Vodafone has launched a corporate Packet Radio Broadcast Service that uses the company's Packet Radio Service for simultaneous data delivery to terminals throughout the country.
The system uses a dedicated two-way radio network, grafted onto the company's cellular network, that allows messages of up to 10kB to be transmitted between a central host and a Radio-Pad in a defined "Broadcast Group". A radio pad is a modem-like device about a quarter of an inch thick.
The introduction of the service will mean that a central office will have a cheap and easy way to efficiently communicate to all of its satellite branches. "For example, from a central host you would be able to send a simultaneous message to all of the 6000 or 7000 radio pads installed in UK off-course betting offices," said a Vodafone spokesman.
The service also has the advantage of being extremely economical, with a 10kB message sent to several thousand radio pads costing around £1.20.
Other applications for the service are likely to be point-of-sale tills in retail operations, credit card authorisation and automated vending machines. At present there are about 75,000 pads connected to the Packet Radio Service.