Yenra : Wireless : Toshiba Hot Spots : High-speed wireless access for stores

My Computer Pro today announced the launch of a wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) "hot spot" at the Bacio gelato shop located at 204 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. Enabling Bacio guests to access the Internet through a wireless connection that is 50- to 100-times faster than standard dial-up, the hot spot makes it convenient for patrons to quickly access e-mail and surf the Web from a laptop computer. Bacio sells Italian ice cream, known as gelato, and other Italian dishes and desserts. The company plans to offer hot spots in all of its franchise locations.

Wi-Fi transmits Internet signals and other computer data by means of radio waves, at very high speeds, over distances of up to 300 feet. Patrons may access the hot spot, operated by Toshiba, with a portable PC or hand-held device equipped with a Wi-Fi card. Access is $4.95 per hour and is paid by credit card.

"A Toshiba hot spot helps any business, at a reasonable cost, take better care of its customers," said Mike Vidal, chief executive of Miami-based My Computer Pro. "Restaurants, hotels or any business with a waiting room should consider offering high-speed wireless Internet access for its clients and guests."

According to research firm Gartner, more than 28,000 hot spots will be available nationwide by year end. The number is expected to grow by at least a third annually for the next five years.

"We want Bacio's guests to think of our stores as meeting places that cater to their needs," said Irma D'Ancona, chief operations officer of Formula Franchising Italiano, Bacio's parent company. "We launched the hot spot because it provides a valuable service that our guests will appreciate."