AT T Hopes to OFfer Multimedia Features Next Year

Article excerpt

Special Correspondent

You've seen the slick AT T television ads of the mother tucking her infant in by phone, others ordering concert tickets by phone or paying bills electronically, and the best of all for those work-at-home types, a "beached" executive attending a meeting in his bare feet with plans, graphs and other multimedia applications appearing on his mobile computer in the blink of an eye.

AT T hopes to make all of that a reality _ soon _ and says many of the multimedia features, information systems and high performance networks will be available, at least in beta form, by 1994.

As part of its strategic planning process, the giant company is conducting extensive research to determine exactly what its customers want, according to Pat Jones, AT T's "Network of the Future" manager.

Jones, based in San Francisco, presented plans for the network to AT T customers in Oklahoma City Tuesday in a "road show" designed to offer those customers a closer look at the advancing technology.

"We found that by focusing on two critical areas _ customer business trends and developing technologies _ we were able to determine what the customer wants and how they want us to deliver it to them," Jones said.

Jones said customers told AT T that they see the future as being "volatile," that companies were returning to their core competencies and that markets were becoming "globalized."

"It's not that companies are not expanding," Jones said, "but they're concentrating on what they do best."

Jones said customers also told AT T that they wanted new information technologies to concentrate on: Customer service. To facilitate "electronic bonding" between the company and its own customers. To increase the strategic value of communications and information technology to businesses.

"We also found that customers want the technology of the future to be transparent _ to work in the background _ and to support the human element," Jones said.

What AT T's research also showed, Jones added, was that the company should focus its future energies on: Multimedia communications. Image capturing and networking. …