Davnet's tall order

Australian smart building specialist Davnet has won a contract to install a broadband fibre communications network in the tallest building in the US - Chicago's Sears Tower -- which has more than 350,000 square metres of floor space. The contract was let by TrizecHahn, which owns the building along with 110 others in the US, Canada and Europe.

All tenants in the Sears Tower will have access to Davnet's network and to the company's soon-to-be-released Millennium Platform, which will enable IP-based services to run over Ethernet and fibre. Jim Shirah, executive vice president of Davnet's US operations, explained that the platform is deployed by taking multiple dark fibre loops into a building and connecting them to Davnet's gigabit in-building switching infrastructure, which allows Davnet to provide 100M-bits/sec services to each tenant.

"Not only will tenants be able to access the Internet at speeds up to 100M-bits/sec, but we are also broadening our suite of services. When we launch services in the building we'll deliver numerous new services, including network telephony, unified messaging, network acceleration, content management, frame relay, ADSL and ATM connectivity as well as dedicated Internet connectivity and Web hosting services," Shirah said.eGlobal smartens up Chinese buildingWhile Davnet tackled the big end of town, eGlobal - which is about to become the major shareholder in ASX-listed smart card company Coms21 - has won a contract to propose the scope and specification of intelligent building technology for the Phoenix Plaza Building which is to be built in Shenzhen. The building is a project of Hong Kong company Phoenix Film & TV, a member of group of companies that includes Phoenix Satellite Television, which broadcasts entertainment and news into China.

A spokesman for eGlobal explained that the $A200 million building will become a corporate production office that will include state of the art building automation and access control systems. Services to be provided by eGlobal will cover building access control systems, building automation systems, IT&T, and network cabling and routing.eGlobal will include smart card and biometric identification systems in its design recommendations for security and access control so that it is able to incorporate Coms21 smart card technologies and Iris identification technology supplied through Coms21's China partnering agreement with IriScan, the spokesman added.

Intellect has done it again

Irrepressible Aussie smart card specialist Intellect has scored yet another export order with a $A3 million deal for the provision of electronic cash terminals to a distributor in the Netherlands. Jan de Smet, CEO of Intellect, said that CCV, the distributor that had placed the order, has doubled its forecast orders for the year as demand increases for outdoor self-service systems to reload smart cards.

"Purse systems replace cash with smart cards which contain electronically stored money in various amounts," de Smet explained. "However, the success of a purse system depends on the availability and convenience of reload points where customers can recharge their smart cards with money from their bank accounts." He said that orders were being received from shopping centres, sporting complexes, restaurants and other public locations.

The latest order from CCV will raise the number of Intellect outdoor unattended loading devices in The Netherlands to 5000 with more orders expected soon, de Smet claimed.

Unisys signs on for new Aussie wireless linksSkyNetGlobal chalked up a solid customer for its wireless broadband services for travellers this week in the shape of the Australian subsidiary of Unisys, which will be the first corporate user of the service on its launch in February 2001. If the service proves a success Unisys may consider its use worldwide, claimed a spokesman for SkyNetGlobal.

"Like many IT companies the Unisys main office in Sydney is located in a suburban high-tech corridor, yet a large percentage of clients are located in CBDs," noted SkyNetGlobal's CEO Jonathan Soon. "SkyNetGlobal's services will transform CBDs into virtual offices as Unisys staff can simply drop into a SkyNetGlobal location - such as the Westin Hotel in Martin Place, Sydney - and download files and access e-mails," he explained.

"The convenience of being able to download customer files, presentations, product information and e-mails by simply switching on a laptop or handheld device without the need for any cable connection will be a great boon to Unisys staff."

Unisys also has a contract to install and manage SkyNetGlobal's global wireless broadband network and to host and manage its Web and database infrastructure. SkyNetGlobal is rolling out its service in more than 200 locations in 100 cities around the world.

CSC picks up ACT vehicle registry

Still smarting over Westpac's decision in October to outsource its IT operations to IBM Global Services Australia, Computer Sciences Corp's Australian subsidiary will take little solace in having been selected as preferred supplier for the $A5 million redevelopment of the ACT Motor Vehicle Registry (TRIPS). CSC is about to start contract negotiations with the ACT Department of Urban Services.

Listed company Internet Solutions Australia has been included in the CSC consortium and expects to be involved in the development of software that will enable infringement penalty notices to be generated by a network of red light cameras at intersections around the ACT.

Group 11 outsourcing to carry on regardlessThe Federal Government has delayed the close of tenders for the outsourcing of the IT services of the Group 11 agencies until the end of January 2001, but intends to push ahead with the outsourcing regardless of the findings of the Humphrey review. Group 11 is made up of the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs; the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business; the Department of Treasury; the National Library of Australia; and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Labor Senator Kate Lundy claimed that questioning at a Senate estimates committee meeting this week had revealed that the decision about whether to proceed with the outsourcing was out of the department's hands and "firmly in the hands of the Minister for Finance".

Lundy also claimed that successful outsourcing tenderers were failing to meet government requirements for their outsourcing activities. In particular, Lundy claimed, Group 5 supplier Advantra had failed to meet the deadline for its industry development report, although it also became apparent that the Office of Asset Sales and IT Outsourcing had prevented the release of some industry development reports on the grounds of "commercial confidentiality", Lundy claimed.

News briefs

Western Australian telco Netcare Telecommunications has given Nortel the task of planning, developing and implementing its carrier grade broadband microwave network for metropolitan and regional WA. Netcare is a subsidiary of Netcare Corporation, which was acquired in September by listed company Paladin Resources.

A study into the supply and demand of IT&T skills in Australia has been launched by IT&T Skills Exchange, which is a body funded by industry ($A3 million) and the Federal Government ($A5 million). Brian Donovan, CEO of the IT&T Skills Exchange, said the study comprises three components that will be implemented over three monthsA survey of industry demand for IT&T skills;A survey of the current enrolment and completion rates of public and private education suppliers; andAn analysis of the survey outcomes to determine economic implications of any shortfalls.

Results of the study are to be released in March 2001.

The National Office of the Information Economy is seeking organisations to undertake research and consultative activities for a report on the use of e-commerce in the education and training sector. The report will establish the parameters and opportunities for B2B e-commerce within the sector and its connections with the wider information economy. Details of the tender (NOIE 2043) from Peter Huta by phone on 02 6271 1047 or from NOIE's Web site at www.noie.gov.auThe lacklustre launch of the Intel Pentium 4 processor lost even more of its sheen this week when Best Buy retail outlets in the US pulled systems built on the latest Intel chip from their shelves. Potential customers were told the systems had been recalled because of issues such a excessive heat and inadequate performance.

A nine-year, $US30 billion outsourcing agreement between Cable & Wireless and IBM was extended last week to the tune of $US18 million. Under the extension IBM will perform a range of IT functions in support of C&W's customers, mainly in the field of desktop support, but also in Web hosting.

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