Ameritech focuses on info services – American Information Technologies Corp – News of the Week
Ann H. Lindstrom
Ameritech unveiled two new business ventures last week based on the information processing capabilities of the company’s network.
Ameritech Information Systems is developing a health care network for the state of Wisconsin, and Ameritech Mobile Communications has joined Mobile Electronic Tracking Systems to create a service based on vehicle locator technology.
Both services could eventually bring Ameritech hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, said William Weiss, chairman and CEO of the Bell regional holding company.
“I think you can see, perhaps, a changing philosophy here at Ameritech,’ he said. “You’re going to see us more and more searching the markets for what we can do well and trying to become a company that is driven by the market. This approach is absolutely mandatory.”
The Wisconsin Health Information Network, which will begin operation in the third quarter, is an integrated system that will allow Wisconsin health care providers and the companies they work with to send and receive patient information through a single on-site access device integrated with a facility’s existing network and equipment such as personal computers, facsimile machines, telephones and dumb terminals.
Members of the regional health care network will be able to reduce the cost of the care they provide because necessary information will follow patients from the hospital to the physician, employer or insurance company, according to Gail Gulinson, general manager of health care for Ameritech.
“The system allows the hospital and physicians to take advantage of all of the hospital’s in-house systems,” she noted. “It’s not enough to just link physicians to the hospitals.”
Ameritech aims to connect five Milwaukee area hospitals and 500 physicians in the first year.
Possible revenues from systems such as WHIN could equal $10 million to $12 million annually after the first five years, said Weiss.
The second business venture, MobileVision, consists of multiple antenna towers located throughout a coverage area-the Chicago metropolitan area at first-which will be tied to a network center and transceivers in customers’ vehicles using circuits and frequencies in the 900MHz range.
Motorists will be able to use the service to call for roadside assistance without leaving their vehicles or telling anyone where they are. The system also can be used to help authorities track a stolen vehicle or as a fleet management tool for fleet service operators. MobileVision will be available in the fourth quarter.
In addition to introducing the new services, Weiss outlined other information service and wireless ventures of interest to the company. Ameritech will continue to look toward the Eastern bloc nations for cellular opportunities, as well as the Pacific Rim and South America, he said. The company is bidding to construct a cellular system in Hong Kong and also is considering a joint cellular venture in Brazil with Motorola.
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