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Starwood Hotels to Test Bluetooth Mobile Applications

Classwave Wireless Inc., a software developer for Bluetooth Wireless Networks, and Axis Communications are teaming to develop infrastructure that allows Bluetooth mobile users to access e-mail, the Internet and intranets as well as conduct mobile commerce transactions.

Users of laptops, mobile phones, personal digital assistants and other devices equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology will be able to receive personalized information. Hotels, airports, retail outlets, college campuses and entertainment venues are among Classwave's initial targets.

“We want to partner with a number of enterprises that would be early movers [to this technology],” said Charlotte Burke, chief marketing officer at Classwave, Toronto.

College students could use Bluetooth-enabled kiosks to download audio files from the Internet, for example.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, White Plains, NY, will be the first to test the technology during a six-month trial starting this summer. The chain's large customer base and the high number of mobile professionals make Starwood an ideal test of Bluetooth technology, according to Burke.

Using information from its Preferred Guest program, Starwood can personalize messages to users of Bluetooth-enabled devices. Starwood could send guests a message asking if they prefer to stay in the room they were booked for or if they would like to select another room.

“We believe that the early adopters of Bluetooth will be road warriors,” she said.

Starwood — along with several other large companies that will test the Bluetooth technology — can use its location-based messaging component to provide mobile users with location-relevant information such as conference schedules, local tourist information and advertising.

Users will be able to choose which messages they prefer to receive.

Once trials are completed, Classwave expects the Bluetooth application to be available commercially by the end of this year.

GartnerGroup, Stamford, CT, predicts that worldwide revenue from Bluetooth-enabled devices will reach $1 million by the end of this year and will increase to $5.3 million by 2005.

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