Bell Atlantic Corp. said yesterday that it has entered into an agreement with Microware Systems Corp. to develop software that can be used to promote electronic shopping.
Terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.
Dan Trickett, director of business development for Bell Atlantic, said Microware will develop software for Bell Atlantic for use with new compact-disc interactive (CD-I) technology, which integrates text, graphics, audio and animation in high-resolution images that can be viewed on a monitor.
Microware, a noted expert in the CD-I field, has already developed CD-I operating systems for two electronics giants, Sony and Philips N.V.
The first licensee of the new software will be MicroMall Inc., a Des Moines, Iowa-based company that specializes in electronic merchandising using CD-I.
Bell Atlantic said MicroMall will use the new software in free-standing stations that allow people to electronically browse through catalogs of retail goods and selectively zero in on offerings.
A shopper browsing through a gardening catalog, for example, might be able to see pictures, descriptions and prices of flowers as well as full-motion videos of, say, proper pruning techniques, before making a purchase decision.
MicroMall will produce, install and service these kiosks, which will be located in shopping malls, tourist attractions and office complexes across the United States.
According to Mr. Trickett, Bell Atlantic plans to use similar kiosks to sell its residential and business services. Both types of kiosks should start showing up in stores early next year, he said.