Noblestar and Sonera zed develop the first fully customizable wireless community in the U.S.
Next Generation of Spontaneous Wireless Interaction CreatedMedia Contact:
Hill & Knowlton
Reston, VA, November 1, 2000 - Noblestar, the company that elegantly engineers successful digital businesses, has completed the initial phase of a strategic engagement for Sonera zed to develop an innovative new wireless community, allowing consumers to interact via WAP-enabled digital phones and handheld devices. zed TM, a subsidiary of Sonera Corporation (NASDAQ: SNRA) and a pioneer in developing personalized intelligent services for wireless devices, will deploy the new application to European and U.S. wireless operators. This initiative is considered among the largest wireless end-to-end projects in the U.S. to date. It is also one of the first large-scale wireless applications developed in the U.S. that will be launched in Europe.
The wireless community will be accessible through zeds wireless portal, which is available on Internet-enabled phones. For the first time, consumers can create personalized, interactive communities based on common interests and supported by message forums, interactive chats, and an event calendar. Online communities, which have fueled much of the Internets growth and mass acceptance, are driven by consumer demand for instant messaging and access to just-in-time information. With this latest technology, consumers will be able to receive real time information about topics that are important to them and instantly exchange information with others who share those interests - all untethered.
Following are examples of how this wireless community can be used as a lifestyle tool:
* Players in a golf tournament can establish a private community that allows them to instantly engage in digital conversations with colleagues playing on the course. Once they have established their community, they can receive updates on scores and tips on playing different holes, as well as share anecdotes about humorous or noteworthy golf shots.
* On any given weekend, teens participate in a myriad of academic, arts and athletic activities that have them competing against other schools. Students, coaches, advisors, and families will be able to fuel school spirit by tapping into up-to-the-minute results, standings, and individual performance breakthroughs.
* Someone closely following the 2000 Presidential election can use zeds wireless community to participate in a public community, enabling him or her to receive breaking news about candidates or voting results and then launch into a debate with others while watching the election saga unfold.
zed is at the forefront of the wireless revolution, with a clear understanding that industry dominance will be achieved by those mobile operators that provide consumers with value-added solutions, not technology systems, said Paul Opalack, Noblestar CEO and founder. Based on this understanding, Noblestar created this solution as a key part of zeds ambitious strategy to provide the best value-added elements for mobile operators and their customers. This offering goes further than anything on the market today.
This compelling wireless solution will help U.S. and European wireless operators create unprecedented lifestyle solutions for their customers, said Paul Hughes, COO for Sonera zed u.s., inc. While partnering with Noblestar to deliver a unique service for todays consumer, we have also created a foundation upon which we can rapidly build and deliver additional innovative services as wireless technologies and mobile device capabilities evolve.
Noblestar engineered the solution so that users can access the service through their PCs, wireless handsets, or PDAs to create and participate in communities based on common interests. Once a community is defined, users can choose the interactive features they want, including message forums, real time chats, a calendar of community-related dates, and many more features novel to zeds wireless community. Members can fully customize their online experience by creating and controlling their own communities. The entire set of communities will expand and grow spontaneously with the interests and imaginations of end-users. The solution contains integrated back-end architecture, built with the latest XML and XSL technologies, and is accessible from an Internet-enabled digital phone, a wireless PDA, or a Web browser on a PC. Untethered users with these devices can reach the system using a WAP browser or SMS-capable devices. While this first generation will create a groundswell of consumer-oriented interactive communities, we fully expect to see this innovative solution add significant value in the business-to-business environment as well, adds Mr. Opalack.
Noblestar was referred to Sonera zed by McKinsey & Company, after we requested a comprehensive review of the leading Internet professional services firms with wireless expertise, said Mr. Hughes. Noblestar demonstrated early market leadership in architecting and delivering mobile and wireless business solutions, based on more than 30 completed engagements in the U.S. and Europe.
Sonera zed will roll out the service in Europe later this year, followed by a launch in the U.S. during the first quarter in 2001.
Pioneering cutting-edge technologies for more than a dozen years, Noblestar elegantly engineers successful digital businesses today to power the classic businesses of tomorrow. Noblestar has earned a reputation among industry leaders for delivering high impact, complex solutions in rapid timeframes for Global 1000 companies. Noblestar recently launched its Wireless Accelerator, a community of wireless experts who focus on innovation, development, awareness, and education, as well as develop next-generation technologies that Noblestar can apply to its clients eBusiness strategies. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Noblestar has 460 employees in 10 locations around the world, including Amsterdam, Austin, Boston, Houston, London, New York City, Parsippany, San Francisco, and Warsaw. Information about Noblestar can be found at http://www.noblestar.com
About zed TM
zed is a global pioneer in personalized intelligent services for wireless devices combining the best features of mobile communications and the Internet. zed was conceived, designed and built to support and promote true mobility in both consumer and corporate environments. The range of zed services turns the wireless device into a communications, information and mobile commerce tool. Currently zed services are available in WAP and SMS environments, with the ability to expand the services into future technologies, GPRS and UMTS. At the end of June 2000, zed had over 700,000 monthly users out of Soneras 2.2 million GSM customers in Finland. Of these active zed customers, 30% had registered at zeds Finnish website in order to personalize their services. Sonera zed ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonera Corporation (HEX: SRA; NASDAQ: SNRA, www.sonera.com). zeds US headquarters are in Boston, MA, with global headquarters in the UK. More information on zed can be found at http://www.zed.com.