iCat Lemonade Stand

iCat Corporation, the provider of the market-leading iCat Electronic Commerce Suite, announced Tuesday that the first seven hosting companies that will offer iCat’s new entry-level Internet storefront creation solution to their business clients. The product, code-named “iCat Lemonade Stand,” will be previewed at Fall Internet World this week in New York City and is expected to ship in the first quarter, 1998. The announced partners include Epoch Internet, Internet Direct, Creative Data Concepts, The Catalog Site, WOWFactor, and DeltaCom in the US, as well as the Ngage Electronic Commerce division of MTS Advanced, one of Canada’s largest hosting companies. Separately the company also announced relationships with Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and UPS that will be working with iCat to promote and deliver the product.

With iCat Lemonade Stand, businesses will be able to easily, quickly, and affordably create their first Internet storefront, and have the ability to add more sophisticated functionality as their Web store changes from a trial venture to a mission-critical part of their business. iCat Lemonade Stand is the entry-level product in a complete family of e-commerce solutions from iCat. When businesses are ready to scale their e-commerce commitment, they can seamlessly upgrade to more advanced functionality included in the iCat product line.

“With these leading ISPs hosting and marketing iCat Lemonade Stand, millions of small and medium-sized businesses will finally be able to participate in the growing success of Web commerce,” said Craig Danuloff, iCat’s president and CEO. We’re thrilled to have this elite and diverse group of companies already committed to this new product. Together we’re going to eliminate the technical and financial barriers preventing a majority of merchants from selling on the Internet.” “Integrating an affordable e-commerce solution is highly requested by thousands of existing businesses that our company hosts nationwide,” said Edward Stern, marketing strategist for Epoch Internet, a first-tier Internet Service Provider. “iCat’s new product further allows us to attract a wider range of new customers by rounding out our scalable line of e-commerce solutions.”

The technology, which requires no software to be installed on the merchant’s system other than their Web browser, will be available on a monthly subscription-based pricing model through the hosting companies. When the software is installed on the host Internet servers, merchants can access the site and create stores independently, without host intervention. Web hosting providers will have extensive host management and reporting tools and the capability of creating a host mall of all catalogs. iCat Lemonade Stand will initially be available for Windows NT Internet servers, and later for UNIX platforms, such as Hewlett-Packard’s HP-UX and SUN Solaris.

“From a simple product catalog with secure credit card processing to sophisticated back-office integration, iCat understands that merchants’ needs and budgets differ greatly,” said Paul Kraaijvanger, vice-president of Internet Direct. “We’re excited to offer a truly scalable commerce path, and look forward to working with iCat to help small to medium-size businesses reap the benefits of selling products and services online.”

Easy for Merchants to Set Up Shop

Designed for the novice computer user, the new product uses step-by-step wizards which walk the merchant through the process of designing their store, adding product information, and selecting shopping cart options. Users simply access an iCat Lemonade Stand site using their Internet browser-no software is installed on the user’s workstation-and begins managing the day-to-day business of an Internet store. iCat’s technology allows merchants to create a store containing unlimited products, pictures, prices, descriptions, and more. Merchants can accept secure payments via credit card (with optional real-time payment processing), check, or COD and retrieve orders and sales reports via email or browser.

WOWFactor, one of the iCat Lemonade Stand hosting providers, is creating advantages for women in the digital economy by providing useful Web services and expertise to buyers and sellers. “WOWFactor is targeting women business owners who want simple, flexible Web solutions and frankly, iCat’s new technology offering nails it!” commented Margaret McGillin, president of WOWFactor. “The technology is so easy to use, business owners don’t need to hire a Web developer or consultant.

WOWFactor is pleased to work with iCat to offer the service at the price points the work-at-home businesses can easily afford.”

About iCat Corporation

Thousands of iCat catalogs are currently in development with iCat’s flagship Electronic Commerce Suite, the technology winner of more than twenty industry awards, including PC Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice Award” for electronic storefront software in November 1997. Visit to see world-class commerce sites for iCat customers A&E, Bloomingdales, Saab, Ethel M. Chocolates, Chef’s Catalog, Hewlett-Packard, Ziff-Davis University, CDs Unlimited, Tropicals Nuthouse, and over 100 more.

iCat Corporation, founded in 1993 and based in Seattle, Washington, is solely dedicated to providing corporations and merchants with the most complete, powerful, and flexible solutions for creating Web catalogs with secure transaction processing. The privately held company has technology and marketing relationships with over 350 companies including UPS, Compaq, HP, EDS, and GTE. The software is available in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Japan from any of iCat’s business partners, leading distributors such as TechData, Ingram Micro, MicroAge, and Trans Cosmos Incorporated, and resellers such as Software Spectrum. For more information, visit the iCat Web site at or call 888-BUY-ICAT.

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NetVERIFY

ICVERIFY Inc. announced Tuesday it will rolled out ‘NetVERIFY’ next month, a new credit card processing solution designed specifically for Web commerce sites and for Internet Service Providers. ‘NetVERIFY’ processes all general purpose credit card and private-label credit card transactions for Web commerce sites, including online stores. It has over 250 processor certifications, providing access to over 99% of all U.S. banks. With NetVERIFY’s remote access, ISPs and individual merchants can perform the administrative functions of transaction processing using a Web browser. The basic product allows for 8 simultaneous connections from online shoppers and a single line out to processing networks, but additional licensing can be purchased to expand throughput, both in and out, as merchants increase sales volume. The solution will currently support ‘SSL’ and will eventually support ‘SET’ whenever the ‘SET’ protocol is production ready.

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Smart Kids Card

Lasertechnics Inc. majority-owned Sandia Imaging Systems, Inc., received an initial order to produce 10,000 electronic purse smart cards for IC One, Inc. of Salt Lake City, UT.

IC One is using smart card technology to raise money for schools. With the IC Kids Card program, participating merchants contribute a portion of every purchase made with the card to school(s) of the cardholder’s choice. Each multi-application card will have multiple electronic purses, customized IC Kids Card color graphics and text information printed on the card. Logos of participating merchants will be displayed on the back of each card.

“With our recent announcement of the introduction of IDCARD Services(TM) Division, we are pleased that IC One has chosen Sandia Imaging Systems, Inc. as their supplier of personalized ID cards for this worthwhile marketing program and look forward to continuing growth in this exciting new business area,” says Sandia President and Chief Operating Officer Harry Budow.

Sandia Imaging Systems is based in Carrollton, TX, and produces fraud-resistant wallet-sized ID cards, assembles and sells dye-sublimation card printers, designs and markets turnkey corporate security systems. IDCARD Services provides a turnkey service of producing high volume, quality, durable, visually attractive and secure color ID cards with state-of-the-art technology.

Sandia may be contacted at its US Headquarters in Carrollton, TX, by calling 972-407-6080 or by email: marketing@sandia.lasx.com. You may also visit Sandia’s web site at: .

This press release included “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the actual results of the company to differ materially from the results expressed or implied by such statements, including general economic and business conditions, conditions affecting the industries served by the company and its subsidiaries, conditions affecting the company’s customers and suppliers, competitor responses to the company’s products and services, the overall market acceptance of such products and services, and other factors disclosed in the company’s Annual Report of Form 10KSB for the year ended Dec. 31, 1996 and all of the company’s subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10QSB through September 30, 1997. Accordingly, although the company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.

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Smart Readers PC900

ActionTec Electronics, a leading manufacturer of data communications and wireless products, announced Tuesday the Smart Reader PC900.

The PC900 is the first specially designed PC Smart Card reader that supports high-level security and reliable electronic commerce on the Internet with EMV (Europay/MasterCard/Visa) and SET (Secure Electronic Transactions) protocols.

The PC900 enables home or business computers to be used as Personal Banking Machines, Secure Identification Access Systems, Secured Internet/Network Access Systems, or Secure Payment Systems.

“The worldwide market for Smart Cards has flourished beyond initial expectations,” commented Elliot Hadaegh, vice president of sales and marketing for ActionTec. “The PC900 helps realize this trend by permitting the secure and reliable transfer of critical and confidential information.” The PC900 is the first of a complete family of Smart Card readers planned by ActionTec.

While the greatest amount of smart card activity is currently in Europe, usage is now growing rapidly in the United States and Asia. Smart cards are already used domestically in the financial sector to reduce fraud and increase security. Smart cards and smart card readers are seeing use in an increasing number of applications including electronic commerce and set top boxes for digital TV.

“The U.S. smart card industry is moving from the introductory phase to the implementation phase. We are witnessing the advent of the smart card revolution. One of the enabling factors for the proliferation of smart cards is the availability of quality smart card readers. This is just the first step, soon smart card readers will be integrated into many devices including network computers, telephones, and set top boxes,” noted Henry Dreifus, managing director of Dreifus Associates, Limited, a firm specializing in worldwide strategic planning and technology transfers to the Advanced Card Industry.

Capable of utilizing three Secure Access Modules (SAMs), the plug and play PC900 installs quickly and easily on a desktop or notebook PC via the computer’s serial port. The PC900 is Secure Transmission Internet Ready. For maximum dependability and reliability, the PC900 is manufactured under strict ISO9002 quality certifications.

Applications for the PC900 include Payment Execution, Retail Transactions, Internet Functions, Health Information Access, Network Computer Functions, Loyalty Functions, and Access Control.

The PC900 is fully compatible with PCs, provides easy installation, and has a functional, unique and versatile ergonomic design. The SmartReader is Microsoft PC/SC (Personal Computer/Smart Card) enabled and supports multiple SAMs. These combined features make the SmartReader PC900 a differentiated product from smart card readers previously introduced by other manufacturers. With this product, ActionTec Electronics, Inc. intends on developing new strategic partnerships with System Integrators and OEMs who promote the benefits of Smart Cards to their clients.

ActionTec products are available through national distribution and retail channels as well as through private label and OEM relationships. ActionTec can be reached via the Internet at , or by phone at 408/752-7700 or fax 408/541-9003.

ActionTec Electronics, formally known as PreMax, is a significant global player in the PC Card and internal fax modem marketplace. ActionTec’s technically sophisticated products meet the needs of computer users in both mobile and desktop environments. ActionTec’s product line includes a complete line of mobile communication and storage PC Cards (PCMCIA), and internal and external desktop fax/modems.

The company has a track record of growth, attributed primarily to strong relationships in the data communications product marketplace. Additionally, ActionTec Electronics delivers a range of connectivity and storage products, allowing desktop computer users to increase productivity and portable computer users to communicate effectively from non-traditional locations. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale and maintains branch offices in Philadelphia, Government Sales in Arlington, Va., and International Sales in Irvine, Calif. Operational Headquarters are located in Taiwan.

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Snow Sport Express

Selling ski lift tickets via ATMs has been so successful for Wells Fargo that it is expanding the service to 550 ATMs in Northern California this week. Wells Fargo introduced the ‘Snow Sport Express’ service last year at 50 ATMs. Besides expanding the availability of the program, Wells’ has added a new service: lesson package discounts for Heavenly, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Sugar Bowl and Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resorts. With the ‘Snow Sport Express’ service, consumers simply press the “Buy Tickets” button on the ATM. Discounted vouchers, good through the entire season, are then issued. The discounts for lift ticket vouchers range from $3 to $14, and lesson package discounts range from $5 to $43. There are no transaction fees except for foreign ATM surcharges. Wells currently sells postage stamps via ATMs throughout its ten state market.

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Dial-Up ATMs

With off-premise ATMs now accounting for nearly 37 percent of all new ATM deployments Mellon Network Services announced this week it will support new processing capabilities for retailers and banks who need dial-up ATM services. Mellon says the cost of utilizing dedicated leased lines for ATM is too expensive to effectively compete in the off-premise marketplace. MNS also says dial-up ATMs can not only provide merchants with lower telecommunications and equipment costs but also additional revenue sources from surcharging and the dispensing of items like stamps and coupons.

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Unique Debt Workout

A La Jolla-CA startup specializing in credit card recoveries was cleared for OTC trading yesterday. Asset Retrieval Services, Inc. employs a unique ‘Credit Card Re-Issue Program’, under which the company purchases nonperforming consumer credit card accounts and then re-issues a credit card to the consumer. The concept, created by founder Dr. Barry Lotz, is to establish a workout of the previous balance and provide additional credit while re-establishing the cardholders creditworthiness. The firm bills itself as a “socially responsible corporation”.

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Paymentech Canada

Paymentech Canada announced the recent signing of direct marketers for electronic payment processing. The new clients include Lee Valley Tools and The Hampshire Collection. In addition, Paymentech announced an ongoing relationship with Universal TeleResponse in which the award-winning inbound call centre utilizes Paymentech as the preferred credit card processor for Universal’s customers.

“Paymentech’s seamless multi-currency credit card processing and timely funds delivery were attractive to Lee Valley Tools,” said Iain Campbell, executive vice president for the 20-year-old company. “Paymentech is very merchant focused and has exceeded our expectations for transaction processing and customer service.” Lee Valley markets woodworking and gardening tools and accessories.

“As a growing cataloguer, The Hampshire Collection wanted to address current as well as future payment processing needs,” said Barbara Canning Brown, president. “Our business is one of speedy response and specialized customer service and that is what a credit card processor also should deliver.”

Said Sue Farrel, director of sales and marketing for Universal TeleResponse, “Our relationship with Paymentech enables us to offer one-stop shopping and critical support services to our direct response clients.”

Paymentech is a leading electronic payment processor for non-face-to-face enviornments such as direct marketers, on-line services, and utility and cable companies. Said Hugh A. Ramolla, Paymentech Canada’s national sales director, “We are excited about the growth of our Canadian business. As a processor that focuses on the needs of direct marketers who sell to customers in Canada, the U.S. and other countries, we offer a number of unique payment services.”

Paymentech currently processes credit cards and other electronic payments for over 60 direct response merchants in Canada. Paymentech also offers electronic cheque processing (ECP) or a direct debit solution for recurring billing. Direct response merchants in Canada and the U.S. will be able to electronically debit a Canadian or U.S. consumer’s bank account for automatic payment. Paymentech is also one of the largest credit card processors for U.S. marketers.

Paymentech, Inc. (NYSE: PTI), founded in 1985, is a major third-party processor and the leading provider of full-service electronic payment solutions to the direct response industry. The company processed approximately 420 million total transactions in the September 1997 quarter and approximately $43.5 billion in sales volume during the last four quarters.

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GCA Expands to 17

The Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA) today announced that it has added a new member to its growing roster of global smart card industry leaders. NCR, a world leader in customer transactions, has joined the organization bringing the membership to 17, including major telecommunications, software and financial services companies and equipment manufacturers.

“Our vision is quite simple, within the next five years smart/chipcard consumers will be able to access their personalized applications anytime, anywhere and for many functions,” said David Anastasi, president and a member of the board of the GCA as well as vice president and general manager at U S WEST Public Services. “The Global Chipcard Alliance’s mission is to provide to consumers worldwide an easy way to identify the devices where their cards are accepted, serviced and protected. The GCA wants to ensure that a customer’s needs are met whether he/she is just around the block or in another part of the world,” he continued.

The goal of global smart card interoperability was furthered with the GCA’s recent announcement to institute a service mark plan which, when completed, will allow consumers to recognize “GCA approved” smart cards and terminals as products which fulfill strict global interoperability and consumer advocacy requirements set out by the GCA to ensure service and protection levels worldwide.

A certification process to review and validate products using the service mark and to then administer adherence to global interoperability specifications is also under evaluation.

“NCR is pleased to join the Global Chipcard Alliance to contribute to the further success and standardization of smart card solutions across the world,” said Clemens Sozef, Product Marketing Electronic Commerce, NCR. “NCR developed advanced solutions to support Electronic payment schemes such as Chipper, Proton, VISA cash and Mondex, in several countries. This includes multifunctional use of the smartcards. NCR is located in more than 130 countries and is committed to supporting the implementation of smart card solutions world-wide.”

NCR has become a world leader in customer transactions by providing businesses the ability to capture, process, and analyze data, so they can turn the resulting knowledge into actions that improve their relationship with their customers. NCR primarily concentrates in the retail, financial and telecommunication industry with products and services ranging from ATM, payment terminals, point-of-sale equipment, self service kiosk services, data warehousing, call centers, home devices and chipcard readers to system integration, constancy, project management, implementation/realization and installation and maintenance.

NCR has a 113 year heritage of enabling and analyzing transactions between businesses and their customers. At the customer interface, NCR is a world leader in Self Service and Point of Sale equipment. Behind the customer interface, NCR leads the scaleable data warehousing segment of the strategic business analysis market and the open, high-availability transactions processing market.

Established in 1996, the Global Chipcard Alliance’s members include: U S WEST Communications, PTT Telecom Netherlands, GTE Telephone Operations, Bell Canada, Telekom Malaysia, Deutsche Telekom, American Express, Microsoft, IBM, Telstra, Northern Telecom, Landis & Gyr, Oracle, NCR, GemPlus, SPT Telecom, and Elcotel. The GCA’s mission is to create an environment which accelerates the development of multi-functional smart/chip technology and related applications through business alliances that have a commitment to: 1) worldwide open interoperable networks, 2) public advocacy, 3) endorsing of standards and specifications, and 4) promoting communications-enabled applications and solutions.

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Coming Calling Card Explosion

The passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 will result in service providers flooding into both the interchange and local exchange markets in the very near future. In preparation for this vast operator services and card calling market growth, both current and future market players must take proactive measures to retain their existing customers and to establish new customer bases within the market.

According to recent strategic research by Frost & Sullivan (), U.S. Operator Services and Card Calling Markets are expected to grow from $14.5 billion in 1996 to $22.7 in 2003, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7 percent. This in-depth analysis of the market is divided into two segments: the interexchange carrier (IXC) operator services and card calling market and the local exchange carrier (LEC) operator services and card calling market. The IXC Segment is then further divided into domestic and international subsegments to ensure the closest possible examination of all aspects of the market.

The operator services and card calling market is currently being revitalized by prepaid calling cards which will later be joined by higher technology “smart cards.” Some major trends within the expanding market include continuing automation of the operator services industry leading to decreased labor and switching equipment costs for service providers, and the imposition of rate caps on operator services by state authorities preventing exorbitant fees and lowering revenues for the operator services market, according to Frost & Sullivan’s Telecommunications Industry Manager Larry Herman.

This research U.S. Operator Services and Card Calling Markets includes a representative sample of 136 companies currently in the U.S. operator services and card calling market, out of more than 1,000 companies currently competing in the market. Also included are ways competing market players can strategically, and wisely, adapt or redirect their present resources into these flourishing markets. In providing an objective overview of the entire operator services and card calling industry, four end-user categories are highlighted by industry: hospitality, institutional, pay phone, and residential and business customer.

AT&T, MCI, and Sprint dominate the IXC services market. Combined they hold more than 85 percent of the market for domestic interexchange services and over 95 percent of the market for international interexchange services. Thus leaving more than 1,000 competitors to compete and account for the remainder is the revenues in the market. So how will these companies succeed?

“It is clear that as a result of the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, many providers in the interexchange and local exchange markets will enter both markets,” says Herman. “To compete effectively in this deregulated environment, service providers need to take proactive measures to retain their existing customers for operator and card calling services and establish new customer bases in markets that they are entering.”

This telecommunications industry research has integrated the Market Engineering consulting philosophy into the entire research process. Critical phases of this research included: identification of industry challenges, market engineering measurements, strategic recommendations, planning and market monitoring. All of the vital elements of this system help the market participants navigate successfully through the telecommunications market.

The technologies reviewed include signaling system #7, billing validation application (BVA), advanced intelligent network, automatic number identification (ANI), dedicated access, switched access, fiber optics, smart card technology, dialaround, voice activated calling cards, prepaid calling cards, and automated operator services

Market Participants include: Ace Telephone Association, Adams Telephone Co-Operative, Advanced Lightwave Communications, Inc., Albany Mutual Telephone Association, Aliant Communications Company, ALLTEL Corporation, Americall Enterprises, Inc., American Telesource International, Inc. (ATI), Ameritech Corporation, AMNEX, Inc., AT&T Corporation., Bell Atlantic Corporation, BellSouth Corporation, Benton Cooperative Telephone Company, Blackduck Telephone Company, Brooks Fiber Properties, C-TEC Corporation, Cable & Wireless, Inc., Cascade Operator Services, Inc. , Century Telephone Enterprises, Inc., Chautauqua Erie Telephone Corporation, Cincinnati Bell, Inc., Citizens Utilities Company., ClearTel Communications, Coastal Telephone Company, Coastal Utilities, Inc., Communications Services of Colorado, Concord Telephone Company, Consolidated Communications, Inc., ConQuest Telecommunications Services Corp., Crosslake Telephone and Cablevision Company, Davel Communications Group, Denver and Ephrata Telephone and Telegraph Company, East Otter Tail Telephone Company, Easton Telephone Company, Elcotel, Inc. , Equity Pay Telephone Company, Inc., Excel, Inc., Executive Telecard, Ltd., Fairbanks Municipal Utilities System, Farmers Telephone Company, Federated Telephone Cooperative, Fone America, Inc., Frontier Corporation., Garden Valley Telephone Company, GST Call America Business Communications, GST Telecommunications, Inc., GTE Corporation, Gulf Telephone Company, Hamilton Telecommunications Company, Hancock Rural Telephone Corporation, Hargray Telephone Company, Harmony Telephone Company, Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc., Hospitality Communications Corporation, Hutchinson Telephone Company, ILD Teleservices, Interstate Telecommunications, Inc., ITC Holding Company., Johnson Telephone Company, Kasson and Mantorville Telephone Company, Lakedale Telephone Company, LCI International, Link USA, Inc., Madelia Telephone Company, Mankato Citizens Telephone Company, MCI Communications Corporation, Network Operator Services, New Hope Telephone Cooperative, Inc., NTS Communications, Inc., NYNEX Corporation, Oasis Communications, Inc., ONCOR Communications, Operator Service Company., Opticom Operator Services, Pacific Telecom, Inc., Pantel Communications, Inc., Park Region Mutual Telephone Company, Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative, Peoples Telephone Company, Inc., Peoples Telephone Cooperative, Inc., Phoenix Network, Inc., Pine Belt Telephone Company, Inc., Polar Communications, Procom, Quest Group International, Inc., RL Telecommunications, Inc., Rock Hill Telephone Company, Roseville Communications Company, Runestone Telephone Association, SBC Communications, Inc. , Smart Choice Long Distance, Inc., SmarTalk Teleservices, Inc., SmarTel, Inc., Southern New England Telephone (SNET), Sprint Corporation, Standard Telephone Company, Start Technologies, Inc., TDS Telecom, Tel Advantage America, Inc., Tel Call Communications, Inc., TeleKey LLC, Telephone and Data Systems, Inc., Telephone Service Company, Teleport Communications Group., Teltrust, Inc., Toledo Telephone Company, TotalTel, Twin Valley-Ulen Telephone Company, U.S. Long Distance Corporation, U S WEST, Inc., Valley Telephone Company, Vartec Telecom, Inc., WATS International Corporation, WCS Long Distance, Westel Communications Services, Winthrop Telephone Company, Wolverton Telephone Company, World xChange Communications, World Telecom Group, Inc., and WorldCom, Inc.

Frost & Sullivan is an international marketing consulting company that monitors the environmental technologies industry for market trends, market measurements, and strategies. This ongoing research is utilized to update a series of research publications such as #2696-63, U.S. Call Center Service Markets, and to support industry participants with customized consulting needs.

Visit Frost & Sullivan’s web site at:

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Immediate Healthcare Payments

Health care claim processing is being taken to a new level this week as RealMed Corporation will announce this morning the launch of a new computerized claims resolution system that will provide on-the spot payment. The ‘RealMed’ network is the result of a joint effort between Gemplus, Digital Equipment and MCI. MCI will provide the communications network while Digital will be the hardware/software provider. Gemplus will provide smart cards for the network. RealMed’s smart cards will contain insurance and admissions information and will access the databases of insurers and banks to provide on-the-spot settlement. RealMed says the insurance industry spends $35 billion annually to process 3.7 billion health insurance claims and its new network will reduce costs by 30%-40%.

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