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Thursday, Feb 06, 2003

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Wire-free networking at Café Coffee Day

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IMAGINE walking into a coffee parlour for a cup of coffee, getting a laptop at your table and plugging into the Internet to check your e-mail— all without tripping over cables!

It is now possible at the first "Wifi" (Wire-free Internet) café in the country, which came into being at Bangalore's Lavelle Road Café Coffee Day outlet today. The café was chosen as a demo site for technology start-up Ittiam's wireless LAN IP products.

A wireless environment is the latest buzzword in the technology world, where users can log onto the Internet from a device that is networked, but not through wires. In other words, once customers step into the parlour, they can log onto from devices such as a laptop, or a mobile phone that they carry around.

For Ittiam, which launched its wireless Lan IP, the site is an advertisement of what wireless LAN can do. One of the potential markets for the technology is in "public wireless cyber spots" such as cafes and airports.

Café Coffee Day plans to turn this into an additional source of income and plans to tie up with partners soon. The company expects to have a revenue generating plan ready later this month, said Ms Sudipta Mukherjee, Head, Marketing, Café Coffee Day.

The Lavelle Road outlet has been chosen because of the tech-savvy college-goers who frequent the place and a number of offices in the area, she said. Later, the concept may be extended to other cafes too.

The chain was also the first to launch a cyber café in the country a few years back, offering customers the option to browse the Internet at the PCs provided alongside.

Today, the chain has almost completely moved out of Internet cafes - except for the oldest one in Bangalore's Brigade Road and one in Delhi airport. "Internet cafes have become very common now," explained Ms Mukherjee.

Incidentally, Ittiam's largest institutional investor is Global Televentures, promoted by Mr V.G. Siddharth, who is also the promoter of Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Ltd (parent company of Café Coffee Day).

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