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This article by Richard K. Rein was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

July 22, 1998. All rights reserved.

Wizard in a Wall

All across budget-minded corporate America cheerful,

helpful receptionists have been replaced by shrill buzzers, keyless

entry systems, and wall phones with stern instructions. Glenn Paul,

the computer retailer (Clancy-Paul) and software developer


and Win Straube, founder of the technology-minded Straube Center


complex in Pennington, think they have a way to bring back some of

the receptionist’s traditional helpfulness — at a fraction of

the cost.

The idea: an electronic concierge consisting of a wall-mounted,


personal computer that is accessed from a flat panel touch screen

and an accompanying software package that provides tenant information

in an office building and links visitors to pre-selected Internet

sites to provide additional information.

"The electronic concierge allows a visitor to a building to find

directions to a company’s offices, watch a brief audio-visual


about that company, or dial the company’s phone," says Paul.


Office Concierge also includes a proprietary Internet browser that

lets visitors peruse a tenant’s web site without using the machine

for extensive Internet access to other sites. A camera also allows

tenants to `see’ their visitors over the Internet before admitting

the visitor to their premises."

The best thing, says Paul, is that the electronic concierge provides

a valuable service at a fraction of the receptionist’s cost.


report that the most hated job in the U.S. economy (and one of the

most difficult jobs to fill) is the position of receptionist,"

Paul says. Building owners can solve the problem of providing


about their tenants by leasing the concierge system — hardware

and software — for just $160 per month. Or it can be purchased

outright for around $5,000 — about two months worth of salary

and benefits for the average receptionist.

The electronic concierge provides consistent, accurate information

about tenants’ companies. For building owners, the concierge lowers

operating costs, and can even act as rental agent by providing


about space available in the building.

Touch screen computers have been around for years, Paul notes, but

their bulky shape has largely consigned them to uses in kiosks and

other elaborate settings. Now flat screen technology permits their

installation in what Paul is marketing as the "Vertical PC,"

which "can provide a streamlined and secure alternative to


refrigerator-sized kiosks," he says. It can be mounted onto a

wall or even recessed in a wall: Its 14-inch width mounts neatly


two average wall studs.

As tenants change in a building, the building manager

can change the names and web addresses associated with each space,

which are then reflected in the directory and maps of the building.

Alternatively, building owners can contract with a dealer or with

Electronic Business Universe, Paul’s and Straube’s company, to


their electronic concierge.

The Vertical PC is totally configurable for custom applications. It

comes complete with Pentium I or II Processors, stereo speakers,


access, and the usual complements of RAM, hard drive, serial ports,

and up to three expansion slots. The Vertical PC can be equipped with

12, 14, or 17-inch color screens.

The final product, says Paul, is about a month away. But visitors

to the U.S. 1 Computer Showcase on Thursday, July 23, can get a sneak

preview and chat with its developers, Paul and Straube. For more

information on Electronic Business Universe call QwikQuote at


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