Omnitech hits its exporting straps

Omnitech hits its exporting straps

Listed Australian company Omnitech is riding high on export markets after winning four major contracts in Asia and India through its subsidiary VFJ Technology.

The most significant of the deals was secured in partnership with giant smart card specialist Gemplus and involves the supply and implementation of an access control system in the Indian state of Karnataka. A spokesman noted that Bangalore, the state capital, is regarded as the Silicon Valley of India. Through the alliance VFJ will install its access control readers and multi-application smart card system to provide personnel and building management and control.

VFJ will implement a high profile system in China after being awarded a contract to develop an access control building management system for the Beijing headquarters of China Resources, which is the official retail outlet for Chinese handicrafts.

In partnership with Hong Kong property developer Henderson Land VFJ will supply smart card enabling technology for an estate management control and bus validator system. The smart cards will be issued to all residents of a new development containing 1200 apartments.

VFJ will also provide a multi-application tollway system for the North Eastern Heilongjiang Province in China. Installation will begin in July.

"It has been a conscious objective of Omnitech to develop our marketing and sales opportunities geographically," noted David Samways, managing director of VFJ. "While the multi-application smart card technology is still in its infancy, we believe we have the skills and the systems to make us one of the major players in this global market".

Keycorp picks up sales to US card companyAustralian smart card company Keycorp has cracked a solid sale in the US through a contract to supply 500 of its K78 mobile payment terminals to Diamond Bankcard Services. The devices are hand-held wireless terminals that combine an EFTPOS unit, a CDPD modem and a printer.

"This is our second significant sale of payment terminals into the US this year," noted Keycorp CEO Michael Thomes. "The K78 is one of the first terminals to meet the growing demand in the US for mobile commerce solutions, resulting from the explosive growth in wireless networks".

Intellect sells up a storm to Coles MyerWhile Keycorp and Omnitech made waves overseas, Intellect, a third Australian smartcard specialist, won a big deal for the supply of financial services terminals to Australian retailer Coles Myer. The ServiceATMs will be installed at most Coles supermarkets this year and will be rolled into other Coles Myer stores next year.

A spokesman said the ServiceATMs will initially allow customers to conduct balance inquiries and pay bills using any bank credit or debit cards.

"We have jointly developed this new product to meet Coles Myer's requirements for a new generation of cost-effective, self-service financial services terminals," explained Kirk O'Connor, Keycorp's general manager of Asia/Pacific operations.

Solution 6 wins sale to European firm

Solution 6 has sold its CMS Open practice management system to European law firm Loyens & Loeff, which employs more than 500 lawyers in 19 offices around the world. The deal was clinched by Dutch company Timesoft-Hansco, which will join forces with Cap Gemini to implement the software.

A spokesman for Loyens & Loeff said that the inclusion of Web functionality in the product was important to the law firm. "We purchased CMS Open Internet Time Entry for all of our fee earners and hope to add additional Web-enabled applications as they become available. Having an Internet strategy is essential in today's competitive business environment," he concluded.

Bank builds consortium to link ATMs by TCP/IPBank of Queensland has built a joint venture with Compaq Computer Australia, Saracen Financial Services and Talisman Technologies to develop and build a range of automated teller machines that can exploit Internet protocols. The bank's communication system is based on a broadband network that operates under TCP/IP.

A spokesman for the bank said the new ATMs will allow customers to perform Internet-related functions. "BOQ can also offer Internet security features, such as digital certificates and high encryption, guaranteeing the security and integrity of data," he noted.

"It is important for BOQ to form alliances with non-bank commercial partners who can expand the reach of BOQ into other markets".

The first ATMs to be built by the joint venture will be used to replace the bank's existing teller machines, after which the joint venture will build up its own "ATM fleet", the spokesman said.

Telstra and Davnet break into Singapore

Both Telstra and Davnet have been awarded provisional facilities-based operator (FBO) licenses to operate in Singapore. Five of the licences were handed out last week by the Infocomm Development Authority, allowing the recipients to compete with Singapore Telecom and StarHub, which had already received licences.

Telstra has formed a joint venture with DataOne Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation. The venture plans to provide a full range of telecommunications services in Singapore and, later, other countries in the region.

Through a newly formed subsidiary in Singapore Davnet will provide IP services to corporate CBD customers. It intends to offer wide bandwidth voice, data, Internet and videoconferencing services through a single digital socket, a spokesman said.

News Briefs

It's difficult not to speculate about the future of Microsoft following the breakdown of mediation on Saturday. When the "fruitless" talks broke down the issue was effectively handed back to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who can release his findings of law in his own time. Observers believe he will move some time this week.

On domestic matters, Cable & Wireless Optus has entered a wholesale capacity agreement and will provide AAPT with a national backbone network. The additional capacity will be used to extend the reach of AAPT's existing network and to provide telephone and data transmission facilities for its mobile and LMDS networks.

Soprano Design has won a contract to design and build the Enhanced Information Services mobile portal for Telstra. The portal will be built on Tibco software and will deliver personalised news, sports results, e-mails and stock quotes to mobile users.

Sausage Software was on a roll last week when St George Bank extended its relationship with an agreement to market the Open Trade network tendering technology to its 80,000 business clients, and Hewlett-Packard agreed to sell Sausage's Business in a Box Web business package bundled with its own PCs and servers.

While Telstra has recently shown some reluctance to go all the way with Cisco, its counterpart across the Tasman has no such qualms. Telecom New Zealand has contracted Cisco to supply a NZ-wide Internet-based communications network. While the network will allow the carrier to provide new domestic services, it will also serve to enhance its links with AAPT, in which Telecom bought a majority stake last year.

The Australian Taxation Office has set up a registered software facility through which accounting software can be tested for compliance with "The New Tax System". "For tax advisers and businesses the RSF will allow them to be sure the accounting software they are using meets ATO standards," a spokesman explained. The RSF can be accessed at www.ato.gov.au/rsf.

After 18 months of development Australian company e-Bill has launched an Internet bill-paying service. Rob Charlton, general manager of e-Bill, said the service delivers bills that are customised to the biller's requirements to a secure Web site where registered users may deal with them electronically. At launch time e-Bill was processing bills for WorldxChange and NorthPower, while seven other companies are in the process of implementing its services.

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