Five Star Web Access
Seamless Internet arrives for Hotel bedrooms


12 June 1997
Revealed today are details of the the successful deployment of Internet services for hotel guests, supplied into their bedrooms. Using Apple's Pippin Technology and the Thorn supplied Guestlink Interactive Hotel TV system, Thorn, Apple Computer, Katz Media and MAID acting as agents for 4th Communications Network in Europe, are collaborating on the development of an integrated Internet access system that delivers a rich Internet experience, but requires no additional equipment to be installed within the hotel bedroom.

The guest can view Internet pages directly on their in-room TV set using the standard TV remote control to browse the Internet. Control and access equipment is installed in the hotels' computer room to simplify maintenance and protect against theft or damage.

Major advantages of this system are:

* Pippin is lower cost than an in-room PC and integrates directly into the TV system

* Pippin is more universal than a Network Computer and so can support a wider range of Internet media, providing a more engaging environment without limiting the user to specific Internet sites

* Pippin has proved to be more robust than other products in this application

* The equipment is not based in the hotel room, making maintenance and security much easier

* The system is integrated into the Guestlink Interactive Hotel TV System for single point billing

* The system doesn't tie up the room telephone line or require additional cabling or services

* The scalable nature of the system ensures that the installation is always cost-effective and can be easily extended to meet peak requirements

Billing for Internet access is handled by the same Guestlink Interactive Hotel TV System as other in-room systems such as the video channels, so the guest receives a single bill at the end of their stay. This unique system can be made available to every room within the hotel. Its inherent scalability ensures that as peak demand for Internet access grows

additional equipment can be added easily, without disruption of services.

Apple's Pippin Technology, manufactured in Ireland by Katz Media, provides robust Internet services, including text, graphics, animation, video and sound utilising Internet standard formats. The system will be extended shortly to enable electronic mail using an optional infrared keyboard. Guestlink Interactive Hotel TV system manages connection of an in-room TV to an available Pippin on request, confirms and logs billing to the room

account and switches video and sound from the Pippin to the TV. The Pippin systems connect to the Internet through an Apple AWS7250 server.

The Internet access for the Guestlink Interactive Hotel TV system has been installed in some ten European Hotels including the Grosvenor House Hotel, the Intercontinental Hotel Mayfair in London and the Sheraton Palace Hotel in Milan. It is expected that a further 20 hotels will take the service in the coming months with the number of rooms extending to some 100,000 across Europe over time.

Steve Everhard, European Business Development Manager for Apple's Information Appliances Group said, "Internet access through the Guestlink system is a fantastic achievement. The system is built around a familiar environment for the guest - the TV - and adds considerably to the range of services now available to hotel guests. Pippin and the MacOS have demonstrated their unique robustness and flexibility in this application."

Alistair Forbes, Director of European Business Development, Thorn Europe said, "Thorn provide in-room entertainment services to almost every international hotelier across Europe. Internet services has been one of our many plans to develop our in-room offering to guests using the Guestlink platform. We are delighted to work with such a talented group of companies to deliver this system."

About Thorn

Headquartered in Reading, Thorn's specialist business division is one of the largest suppliers of screen based solutions - notably the leading-edge Guestlink Interactive Hotel Television System. It serves commercial and institutional customers across Europe where it is the leading hotel in-room technology supplier, providing full service support. It is also a supplier of Videoconferencing and information distribution systems for customers and employees. The business division of Thorn is part of Thorn Europe which comprises a range of business services including major brands such as Radio Rentals and Crazy George's. Thorn Europe employs over 9,500 staff

Guestlink delivers a complete interactive hotel TV system allowing for a wide range of services and entertainment. Guestlink includes all the usual hotel management functions plus a range of interactive services. Internet access can be added to any existing Guestlink installation. Thorn's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.hospitalitynet.nl/thorn/index.htm

About Apple Computer

Apple Computer, Inc., a recognised innovator in the information industry and leader in multimedia technologies, creates powerful solutions based on easy-to-use personal computers, servers, peripherals, software, personal digital assistants and Internet content. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple develops, manufactures, licenses and markets solutions, products, technologies and services for business, education, consumer, entertainment, scientific and engineering and government customers in more than 140 countries.

Apple UK's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.euro.apple.com/uk

Apple's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.apple.com

About Katz Media

Headquartered in Paris France, Katz Media manufactures, distributes, and sells multimedia appliances, titles, and services. Katz Media currently ships the KMP 2000, an Internet and multimedia appliance based upon Apple's Pippin technology that delivers a robust multimedia experience via the television. Katz Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of Katz Media Holding Ltd. based in Ireland.

About Fourth Communications Network (4th Network)

4th Network, of San Jose, California, is funded by investors including Softbank, which is parent company to PC Week, and PC Week Online publisher Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. 4th Network is the world's most advanced specialist Internet service provider to the hotel and leisure industries with patented in-room Internet distribution technology, global advertising placement technology and a portfolio of business traveller services, including mobile email and corporate Intranet access. Additionally 4th Network has established partnerships with Internet leaders including Yahoo, E*Trade, Hotmail and Hughes and has attracted investment from Softbank and Mitsui & Co. Ltd.

4th's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.4thnet.com

About M.A.I.D.

Based in London, M.A.I.D is a leading supplier of online business intelligence services to business professionals worldwide. Established in 1985 M.A.I.D was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1994 and gained a NASDAQ listing in 1995.

M.A.I.D's home page on the World Wide Web: http://www.maid.com


For further information contact:
For Apple:
David Millar
Public Relations Manager
Apple Computer UK
Tel: 0181 730 2486
Email: millar.d@euro.apple.com

Judy Wilks
Bite Communications
Tel: 0181 741 1123
Email: judyw@bitecomm.co.uk
For Katz
Joan Spottswood
Marketing Communications Manager
Katz Media
Tel: (33) 1 46 10 94 91

For Thorn
Anne Moir
Thorn Europe
Tel: 0118 930 9375
Mobile: 0421 302818
For M.A.I.D
Sara Parker
M.A.I.D plc
Tel: 0171 930 6900
For 4th Communications Network
Scott Harmon
4th Communications
Tel: (1) 408 467 6200