, inventory management and label printing.

The US Department of Defence plans to install a 512-processor Linux cluster that is expected to be able to process 478,000 million calculations per second. The machine will be built by IBM and used at the Maui High Performance Computing Centre in Hawaii for applications like environmental research as well as for defence projects. At the heart of the machine will be IBM's eServer x330 thin servers, which each contain two Pentium III processors, linked by clustering software produced by Californian company Myricom.

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