COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

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Issue Date: April 2008

NCSolutions, Microsoft SA launch mobile data Internet Café initiative

24 April 2008

NCSolutions in partnership with Microsoft has introduced MicroCafé, an exciting mobile Internet Café all-in-one solution built on NComputing's X300 multi-user technology that delivers the functionality of up to seven virtualised PCs using a single PC.
The MicroCafé all-in-one solution, which also includes Microsoft's iCafé software and broadband connectivity with a cellular provider, provides a sustainable business opportunity to up-and-coming entrepreneurs while also exposing online connectivity to the under-serviced areas of the country.
The MicroCafé is available as two options: an undercover Internet kiosk for shopping centres, conferencing venues, business parks, public areas and so forth; and a fully mobile and weatherproof trailer that can be easily transported anywhere, from outdoor sporting events to rural areas.
"With the MicroCafé's, we are hoping to reach out to those users that do not have easy access to Internet services. Not only do the MicroCafé's provide an excellent sustainable business opportunity but they also serve as educational tools, enabling users to familiarise themselves with technology and its many benefits," says Sean Owen-Jones, managing director at NCSolutions.
Both MicroCafé options feature NComputings X300 terminals for multiple users and Microsoft's iCafé software that includes the Windows XP operating system (OS) Office 2007 Professional (PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Publisher) as well as the development software Visual Studio. This software delivers a licensing option that makes the MicroCafé affordable for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
"With the MicroCafé mobile Internet kiosks and trailers, we hope to bridge the skills gap; by incorporating Visual Studio, for example, we are providing a solution that will allow people to start developing from a young age," says Colin Erasmus, client business group executive at Microsoft SA.
Additionally, Microsoft is bundling an eLearning solution which offers basic to advanced learning as well as basic certification which can be printed out at any MicroCafé.
The MicroCafé's value proposition is unbeatable and allows users access to the latest software applications and tools all at the same time using one PC as a server for seven users. Our entry into this market marks a new and affordable solution that allows for the next 10 million users to have easy and affordable internet access. Furthermore, the monitors of each terminal can also accept TV broadcasts. Adds Owen-Jones, "Just imagine the opportunities the offering of a TV/Video on demand service as well as Internet connectivity delivers for 2010"
Business owners as well as users will also find the MicroCafé billing process relatively straightforward and easy to use. "Users log-in with their prepaid cellular coupons that will be available for purchase at the many MicroCafé's around the country. This will also work with contract users too. This adds another level of convenience and usability to the MicroCafé, not to mention the security benefit of not having to handle cash." explains Owen-Jones.
"In addition, MicroCafé owners will be provided with a full billing system that includes remote access." For example, the MicroCafé manager can manage the billing at the kiosk or trailer, or log into the billing system remotely to monitor usage.
NCSolutions' MicroCafé is available immediately from as little as R950 per month or leased via financial partner RentWorx. In addition, the MicroCafé's can be co-branded - featuring a specific retailer, service provider or areas' logo and so forth.


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