Writing samples: Chris Whitside
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Mobile Meridex … e-commerce anytime and anywhere
Our mission at Meridex is to make e-commerce as simple as email. And since you can share email with virtually any wireless computing device, why not e-business?
Mobile Meridex makes the power and affordability of the Meridex Network available to virtually any computing device with a wireless modem including portable computers, PDA's (Personal Digital Assistants) and even digital telephones.
If information is power, then what could be more powerful in the hands of your employees and customers than real time access to the information you know they need. Employees can add new stock to your inventory. You can change prices. Your customers can browse your online catalog and place orders. All of this can be done in real time with Mobile Meridex … anytime and from any location served by a digital wireless network.
Meridex provides a centralized repository, easily accessed through the Internet, for your company's corporate data i.e. inventory and other business information. With Mobile Meridex, all of that data can now be accessed by both your office workers and your mobile employees, creating many new opportunities to serve and interact with customers more effectively.
Mobile Meridex provides virtually the same access to the Meridex Network as users enjoy with a regular computer and Internet connection. All that's required is a digital computer with a wireless modem, or any other digital wireless device running Windows CE.
Mobile Meridex gives you some incredible advantages;
" Your sales people can access your inventory and place orders from anywhere.
" Your customers can access your catalogues and place orders from anywhere.
" You can review and manage your inventory from anywhere.
" You can access your supplier's catalogues and place orders from anywhere.
" You can respond to inquiries from anywhere.
" And much more. Anything you can do your regular computer, can be done with Mobile Meridex.
Regardless of whether you are wired or wireless, you are always accessing the same database on the Meridex Network, which eliminates the problem of constantly synchronising data in multiple locations.
As well, records of all your wireless transactions and communication are archived so you can review them at any time, just as you would your normal Meridex communication.
Inventory and other data is safe too because all processing is done at our central server behind the Meridex firewall. The same security system with stringent password and identification controls is in place for both mobile and desktop access.
I managed communications for TELUS's internal Anti-Virus campaign. Among other things, this involved writing Intranet bulletins and how-to instructions for upgrading desktop virus protection.
No e-mail and no dial-in access
New Year's virus quarantine
There will be no e-mail, coming or going from TELUS, for at least eight hours over New Year's. From 10pm MST (9pm PST) on December 31, 1999 until 6am MST (5am PSTam) on January 1, 2000, all e-mail will be quarantined. In addition, during the same time period, there will be no dial-in access to the TELUS Intranet.
These measures are necessary due to the extreme risk of computer viruses - in particular, the so-called Millennial Viruses. The quarantine period will give anti-virus experts time to clean any new viruses found in the e-mail. If more time is required for virus clean up, the quarantine may be extended- perhaps affecting large numbers of employees returning to work on January 3. Once the danger has passed, e-mail will again be distributed normally.
Quarantined e-mail will not be "bounced" by TELUS, which means e-mail will not be returned to senders with a message saying it was undeliverable since that could create the impression TELUS was experiencing problems. This will have implications for business units receiving e-mail from customers and others who may be expecting a quick response.
This quarantine will affect TELUS operations in BC, Alberta and Eastern Canada. Exceptions are being made for areas such as the Emergency Operations Centre and the Emergency Control Centre in B.C. E-mail within TELUS will not be quarantined, including e-mail between business units such as Mobility and Advanced Communications.
The shutdown of dial-in access will mainly affect Year 2000 application teams who were planning on doing post-rollover verification via dial-in.
From TELUS employee newspaper "Voice"
Geomatics launches InterFleet Automated Vehicle Location
Hey! Wanna see something cool on the Internet? Go to www.whereismybus.com. What you'll see there is a street map of Saskatoon around the University of Saskatchewan. Notice the little flashing arrows moving up and down the streets? Those are buses being tracked in real time by satellite. Their positions are transmitted by cellular radio to an office where they are automatically plotted on an Internet street map. Transit riders with access to the Internet can then see where their bus is and how long they have to wait. The system is called InterFleet Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) and TELUS Geomatics has just begun selling it in Alberta & BC.
"Right now it's being used to track ambulances belonging to the Parkland Ambulance Authority near Edmonton," said Geomatics marketing manager, Rob Thomas. "We're introducing InterFleet first to customers with emergency vehicle fleets and then to commercial fleets. Simply by viewing a map over the Internet, dispatchers can see where their vehicles are at any moment."
The system, developed by Grey Island Systems Inc. of Calgary, employs three advanced technologies. - GPS (Global Positioning Satellite receivers that calculate their position from signals transmitted by U.S. Department of Defense satellites), CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) wireless transmission and Internet mapping. Four areas within TELUS are cooperating to provide the InterFleet service. The cellular network is provided by TELUS Mobility, the necessary hardware is installed by the Wireless & Network Repair group (for the Edmonton area), TELUS Advanced Communications can provide the Internet services, and TELUS Geomatics provides the digital mapping data as well as marketing and sales.
The partnership with InterFleet is a natural for TELUS Geomatics since it's principal business is based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). About 27 employees, located in Edmonton's TELUS Plaza, are involved with creating maps (both paper and digital) to display demographics, asset inventory and other data. For example, Geomatics can plot store locations on maps that also display the demographic information of area residents. With a visual display of their stores, and those of their competitors, business operators can then make better decisions about their retail locations and marketing campaigns.
Similarly, Geomatics' maps are used for construction planning, land use planning, asset management and other applications - both government and commercial.
"We're really excited about the new InterFleet service because we're now able to track moving vehicles in real time," adds Thomas. "The applications for fleet operators are pretty obvious. InterFleet can improve safety, the efficiency of dispatch and the accuracy of specific arrival times. Plus, we can customize the system by adding features such as status switches, acceptance of work orders and other communications."
The Interfleet system does more than track the real-time location, speed and direction of a vehicle. Historical tracking allows subscribers to see where a vehicle was at any time. In addition, two-way communication enables dispatchers to send information to the vehicle. For instance, a shutdown command could lock vehicle doors and stop the motor - better than just "finding" a stolen vehicle.
Other applications being explored include personnel tracking (miniature units for people on patrol) and integration of TELUS's E-911 service into the InterFleet service on emergency dispatchers' systems.
The TELUS Geomatics web site is at www.telus.com/geomatics.
From TELUS employee newspaper "Voice"
Mobility adds online shopping to web site
BC TEL Mobility swept out the cobwebs, splashed on a new coat of paint and added an Online Store to its Web site. The result is bright, lively and focused on customer service.
"Now, customers can buy a Mobility-out-of-the-Box phone or pager from us on the Internet," says Richard Ostler, BC TEL Mobility media relations/public affairs manager. "And this is just the beginning. We have more Web site enhancements coming soon."
Customers will indeed find the site easier to navigate. From the front page, there are links to each of Mobility's product lines including cellular/Digital PCS, Paging, Wireless Data and Autotel/Satellite. The site also includes information about Year 2000, special promotions, and careers with BC TEL Mobility.
Check it out! Either www.bctelmobility.com or www.bctm.com will take you there.
Wireless point-of-sale terminal allows card transactions anywhere
The next time a pizza is delivered to your door, you may not have to scramble for loose change on your dresser. Thanks to a new Vancouver pilot project by BC TEL Mobility, Vancouver City Savings Credit Union and Panagopoulos Pizza, you can pay the pizza delivery person by credit card.
Delivery people will carry a new wireless point-of-sale terminal to the door, allowing customers to swipe their credit cards just as they would in most stores. The hand-held units, a first in western Canada, were showcased by BC TELECOM at last week's Vancouver Comdex show.
"Wireless point-of-sale will be a boon to any business that is mobile or wants to conduct business closer to their customers," says Fred Cook, senior manager of technology for VanCity. "Taxis, buses, retailers and a range of delivery companies can greatly enhance their customer service with point-of-sale transactions."
The mobile hand-held unit uses BC TEL Mobility's wireless data network and specialized software from Richmond-based Soft Tracks to connect with the financial institution's database. All credit card transactions are fast, reliable and secure. BC TEL Mobility's wireless data network (Cellular Digital Packet Data network) enables very quick transactions and has top-level security to prevent unauthorized access.
"Wireless data is the greatest leap forward since the cellular phone," says Ted Lattimore, vice-president of Marketing for BC TEL Mobility. "It has revolutionized the way businesses can serve their customers."