March 10, 2009

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering

Communications


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Are we Friends yet?
  • HTNG Conference attendance holds steady, a very positive sign

I may be tilting at windmills with this one, but is it too late to hope that we can keep our links on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites under enough control for them to be meaningful? Howard Feiertag brought this up in his recent column in Hotel & Motel Management, wondering why so many people who ask to link to his profile never contact him again, and I’ve been receiving increasing numbers of “link” requests lately, too.

I’ve used LinkedIn for some time and like it for its professional focus and wide coverage; it’s very useful for checking the current position, company and work history of people I want to contact, for example. It’s also been really great to come across and re-connect with people I’d lost touch with some time ago. On the social side I’m a relative newcomer to Facebook, surely the most wonderful time-waster in years, and it’s been a delight to catch up with and share personal news and photos with my friends and family across the world.

But while I truly value the many great friendships I’ve developed in this industry, the two worlds don’t need to overlap all the time. If I’m already connected on LinkedIn to someone I’ve met briefly in a professional capacity, what benefits do either of us gain by also being linked on Facebook? It always feels a little churlish to decline an invitation to be someone’s “friend”, but I’m sure most of my professional contacts aren’t really interested in my personal comments, social activities and family photos.

Over on LinkedIn, I look on my direct connections as people I’ve worked with enough to be comfortable recommending to someone else or asking for a favor. Second and third level connections to contacts of their contacts are nice to know about, but I can’t see that as a valid reason to ask them to be my direct contact. We already know how to get in touch with each other if we need to, and it seems presumptuous to claim a closer connection just because we share friends of friends.

I know that the more on-line connections we have the higher we rate in SEO visibility, but I hope we’re not all linking to each other just for the sake of increasing our apparent popularity and influence. That’s a pretty sad reason to ask someone to be your “friend”.
**
HTNG’s Annual Conference in Dallas last week was another very successful event. Apart from the excellent thought leadership sessions and workgroup reports, the most encouraging aspect was that attendance was so high. While actual numbers were perhaps 10% down compared to last year, in today’s environment that’s a major tribute to the value people get from it. It’s quickly and definitively become one of the few “must-attend” annual conferences.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • David Nelson joins IDeaS as vice president of technology
  • Sarah Fowler of Pegasus named vice president of HEDNA
  • Jennifer Riesselman of Carlson joins HEDNA’s Board as Member at Large
  • Robert Krause promoted to VP Business Development/Asia Pacific for Kaba
  • Victor Pynn joins Amadeus as SVP of its Multinational Customer Group, Americas

David Nelson has joined IDeaS as vice president of technology. With more than 20 years of technology experience, Mr. Nelson was most recently with Thomson-Reuters Corp. where he developed and implemented a SaaS-based information delivery system and led research and development efforts to deploy a nation-wide pharmaceutical information system..
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Sarah Fowler of Pegasus Solutions is named vice president of HEDNA, the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association. Ms. Fowler is strategic account director for Pegasus Solutions and was a Board Member at Large until her appointment to vice president. She has also chaired the Association’s Membership Committee and served as EMEA liaison.
Jennifer Riesselman of Carlson Hotels Worldwide has joined HEDNA’s Board as a Member at Large. Ms. Riesselman is manager, global e-distribution for Carlson, is a former co-chair of HEDNA’s Standards Committee and has played an active role in the Association since 2002.
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Robert Krause has been promoted to Vice-President of Business Development/Asia Pacific for Kaba Lodging Systems, covering both the ILCO and SAFLOK brands. Mr. Krause has served as an Kaba distributor in Hawaii for several years.
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Victor Pynn has joined Amadeus as Senior Vice President of its Multinational Customer Group in the Americas, based in Chicago. Mr. Pynn was most recently Chief Operating Officer at TRX Inc.; he had earlier held senior positions throughout his 15-year tenure at American Express, culminating as Vice President – Network Solutions for Corporate Travel.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Elysian Chicago to use Agilysys’ Visual One, InfoGenesis, Eatec and GeM
  • Armathwaite Hall implements Agilysys’ Visual One for PMS, POS, spa and club
  • Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, PA picks Agilysys’ LMS, InfoGenesis, Stratton Warren and DataMagine
  • HMS InfoTech announces Beta release of Hotelogix 1.0 web-based PMS
  • Bardessono, Yountville, CA installs PAR Springer-Miller SMS|Host
  • Lodge of Four Seasons Golf Resort and Spa Shiki selects ResortSuite

The new 188-room Elysian condo-hotel, Chicago, will use a suite of Agilysys systems when it pens this summer. Modules being implemented include the Visual One software suite, InfoGenesis POS, Eatec Solutions inventory and procurement system and Guest eMarketing (GeM) correspondence and marketing management solution. Agilysys is also providing the information technology infrastructure for the property, including a storage area network and virtualization services.
The 42-room Armathwaite Hall Country House Hotel and Spa in Keswick, U.K, has implemented Agilysys’ Visual One suite, with modules covering property management, point-of-sale, spa management and club management.
The Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA has selected several Agilysys’ applications for the property, which is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2009. Systems to be implemented include the Lodging Management System (LMS), InfoGenesis POS, Stratton Warren System (SWS) inventory/procurement system and DataMagine document management system. When completed, Sands Bethlehem will feature 5,000 slot machines, a 300-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of retail space, 46,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and several dining and entertainment options.
(www.elysianhotels.com, www.armathwaite-hall.com, www.sandsbethworks.com, www.agilysys.com)
**
New Delhi-based HMS InfoTech Pvt. Ltd. has announced the Beta release of its Hotelogix 1.0 web-based Property Management System. Based on the SaaS model, modules available include reservations, front desk, housekeeping, spa, Point of Sale and Internet booking and GDS connectivity. (www.hotelogix.com)
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The 62-room Bardessono of Yountville, California has installed PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SMS|Host Hospitality Management System, the latest MTM Luxury Lodging-managed property to do so. With no front desk or lobby, check-in is managed by the staff using handheld tablet PCs running SMS|Host via Citrix. Online reservations are managed with the new SMS|World XA booking engine; MTM’s CRS office uses SMS|Enterprise to make profile information available to all properties. The PMS uses XML interfaces to send check-in messages to INNCOM to open the electronic blinds, set the thermostat, and turn on the fireplace, and to Guest-Tek and FCS to display the guest’s name and welcome messages on the flat-screen television and IP phone.
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The Lodge of Four Seasons Golf Resort and Spa Shiki has selected ResortSuite to manage its room, dining, spa, golf, retail, membership and online booking operations. The Lodge includes 320 guestrooms, 54 holes of golf, a 15,000 square foot spa, and five dining outlets.
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RESERVATIONS

  • SynXis signs Journey Kenya as its first African reseller
  • Charming Hotels and Resorts signs for Trust’s full CRS for 33 properties
  • HUSA Hoteles signs with Trust for full CRS for 160+ hotels
  • TravelCLICK partners with WPS to offer automated processing of travel agent commissions
  • Travelport discussing ways to include Sabre and Amadeus in new multi-GDS desktop
  • Pan Pacific, Parkroyal launch PANTHER, shared MICROS-based CRS and distribution system
  • OpenTravel Alliance announces FastRez connectivity approach for smaller hotel companies
  • Expedia announces Partner Central website for hotels to access Expedia’s tools
  • Pegasus marks 20th anniversary of its hotel switch

SynXis has signed Journey Kenya as its first African reseller, aiming to link hotels and lodges in Kenya to over 600,000 travel agents via its RedX Distribution Management System. (www.journeykenya.com, www.synxis.com)
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Rome-based Charming Hotels and Resorts has signed a new contract for Trust International’s full central reservation system (CRS) for its 33 properties in Italy. Charming is using Voyager|CRS for GDS and Internet distribution connectivity, Trust|Booker 2.0 for Internet booking and the Trust|CRO call center module for its own voice reservation center.
Barcelona-based HUSA Hoteles has signed a new contract with Trust International and has implemented its full CRS suite for its 160+ hotels in Spain, Belgium, Argentina, the U.S., Egypt and Morocco. HUSA previously maintained four separate CRSs, and now uses Trust’s Voyager|CRS as a single distribution platform with a two-way Trust|Connect interface to HUSA’s own CRS.
(www.charminghr.com, www.husa.es, www.trustinternational.com)
**
TravelCLICK has partnered with commission processor WPS to offer automated payment processing, tracking, reconciliation and billing of travel agent commission payments through its iHotelier Central Reservation System. The interface allows TravelCLICK clients to have full visibility and control of the commission payment process through the web-based WPS Webportal. (www.wpsnetwork.com, www.travelclick.net)
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Travelport is discussing with Sabre and Amadeus ways to include them in a multi-GDS desktop it is developing for travel agents, targeted for October release. The product would allow travel agencies to use either keyboard or graphical commands to access GDS information from all three of Travelport’s GDSs (Apollo, Galileo and Worldspan), as well as Sabre and Amadeus if agreements can be reached. (www.travelport.com)
**
Pan Pacific and Parkroyal Hotels have launched a shared central reservations and distribution system named PANTHER, based on MICROS Systems’ Enterprise Solution. (www.panpacific.com, www.parkroyalhotels.com)
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The OpenTravel Alliance has announced FastRez, a connectivity approach aimed at simplifying the automation of reservations for smaller hospitality companies. Claimed benefits include easier implementation of two-way connectivity between property management systems, central reservation systems, booking engines and distribution companies, rapid time-to-market for new trading partners and new products, and an affordable direct-connect tool for broader inventory distribution or more targeted markets. (www.opentravel.org)
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Expedia has announced its Partner Central online resource, a single website for hotels to access Expedia’s tools for managing rates and room availability, updating property information, and participating in marketing programs. (www.expediapartnercentral.com)
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Marking the 20th anniversary of the 1989 introduction of its hotel switch, Pegasus Solutions announced that 8,000 properties in 2008 upgraded to its RezView NG next generation central reservation system. (www.pegs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Intercontinental implements Jive Social Business Software to create Priority Club Connect community
  • Worldwide Revenue Solutions introduces GuestSpace Web 2.0 social media platform

Intercontinental Hotel Group has implemented Jive Social Business Software to connect and engage with its 40 million Priority Club Rewards members. IHG’s new Priority Club Connect community is intended to become an online gathering place for Priority Club Rewards Members to share their experiences and talk directly with IHG management through a video blog. (www.ihg.com, www.jivesoftware.com)
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Internet marketer Worldwide Revenue Solutions (WRS) has introduced its GuestSpace Web 2.0 Marketing Solution and Social Media Platform, a portal where guests can find news, interactive maps, entertainment, games, local specials and join an online community. Guests are encouraged to create a profile, upload images and blog about their experiences for hotel owners to monitor and respond to. (www.wrsol.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • RateTiger announces RTCorp for hotel groups and chains to manage multi-property online distribution
  • Hotel Dei Cavalieri in Milan deploys EzRMS
  • Assured Ascot Quays Apartment Hotel implements EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite
  • Ramada Jarvis Hotels signs with TravelCLICKfor RateVIEW Enterprise

RateTiger announced its RTCorp application to help hotel groups and chains monitor and control group-wide online distribution activities, performance and benchmarking across their property portfolio. RTCorp lets managers view rates of all the group’s properties on branded websites, hotel sites and other travel sites to maintain consistent pricing and show hotel rankings on various travel websites. (www.ratetiger.com/us)
**
The 177-room Hotel Dei Cavalieri in Milan has deployed EzRMS.
The Assured Ascot Quays Apartment Hotel has implemented EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite, including Ez-QUOTE deal quotation and Ez-BUDGET budget analysis modules at its property on the Swan River in Perth, Australia.
(www.hoteldeicavalieri.com, www.assuredhotels.com.au, www.easyrms.com)
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Ramada Jarvis Hotels has contracted with TravelCLICKfor RateVIEW Enterprise intelligence and management tools for 38 of its hotels in the United Kingdom. (www.ramadajarvis.co.uk, www.travelclick.net)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Newmarket signs Texas Digital as Event Management System partner
  • Stockholm’s Berns Salonger implements Newmarket’s Delphi sales and catering
  • Dolce Hayes Mansion picks Passkey
  • New Orleans Metropolitan CVB signs with Travel Technology Group
  • Harris unveils Punctuate application for digital signage management
  • X2O Media introduces X2O Data Service, Xpresenter Xe entry level digital signage system

Newmarket International has signed Texas Digital as its newest Event Management System partner, able to extract meeting information from Newmarket applications and display it on in-house video channel or digital signage.
Berns Salonger, in Stockholm’s city center, has implemented Newmarket’s Delphi sales and catering application. The complex includes a 65-room hotel, seven function rooms, two restaurants and a night club.
(www.txdigital.com, www.berns.se, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Dolce Hayes Mansion has selected Passkey to manage all events, including targeted email campaigns to group guests pre-arrival, post-stay or while at the property. (www.dolce-hayes-mansion-hotel.com, www.passkey.com)
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The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB) has signed a multi–year contract with Travel Technology Group for convention housing and travel management services. These include event-centric reservation websites, integration with any registration system, real-time group bookings and inventory management, reporting, and a single source for hotel, air, car and destination services. (www.neworleanscvb.com, www.traveltechnologygroup.com)
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Harris Corp. has unveiled its Punctuate application for managing the scheduling and placement of advertising and promotional content on digital signage, with control over single and multiple networks and for each individual sign. (www.harris.com)
**
X2O Media has introduced its X2O Data Service, offering digital signage users a variety of live feeds including bundles of popular (news, weather, sports, and business headlines) and premium (live business tickers on commodities and bonds, UPI News and live sports data) data feeds, with additional data content (traffic conditions, science and technology news, entertainment news, celebrity gossip, and offbeat news) available a la carte.
X2O Media also introduced its Xpresenter Xe, an entry level stand-alone digital signage system with better-than-broadcast-quality video output, a straightforward configuration screen, point-and-click content management tools and links to live data.
(www.x2omedia.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • SCI releases hosted version of FOOD-TRAK
  • boo.com partners with toptable.com
  • Chumash Casino Resort chooses Capton’s Beverage Tracker

System Concepts, Inc. (SCI) has released FOOD-TRAK Service, a hosted version of its FOOD-TRAK system available over the internet for a monthly, quarterly or annual fee. A portion of the fee can be applied toward software license purchases if clients opt to bring the system in-house. (www.foodtrak.com)
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Travel Website boo.com has partnered with toptable.com to allow boo.com visitors to book restaurants directly as well as providing access to more than 25,000 restaurant reviews. (www.toptable.com, www.boo.com)
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Chumash Casino Resort has chosen Capton’s Beverage Tracker for monitoring its bar operations. (www.captoninc.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • ResortSuite now HTNG-certified for activity bookings

ResortSuite 5.1 has been certified under the Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) Property Web Services Product Specification for activity bookings as part of a single guest itinerary. (www.enablez.com) **

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GUEST SERVICES

  • Hilton’s new Denizen Hotels to include “digital davenports” with electrical connectors for multiple countries
  • hotel nikko tokyo installs TeleAdapt’s first Japanese MediaHub connectivity panel
  • Deep Blue Wireless merges with WiFiFee
  • DT Research announces WebDT Content Manager 3.0 for emergency message broadcasts
  • iBAHN granted patent for tools that detect multiple users of a network access node
  • Carlyle Hotel implements MTech’s HotSOS with Motorola MOTOTRBO radios
  • GlobalPrint Systems enhances functionality of its PrintPOD product
  • Uniguest contracts with Com-Net for real-time flight data on Concierge Station Internet kiosks

Hilton Hotels new Denizen Hotels brand will include “digital davenports” in public areas that featured electrical connectors for multiple countries, to allow international travelers to connect their portable devices without the need for an adapter. (www.hilton.com)
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The hotel nikko tokyo has installed TeleAdapt’s MediaHub connectivity panel in all suites, TeleAdapt’s first Japanese implementation. (www.teleadapt.com, www.jalhotels.com)
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Hospitality HSIA provider Deep Blue Wireless has merged with WiFiFee, a New York-based Wi-Fi broadband Internet access provider, and will become WiFiFee’s hospitality division. (www.deepbluewireless.com, www.wififee.com)
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DT Research has announced its WebDT Content Manager 3.0, which includes WebDT SimulCAST software for the real-time broadcast of emergency messages to digital signs and networked computers. Network administrators can access the system via a computer or mobile phone to quickly update and transmit messages in emergency situations, complementing existing SMS and Voice broadcast technologies. The system allows for content to be pre-loaded onto networked digital signs, desktops and laptops, and displayed instantaneously on each sign and computer screen during emergencies. (http://signage.dtri.com)
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iBAHN has been granted a USA patent for its software tools that detect multiple users of a network access node, which it introduced four years ago. The technology detects situations where a single paid connection used to support a meeting or conference is actually used for multiple user access, allowing the conference provider to recoup revenue based on a per-user plan. (www.ibahn.com)
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New York’s Carlyle hotel has implemented MTech’s Hotel Service Optimization System, or HotSOS (pronounced “hot sauce”) with Motorola MOTOTRBO digital two-way radios. (www.thecarlyle.com, www.m-tech.com)
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GlobalPrint Systems has enhanced the functionality of its PrintPOD product to let business travelers securely forward emails which contain document attachments to their personal proprietary PrintPOD email address. The sender can retrieve them at any PrintPOD kiosk. (www.myprintpod.com)
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Uniguest has contracted with Com-Net Software to provide real-time flight information for its Concierge Station Internet kiosks, alongside their standard business center applications, Internet access, printing and customized local information for restaurants and attractions. (www.comnetsoftware.com, www.uniguest.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • PAS unveils Web-based pasUnity software
  • d2o consulting launches PMI labor and cost management system in North America
  • Choice picks Hospitality Softnet as partner in re-launching ResCoach training platform
  • 2Checkout.com offers all TenantWIZ customers free merchant accounts

Back office systems vendor PAS has unveiled its Web-based pasUnity software, which integrates operational based (front office) systems with accounting/financial reporting applications. With the cooperation of a group of industry vendors, PAS has been able to provide all the necessary accounting and finance logic within the integration solution itself. (www.profact.com)
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Europe’s d2o consulting has launched its PMI labor and cost management system in North America. PMI gathers detailed revenue forecasts for all areas, including rooms, F&B and any other income department, and helps each department head produce a labor scheduling and a food and beverage forecast. (www.d2o.biz)
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Choice Hotels International has chosen Hospitality Softnet as a partner in re-launching its ResCoach guest service and reservation agents training platform. (www.choicehotels.com, www.hospitalitysoftnet.com)
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Online payment provider 2Checkout.com is offering all TenantWIZ Software Corp. vacation rental software and property management software customers free merchant accounts. 2Checkout is directly integrated with TenantWIZ’s online reservation & payment engine. (www.tenantwiz.com, www.2checkout.com
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ENGINEERING

  • Crowne Plaza Alice Springs implements largest building-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system in Southern Hemisphere

The Crowne Plaza Alice Springs has implemented the largest building-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system in the Southern Hemisphere, generating over 530,000 kWh per year. The $3.3 million PV installation is planned to reduce the hotel’s energy consumption by 40-80 percent dependant on the time of year, with the energy efficiency program further reducing consumption by 18 percent. The hotel’s overall energy efficiency program includes an in-house solarPV television channel so guests can see how much energy the hotel is saving at any given time of the day, installation of ‘Energy Eye’ occupancy-sensing guestroom thermostats, replacement of over 3,110 light bulbs with energy efficient options, and installation of Jemflo showerheads in all guest rooms. The project is a joint initiative between the hotel owner, Investnorth Pty Ltd, and the Australian Government. (www.crowneplaza.com.au)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • Thing5 offers telecommunications platform for hotels on monthly subscription basis
  • Meraki launches MR58 next-generation three-radio 802.11n device

Thing5 announced that it is now offering a complete telecommunications platform for hotels on a monthly subscription basis, avoiding CapEx issues. The service includes voicemail, ACD, interfaces to PMS and call accounting systems and a fully featured hospitality class PBX, includes 24 x 7 network monitoring and is hosted at two geographically redundant network operations centers in Massachusetts and Florida. (www.thing5.com)
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Meraki has launched its MR58 next-generation three-radio 802.11n device, with five times the capacity and speed of standard 802.11b/g wireless devices. The MR58 high bandwidth across multiple hops, supports long distance links and is targeted at high-bandwidth content such as voice and video. (www.meraki.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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