Allied-Signal gets highway contractSan Antonio hopes the...


February 01, 1993|By Steve Auerweck

Allied-Signal gets highway contract

San Antonio hopes the technology of the space program will make its highways cleaner, safer and easier to navigate.

Allied-Signal Inc.'s Technical Services unit, based in Columbia, will oversee a $32.3 million contract from the Texas Transportation Department to install monitoring and control equipment on 25 miles of highway around San Antonio.

According to Steve Duley of the Columbia office, which formerly was the Bendix Field Engineering Corp., a core group of 15 or 20 employees there will manage the project and develop software.

All of the employees previously worked on a major NASA program, Network Mission Operations Support, and the computer technology developed for NASA will be adapted for the highway project.

The size of the San Antonio staff is not yet known.

The completed system will use roadway sensors and color TV cameras to funnel information to a command center over fiber-optic cables. When computers highlight a trouble spot, operators will be able to view the roads and transmit instructions about alternate routes to signs along the highway.

Allied-Signal will be prime contractor on the project, which is to begin this month and be in operation in two years. AT&T Network Systems will provide the fiber-optic system.

Allied-Signal's Columbia unit has about 1,700 employees based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.

MicroProse is getting into a new market

MicroProse Inc. is branching out from the games market with its agreement to distribute a Microsoft Windows-based music CD manager from Apriori Software Corp. of Chicago.

Hunt Valley-based MicroProse will be the worldwide distributor of WINCD Professional, a multimedia utility that lets users build a data base of each track in their CD collections, then play them back through the PC's CD-ROM drive using on-screen controls.

The program even lets PC sound cards be used to store snippets of music on the computer's hard disk, so a song can be sampled without loading the original CD.

MicroProse will also distribute Apriori's KYE Deluxe, a strategy game.

Bill Stealey, MicroProse chairman and chief executive officer, said the association with Apriori will give MicroProse "greater participation and exposure in the Windows product marketplace."

NITC starts work on 2 testing labs

The non-profit National Information Technology Center in Rockville has begun work on usability testing labs for the group's members.

According to Gary Donnelly of NITC, the center will build two labs of about 1,000 square feet each. Man-Made Systems Corp. of Maryland will work on designing and developing the facility.

Testing, Mr. Donnelly said, will fall into two categories. Members who are large users of information technology, such as the U.S. Postal Service or Conrail, can test products that they're considering making large investments in, such as telecommunications equipment or software packages. Vendors will be able to put users in front of their products early in the design cycle, in hopes of avoiding production errors.

NITC is a year-old nonprofit consortium with members ranging from producers and users of information technology, such as AT&T Network Systems and COMSAT, to academic and government organizations, such as the University of Maryland.

New system to access Harford libraries

Library patrons in Harford County will have electronic access to the catalog and a host of other information when a new computer goes online this summer.

The county signed a $1.2 million contract for the system last week with Data Research Associates Inc. of St. Louis.

Deborah Gilley, county purchasing agent, said the computer will allow combined access to the county's 10 branches and the library at Harford County Community College. Also, through a DRA network, users will have access to libraries throughout the country, and can even ask that material be faxed.

"It's going to be a beautiful system," she said. "We're hoping we'll have part of the system implemented by the end of March [and] looking for June 1 for the whole system to be in place."

Terminals will be in the branches, and users with home PCs and modems will be able to dial in. There also will be special facilities for the handicapped, such as a "talking" terminals for the visually impaired.

IBM has call center for federal customers

IBM's Federal Systems Co., based in Bethesda, has set up a call center for federal customers who need information and support from IBM.

The center, available to all federal agencies, will connect callers to teams handling technical support, administrative support or contracts. It also will track the status of inquiries until they are resolved.

The Washington-area phone number for the Information Call Center is (301) 564-7970. The national number is (800) 333-6705.

Federal Systems Co. is a lead systems integrator in such major federal contracts as NASA's Space Shuttle program and the Internal Revenue Service's modernization.

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