Network briefs: AOL, Web kiosks, Video conferencing

Network briefs: AOL, Web kiosks, Video conferencing

AOL wields axe

AOL Australia Online Services has slashed 10 per cent of its staff, equivalent to 20 jobs, as the company refocuses on core growth areas. According to an internal memo issued to AOL staff, the company decided to cut 20 business support staff in order to "remain focused on those business initiatives that contribute most to the growth of [the] business". Amanda Lacaze, the newly appointed CEO of AOL Australia, would not identify what areas of the business would be targeted during the reorganisation. In addition, a source close to AOL revealed that the company's call centre positions were made redundant last week, with staff given the option of re-applying for renamed positions.

Tassie touts broadband

Telstra has announced the installation of 20 multimedia kiosks in Launceston that will offer broadband access to the Web. The kiosks allow for the sending of e-mail, as well as enhanced image and video files, and will be used as guides for local entertainment and restaurants. They are equipped with a card reader and keypad to potentially be used for the payment of bills or online purchases. The kiosks are a result of B-eLab, Telstra's "broadband laboratory", as part of the Launceston Broadband project funded by Telstra and the Federal Government. Other initiatives under this project include the provision of high-speed Internet services to the homes and businesses of Launceston.

Videoconferencing not used to replace travelDespite the increased publicity afforded to videoconferencing (VC) equipment manufacturers by the events of September 11, new research claims companies are not flocking to the medium as a way to avoid air travel.

According to research by analyst the Meta Group, despite 80 per cent of global firms having VC systems, few have a formal mandate to use VC as a travel replacement. The inhibitors to sustained VC usage remain interoperability, culture and ease of use, according to the Meta Group.

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