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 Kosta Tomazos, GM of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Offers Guests DataValet for High Speed Internet Access
 
TORONTO - May 26, 1999 - Bell Nexxia with Nortel Networks, Elastic Networks and TravelNet Technologies unveiled today at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, their joint technology solution for the hospitality industry, branded DataValet. Bell Nexxia selected this solution after two years of development to provide a high-speed business network solution to hotels.  DataValet enables the Sheraton Centre Toronto to offer business travelers high-speed data services such as Internet access, on-demand fax services, high-quality printing, and workgroup connectivity, directly from the comfort of their hotel room.

"The Sheraton Centre Toronto has always been very sensitive and proactive to the needs of our business traveler clientele", said Kosta Tomazos, General Manager of the Sheraton Centre Toronto.  "With the DataValet solution, we are now able to offer an extremely easy way for our guests to access a high-speed business network for all their data connectivity requirements."

High-Speed Business Network for Business Travelers With DataValet, guests are offered an "office away from the office". Business travelers are able to connect to all of the same high speed data services which, up until now, were only available on the network in the corporate office.  These services include:

  • Super fast data connections: Using the DataValet solution, guests can download e-mail and Internet files at connections over 300 times faster than traditional phone lines.  The DataValet solution also eliminates long distance charges, tricky modem setups, and long distance charges to remote Internet Service Providers (ISP).
  • Web-based network printing: With DataValet, documents are printed from the guest's computer directly to the hotel's printers which are centrally located.  Printouts are stored for confidential pick-up, or are delivered to the guest's room as required.  Printing options include black and white or full color output and the printing of transparencies. 
  • Network faxing: DataValet makes it easy to send faxes through its web-based interface.  There's no need to visit the front desk, configure complicated fax software, or print documents before sending. 
To access these services, guests simply plug their notebook computers into the DataValet port in their hotel room.  Guests plug into the port using the same network adapter that is used to connect to their corporate networks.  No additional software or configuration is required; simply plug and play.

One-Stop-High Speed Data Solution for Hotels

The DataValet deployment at the Sheraton Centre Toronto combines the networking expertise of Nortel Networks with Elastic Network's innovative YesWare* software suite and TravelNet Technologies' comprehensive management and service distribution software.  The end result is a complete, cost effective and flexible high speed data solution for the hospitality market.

"DataValet represents an important element of a unified solution to distribute and manage high-speed data services in hotel properties such as the Sheraton Centre Toronto," said Yves Côté, Director, High-Speed Access Networks, Nortel Networks.  "By consolidating our technologies and  providing all the pieces needed to deploy a high speed data network, we are able to satisfy guest business connectivity demands." 

Improved Business and Telecommunications Services for Hotels

The DataValet solution involves installing an easily accessible local area network environment within the hotel property.  In doing so, the DataValet solution enables the hotels to offer its customers better telecommunication and business services. Previously, the high use of the telephone network for Internet access had the potential to create congestion, resulting in customer frustration at the inability to dial out.  DataValet solves this problem by moving data communications onto a separate data network. 

Bringing High Speed Data Services to the Sheraton Centre Toronto

As a recognized proactive technology leader in the hospitality industry, Sheraton Centre Toronto anticipated their business travelers' connectivity requirements and the need for the DataValet solution.  To deploy the DataValet solution, the Sheraton Centre Toronto had their business Club Level floors re-cabled by Bell Nexxia using high-performance Category 5 cable and BaySTACK switches from Nortel Networks.  Each guestroom and meeting room on these floors was then equipped with a high-speed DataValet port into which users would plug their computers using their existing network connectors.

"A key criteria to this very successful deployment at the Sheraton Centre Toronto was ensuring ease of use to the hotel guest and the tight integration with the hotel's management systems" said Barry Burton, Vice President, Sales of Bell Nexxia.  "The team's ability to work quickly and focus tightly on what the customer, and the customer's customer required, made the difference.  Regardless of how this technology evolves, our team can ensure the highest level of performance from any location in the world right to the business person's own network or VPN securely, reliably and efficiently." 

For extra ease-of-use, Elastic Network's YesWare server with InterProxy(tm) technology was also added to the solution equation. InterProxy technology is an Internet protocol (IP) translator for PCs in Ethernet (LAN) environments.  With the InterProxy, guests are able to plug into the DataValet port and access services without needing to change any configurations or settings (such as IP addresses etc..) on their computer.

Simply plug and go.

"Our YesWare software suite is designed to facilitate Internet connectivity and allow a hospitality property to provide guests with a very simple experience when connecting", said Guy Gill, CEO, Elastic Networks.  "The YesWare server with InterProxy technology allows for a true 'plug and play' experience by the hotel guest since there is no machine reconfiguration or loading of special software."

Protection of Investment and Migration Path

To facilitate the re-cabling transition, the DataValet solution also includes EtherLoop(tm) technology from Elastic Networks.  EtherLoop technology enables high-speed data and voice communications over existing copper phone lines in guest and conference rooms - allowing for Internet access and DataValet functionality to be delivered over existing property wiring.  Using EtherLoop-based products, high-speed Internet services can be deployed to additional floors and meeting rooms where re-cabling to Category 5 Cabling has not yet been done.

Easy to Use, Easy to Manage

The glue of the DataValet solution that ties all of the networking pieces together and enables data services to be easily distributed and measured, is the software component provided by TravelNet Technologies.  The TravelNet Technologies' software resides on a central server and provides the on-demand service application that allows guests to easily access a comprehensive suite of data services equivalent to those services found in the corporate environment.  Using this integral software component, the DataValet solution also offers a unique accounting and management framework that allows the hotel to easily monitor usage of the data and Internet services.

"The ubiquitous nature of the Internet offers a powerful means to easily distribute software applications and services to users wherever they may reside," said Philippe Labrosse, General Manager of TravelNet Technologies.  "By tightly integrating the network applications with this Internet distribution pipe, the DataValet solution harnesses the power of the Internet and offers an innovative way to distribute, monitor and measure various business services to hotel guests."

DataValet Availability

The DataValet services are currently available for business travelers in 178 rooms and suites on the Business Club Levels of the Sheraton Centre Toronto.  The hotel is in the process of adding the DataValet solution to all of its 36 meeting rooms and the six floors of guest rooms known as Starwood Preferred Guest accommodations.  Finally, the hotel is so enthused about this technology that Data Valet has just been installed in the hotel's main restaurant, Bistro on Two.  Sixteen ports are available for business travelers in a unique 'Table For One' environment within the dining room.  It is anticipated that there will be great appeal in being able to get work done while enjoying a leisurely meal in a restaurant. The integrated DataValet solution is also available for deployment in other hotel properties in Canada through Bell Nexxia. 

About the Sheraton Centre Toronto 
The 1,377-room Sheraton Centre Toronto offers upscale accommodations to business and leisure guests.  As the proud recipient of numerous awards, the Sheraton Centre has been consistent in its determination to bench mark technology in the hospitality industry.  In 1989 the hotel was the global test site for Northern Telecom's Meridian Mail, the first voice mail system offered anywhere in the world.  Since then, the hotel has mandated technology improvements each year, focusing on guest needs and enhancing job functions at the hotel.  Sheraton Hotels are owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  Starwood is the world's largest hotel company, which, through its subsidiaries, operates the Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis/Luxury Collection, Ciga, Four Points, W and  Caesars brands. Starwood's portfolio of owned, managed and franchised hotels and casinos includes approximately 690 hotels and casinos in 72 countries with over 223,000 rooms. 

About Bell Nexxia
Bell Nexxia is Bell Canada's new national Internet and Broadband solutions company providing next generation Internet services to businesses in Canada, the United States and worldwide.  The largest IP-Broadband company in Canada, Bell Nexxia markets a full range of state-of-the-art products and services to large enterprise customers and service providers.  Bell Nexxia's Internet web site is located at http://www.bellnexxia.com. 

About Nortel Networks
Nortel Networks delivers value to customers around the world through Unified Networks* solutions, spanning mission-critical telephony and IP-optimized networks.  Customers include public and private enterprises and institutions; Internet service providers; local, long-distance, cellular and PCS communications companies, cable television carriers, and utilities. 

Nortel Networks' common shares are listed on the New York, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and London stock exchanges.  Nortel Networks had 1998 revenues of $17.6 billion and has approximately 75,000 employees worldwide.

About Elastic Networks 

Elastic Networks provides solutions that stretch Ethernet out of the office LAN and allow for mobile networking, following the trend towards increasingly distributed networks.  By leveraging its technological differentiation in speed, deployability, and economics, and building strategic relationships with distributor, chip manufacturing, and data networking partners, Elastic Networks is dedicated to offering solutions that address the high-speed data and IP Mobility needs of service providers throughout the world.

Elastic Networks is headquartered in Alpharetta, GA.  For more information, please visit out website at www.elastic.com.

About TravelNet Technologies

TravelNet Technologies is a Montreal-based Internet company that creates advanced Internet-based solutions which enable on-demand distribution and usage monitoring of software and services.  Hotels, airports, and multi-unit commercial/residential properties make use of TravelNet Technologies' solutions to easily distribute a range of business services, including Internet access, on a pay-per-use basis.  For more information, please visit the TravelNet Technologies web site at www.travelnet.ca.

###
 
Contact:
Sheraton Centre Toronto: 
Cynthia Bond, 
Starwood Hotels & Resorts 
(416)682-7999 
cynthia.bond@westin.com
Bell Nexxia: 
Nancy Gale
(416) 350-1020 
ngale@post.bell.ca
Elastic Networks: 
Allison Roberts 
(404) 897-2300
aroberts@alexanderogilvy.com
Nortel Networks: 
Loreli Lees
(905) 863-2111 
llees@nortelnetworks.com
TravelNet Technologies: 
Cindy Warren 
(514) 421-1219 
cwarren@travelnet.ca
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Also See: GM Don Peterson at Comfort Inn Bloomington, Minnesota Installs CyberoomTM High-Speed Internet Access in 265 Guestrooms / April 1999 
AT&T and LodgeNet to Provide Hotels and Guests with High-Speed 'Plug and Play' Internet Access / March 1999 

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