You're on the Washington-New York shuttle, flying in for a lunch meeting in Silicon Alley, when the person next to you describes a killer Web service you've never seen. Problem: How can you check it out before you reach the restaurant? No Problem: After you land, just duck into the airport's "Cyberbooth" and surf to the site.
Atcom/Info, a fast-growing company based in San Diego, is outfitting airports across the country with Internet kiosks that provided high-speed access to the Net. The company has installed kiosks at New York's LaGuardia, Hartford's Bradley International, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Seattle-Tacoma,. It plans to sign up at least five more airports by May.
The kiosks are easy to use and faster than a laptop. Just swipe a credit card, enter a password, and start answering email or surfing the Web. The kiosks support access to America Online, CompuServe, and the Microsoft Network as well as the Internet. And they're cheap — about 35 cents per minute.
At Dallas Fort-Worth, the terminals attract an average of 50 people per day., 15 of whom actually swipe their card and go online. Users connect for an average of 11 minutes — a total of 2.5 hours per screen per day.
But airports are just the beginning. The company is installing terminals at convention centers, in big-city train stations, on college campuses, and in hotels - the company's next big market. For more information, visit the company's Web site, www.atcominfo.com .
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.