Starwood, Sprint and Cisco Kick-off Deployment of Video-on- Demand Over a Converged IP Network
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 25, 2002 - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), Sprint (NYSE: FON, PCS) and Cisco Systems (NYSE: CSCO) today announced the deployment of Sprint InSiteSM with KoolConnect Interactive Media over a Cisco converged IP network at two of Starwood's Westin properties.
The Westin San Francisco Airport is the first property in the nation to begin deployment of Sprint InSite - a service that provides advanced guest solutions and in-room entertainment - over Cisco's Long-Reach Ethernet (LRE), the first technology to enable simultaneous delivery of voice, video and data over existing telephone wire. The company will also begin deployment of Sprint InSite over Category 5 wiring at The Westin Fort Lauderdale.
"We chose to work with Sprint and Cisco because they are industry leaders in providing integrated solutions and they understand the important role technology plays in the hospitality market, from offering value-added services to improving our operations, all of which will positively impact our guest experience," said Carl Cohen, Starwood vice president of broadband business.
This announcement is the latest result of two recently formed strategic relationships. Sprint and Cisco announced an alliance in December 2001, whereby the two companies are jointly working to sell IP-based broadband solutions as well as exploring other emerging technology opportunities.
In addition, Starwood and Cisco entered into a strategic relationship in March of 2001 to introduce broadband technology in Starwood hotels. Starwood also became a member of the Cisco Mobile Office: On the Road program, a global initiative promoting secure high-speed access in public spaces for mobile professionals.
"The net benefit for Starwood is that our relationship with both Cisco and Sprint has been enhanced to the degree that we have had an influence on developing the right network applications for our hotels," Cohen said.
"Together we are engaging our respective resources to integrate advanced applications over Cisco converged IP networks in an effort to drive revenue, integrate backend operations, and reduce deployment and management costs," said Shah Talukder, director of technology marketing, mobility, Cisco Systems.
Sprint InSite offers a suite of guest applications, including entertainment, high-speed Internet access, music and games, digital movies-on-demand with VCR functionality, and online concierge services. The service is operated through the hotel guest's television via wireless keyboard or remote control.
Cisco's LRE broadband networking solution enables simultaneous delivery of numerous voice, video and data applications such as high-speed Internet access, video on demand, and IP telephony. It is the first platform that offers intelligent Quality of Service (QoS), rate-limiting, advanced security and multicast services. Additionally, LRE provides performance of 5-15 Megabits per second (Mbps) full duplex over existing Category 1/2/3 wiring to distances of up to 5,000 feet, eliminating the cost and time required to rewire a hotel.
"This powerful combination of technology, a converged IP network and new applications will increase revenue opportunities, improve guest satisfaction and hotel operations," Cohen said. "It will help Starwood to differentiate Westin as the brand designed for today's contemporary travelers who care about maximizing their comfort. Offering this advanced solution reinforces Westin as a technological innovator, a major part of the brand positioning."
Sprint InSite has been specially designed for each hotel, allowing both The Westin Fort Lauderdale and The Westin San Francisco Airport to offer a consistent Westin brand that can be customized based on the property and individual guest.
"Starwood is looking to stay at the forefront of the hospitality industry in providing advanced solutions and services for their customers," said Thomas Patchin, Sprint director of hospitality sales. "Because it's so flexible, Sprint InSite will enable both properties to introduce new technology into the guest room as it develops, allowing Starwood to continually offer guests the newest products and services."
Editor's Note:Full duplex is defined as simultaneous data transmission between a sending and receiving station.
About Cisco SystemsCisco Systems, Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Information on Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com.
About KoolConnectKoolConnect Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of compelling multi-media solutions and system integration to the Hospitality Industry. KoolConnect provides advanced interactive services delivered over digital IP networks. Their products offer comprehensive and scalable turnkey solutions that provide entertainment, information, and targeted marketing services. Through a customized interface, KoolConnect delivers, high quality digital Video On Demand (VOD) with VCR functionality, High Speed Internet Access, concierge services and hotel information. Technical expertise coupled with a thorough understanding of the hospitality industry places KoolConnect at the forefront of application development to help hotel operators better serve their guests.
About SprintSprint is a global communications company serving more than 26 million business and residential customers in over 70 countries. With approximately 80,000 employees worldwide and more than $26 billion in annual revenues, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state of the art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Sprint's award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone is being extended to key global markets to provide customers with a broad portfolio of scalable IP products. Sprint's high-capacity, high-speed network gives customers fast, dependable, nonstop access to the vast majority of the world's Internet content. Sprint also operates the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide PCS wireless network in the United States, already serving the majority of the nation's metropolitan areas, including more than 4,000 cities and communities.
About Starwood Hotels & ResortsStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 740 properties in more than 80 countries and 110,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchiser of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwood.com.
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