Stories by Natasha David

Automated check-in speeds airline queues

In an effort to provide a cost-effective solution to burgeoning queues at check-in counters, Ansett Australia will introduce check-in machines for electronic ticket holders.
Called E-check in, they will initially be installed at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane domestic terminals, and will provide electronic ticket holders the opportunity to skip the notoriously tedious lines with a 15-second check-in (minus bags).

Talking stocks and bonds

Coping with peaks of the share market can play havoc with call centre staffing. On quiet days, call agents can sit around waiting for the phone to ring, while busy days see queues of investors lining up on the switchboard to place orders.
Which is why Commonwealth Securities (ComSec) has been quietly trialling a natural language voice recognition system it hopes will shoulder some of the load.

Massive investment in undersea fibre optic project may sidestep Australia

Although more than $US15 billion will be invested in trans-Pacific undersea fibre optic systems by 2003, Australia will miss out on much of the action.
"While there is new cable going to Australia, most notably the Southern Cross Cable Network (online this year), SEA-ME-WE 3 (online last year), and Australia-Japan (online in 2001), Australia will not see most of the planned deployments," said Stacey Yates, director of market research at KMI Corporation.

Ex-IT execs change online recruitment's face

Online IT recruiter Best People International (BPI) claims to be ahead of the hiring game with a number of initiatives that let job seekers communicate directly with its consultants in real time.
Using BPI Connect, a messaging and document-sharing feature based on Lotus Sametime, BPI has targeted curious surfers on its site with instant customer service.

Sony plays games with e-tail initiative: Hopes to avoid "death by demand" fate

Prospective e-tailers better have $7.5 million to spare, because that's the ballpark cost to get it right with mySAP.com in Sony Computer Entertainment's experience.
Fresh from implementing an SAP R/3 back end, Sony is preparing to launch Playstation.com, its next-generation computer entertainment and communication system, using a mySAP.com solution to create an online store.

AT&T drives down B2B costs

Telecommunications company AT&T Wireless has successfully trialled QAD's latest business-to-business applications, driving transaction costs down and regaining control over product distribution.

Cisco makes Web content play

Accelerating the delivery of Web content, Cisco Systems has announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Netiverse.

Storage system to slash admin costs

Hitachi Data Systems has announced its new 37Tbyte Lightning storage system, claiming it is five times faster than its predecessor Freedom Storage.

E-marketplace gains new entrant

Much hyped and rarely spotted in the wild, e-marketplaces have a lot of ground to cover in Australia before user acceptance takes off. But a new initiative from Westpac and Intelysis aims to leapfrog user barriers by linking 40,000 online banking customers with more than 17,000 suppliers using the bank's payments and financial services and Intelysis' e-business infrastructure.

GST pressures Tax Office systems

Your business isn't the only one struggling to meet the July 1 Tax Reform deadline. Australian Taxation Office (ATO) itself joins the list of organisations feeling the pinch with its largest ever systems changeover.