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Friday February 16, 2007

Going online for sweet meat


TECHNOLOGY is helping bak kwa (dried sweet barbecued pork) sales in the heart of Chinatown zip right along, despite massive queues as Chinese New Year nears.  

The Bee Cheng Hiang store in Pagoda Street, which gets some 2,000 customers a week as the festive season reaches its height, has cut waiting time by hopping on the back of the Wireless@SG initiative – an islandwide wireless network that allows people to go online in public places.  

The store uses the network to offer wireless order-taking and payment.  

Customers in the queue have their orders taken by a store assistant brandishing a laptop, and these are sent wirelessly to packing staff, who get the meat packed and ready for pick-up in a matter of minutes.  

The packages are then delivered to the customer, who can opt to pay via a wireless Nets terminal.  

Bee Cheng Hiang showcases one facet of an effort by the Infocomm Development Authority to highlight the potential of Wireless@SG to take businesses here to a new level of efficiency and flexibility.  

The network, which now has 1,300 hot spots, up from 600 when it was launched  

two months ago, had initially focused  

on consumers using the service to access websites or send instant messages using their laptop computers or Wi-Fi-enabled devices.  

Now, businesses are warming to the idea in a bid to provide value-added services. The Nets tie-up is just one such possibility. – The Straits Times / Asia News Network  

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