Michael Pompa, a self-described "road maniac," loads up with all the tools of the well-equipped business traveler: laptop, cell-phone, pager. Yet his perpetual-motion workstyle still creates headaches — faxes sent to yesterday's hotel room, urgent e-mails that go unanswered because there's no place to plug in. So Pompa recently eased his burden with a new device: the WorldLink card from Premiere Technologies.
Think of WorldLink as a universal in-box for people who are always out. Each subscriber gets a personal 800-number that receives and stores messages, whether in the form of voice mail, faxes, or even e-mail sent via CompuServe. The system automatically pages subscribers when urgent messages arrive. It allows people sending faxes to "annotate" their documents with a voice message identifying the source and the subject. This way, subscribers can check their WorldLink account, hear who has sent them faxes, and choose which to print. Even e-mail access is relatively painless: WorldLink can "read" the sender and header lines on CompuServe messages, thus allowing subscribers to screen their e-mail over the phone. The system also allows subscribers to respond to e-mail over the phone by choosing from a set of preselected options.
"It's like a traveling office," says Pompa, an independent sales rep based in Newport Beach, California who sells computers to retail giants such as Computer City and Fry's Electronics. "I've gone to customer presentations where I didn't have all my sales and price data before I got on the plane. When I get to their office I just say, 'I've got the new pricing information; what's your fax number?' And it's right there." Plenty of other companies offer calling cards, but few can match WorldLink's range of features. And the price is right: the basic usage charge is 25 cents per minute; there are no set-up costs or fixed monthly fees.
For more information call Premiere Technologies (800-725-1000) or visit its Web site: (http://www.worldlink.com).
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1996 issue of Fast Company magazine.