Compaq expands net services initiative

Recognizing the growing importance of the Internet and electronic transactions in day-to-day business, Compaq Computer Corp. last week announced a new offering of network consulting and integration services.

The Compaq Next Generation Network forms the basis of the company's vision for businesses connected and functioning through the Internet. It is an extension of Compaq's services division and is aimed a helping federal agencies and corporations put in place a network that can adapt to changing needs and technologies, said Patrick Smyth, vice president of marketing for Internet and Network Infrastructure, Compaq Services.

"This is very much focused on the notion that the Internet is running through the business enterprise of the future," Smyth said.

Compaq's NGN is made up of four areas: Internet network services, network transport, management and security. These areas are integrated layers within an organization's network in which Compaq has developed an expertise after working with customers to discover their greatest need, said Ted McKie, director of business development for Internet and Network Infrastructure, Compaq Services.

Through the NGN, Compaq will provide a broad range of planning and consulting services for senior information technology personnel and chief information officers through workshops, focusing on the basic issues and challenges new Internet-based businesses undergo.

Several partners have joined the Compaq services group, including Nortel Networks, VocalTec Communications Ltd. and PictureTel Corp. for networking, conferencing and voice- and picture-over-Internet Protocol services; Entrust Technologies Inc. for security services such as certificates and public-key infrastructure; and Tivoli Systems Inc. and BMC Software Inc. for enterprise management and storage.

The ability of clients to choose among these and other Compaq partner products and offerings is a major benefit, McKie said. "We want to be able to offer the best of the best," he said.

Compaq Services has worked with several agencies to advance the development of electronic services, including the U.S. Postal Service's Post Office Online. The World Wide Web site (www.postofficeonline.com) provides postal services for small and medium businesses through the Internet rather than a physical office.

One of the largest network implementations is at the Veterans Health Administration's Veterans Integrated Services Network 16 out of Jackson, Miss. The new Veterans Health Information System and Technical Architecture covers hospitals and services in eight states and has been adding new functions for physicians to access and share patient information across that network.

Beyond updating the underlying system, VISN 16 is adding electronic imaging capabilities to include images with the patient records, extending the bandwidth to the wide-area networks, including videoconferencing and considering the security concerns for Web-based access to patient information. "There's a whole lot of things that have been waiting in the wings for the infrastructure to be in place," said Dr. Eric Undesser, chief information officer for VISN 16.

The NGN initiative is starting off with the development of what Compaq is calling the Next Generation Network Infrastructure. Over the next few months, Phase Two will start, and the company will announce targeted solutions for several client areas, including government, finance, telecommunications and Internet service providers. At the end of the year, Compaq will roll out the solutions for small, medium and home offices and the consumer market.

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