Net billing product takes on hotels

New Zealand-developed internet-usage billing application inGOT is attempting to break into a new market - hotels.

New Zealand-developed internet-usage billing application inGOT is attempting to break into a new market — hotels.

Having been monitoring and billing internet use in schools and universities for several years, it has gained its first contract for a hall of residence in Christchurch. On the basis of this it aims to break into the hotel market, which is increasingly making internet access available to its guests.

The product for hotels will be subtly different, says co-developer Richard Bourne, concentrating on the charging aspect rather than the usage monitoring which has been deemed necessary for students. It will be marketed under a different name.

The inGOT moniker was given to the application when it was owned by consultancy Innovus, which developed for the market software conceived by Bourne when he headed the IT department at the Central Institute of Technology (CIT). Innovus was taken over by Synergy two years ago. Bourne and colleague James Scott subsequently re-acquired the rights to the product for their company, Liverton (www.liverton.com).

The software is designed to work with a Microsoft proxy server configuration or on a Novell network. In its student form it monitors which users access which websites and services, but does not specifically block any sites, Bourne says.

“That’s part of our philosophy. If you just block students from accessing things then they don’t learn.”

A monitoring scheme means they can be called to account and advised of inappropriate usage.

Use of certain protocols, such as peer-to-peer file swapping can, however, be blocked.

The product is in use by about 100,000 students at institutions in Australia, New Zealand and one in South Africa, the 22,000-student Pretoria Technikon. Staff at the institution found the product on the Liverton site, says Bourne.

Liverton recently pitched for its first Australian university site, having only been sold to schools previously. The university still has the product under evaluation.

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