SPH launches 'buzz pods' - Jun 19, 2007 (BT)

BackJun 19, 2007

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH launches 'buzz pods'

These new-gen news-stands offer news electronically

By Lin Zhaowei
Jun 19, 2007
The Business Times

The latest news-stands - 'buzz pods' - introduced yesterday by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) offer the news electronically, alongside a host of new features, plus of course the full range of newspapers and magazines published and distributed by SPH.

The new buzz pods, complete with Wi-Fi connection and facilities for electronic payments, were shown off yesterday at Boon Lay interchange.

As well as the newspapers, magazines and snacks available at traditional news-stands, the new buzz pods, instantly recognisable from afar with their bright orange logo, are equipped with digital LED displays that flash the latest breaking news headlines.

They are Wi-Fi enabled, meaning that busy commuters with portable Wi-Fi devices will be able to access news from the Internet, check e-mails, find local information, and even make free phone calls via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) while they wait for their buses.

But people without such devices will not be left behind. Pacific Internet's newly launched Webstation Internet kiosks are available for use at buzz pods for a fee.

These Webstations - previously available only at City Hall, Raffles Place, Orchard, Yishun, Ang Mo Kio and Bugis MRT stations - allow commuters to pay bills, top up their ez-link cards and make online purchases besides checking e-mail and searching for information.

Users of pre-paid phones and people with subscription-based online gaming accounts can also conveniently top up their balances via the TeleMoney payment facility. A range of Wi-Fi handheld devices offered by Wi-Fi solutions provider iCell will also be on sale at the buzz pods.

SPH's executive vice-president of newspapers services division, Robin Hu, said: 'We have noticed an emerging trend among busy executives who prefer to buy their favourite publications from news-stands that are more accessible to them during their daily travel. By locating buzz pods at the bus interchanges across the island, we hope to offer a pleasant and expedient buying experience for people on the go.'

Mr Hu added that by utilising emerging technologies, SPH hopes to use the buzz pods as a showcase to demonstrate and package SPH information, news and promotions.

Eight of the buzz pods are already in operation.