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Avis comes up with a Wizard of a network.

When Avis proudly says it "tries harder" to serve its rental car customers, one of the ways is through its global computer network serving 26 nations. Poland is the latest addition.

The company rents 12 million cars a year.

Nodal concentration points are at the reservations center in Tulsa; the satellite link at Mountain View, California; and regional offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

These nodal concentration points are connected back to the Avis worldwide data center in Garden City, New York. In the United States, the network has about 1,000 drops.

"Our Wizard network is important to us because it allows us to offer our customers quality service through the use of quick and consistent communications wherever they travel around the world," says Peter Tittler, vice president of networks and technology.

"Avis is able to produce something with this communications network that our customers are able to see benefits them.

"Since the network also serves all the business functions of Avis-daily activity, vehicle maintenance schedules, calendars for selling vehicles, general ledger transactions, and many other corporate functions--it clearly benefits Avis, too," he says.

The employee-owned Avis always looks for new ways to use its network to benefit customers. Several years ago it started using a Roving Rapid Return terminal, enabling a receiving clerk to gather information on cars as they are returned to the company. This quickens the customer's car return process at a time when the customer might typically be rushing to catch a plane.

"It gives us a sense of pride when we can produce something like this faster car return capability, because our customers can see it as a way we use the network to serve that customer better and quicker," Tittler says.

"Our customers were truly amazed at what we did with the Roving Rapid Return service."

The company recently announced another innovation--for the customer arriving to pick up a car. The most recent application is a radio frequency terminal on the shuttle bus.

The bus driver enters the customer's Wizard number in the terminal. The number is then passed by radio frequency to the mainframe which, in turn, instructs the printer at the rental location to print the completed rental agreement.

The agreement and the keys are taken to the assigned car before the customer arrives. The customer avoids all counters and lines, and is quickly able to drive off to business appointments.

Avis has used Racal-Datacom equipment for many years and currently is upgrading its network with Racal-Datacom Omnimode 14.4 fast poll modems, Excalibur digital access products, Omnimux 7000 channel banks, and Communications Management Series 400 network management.

In many of its locations Avis still depends on analog circuitry.

However, in places where digital is close in price to analog, the network is being upgraded to the digital service. Excalibur provides the user with an easy, economical migration path from analog to digital.

Another reason Avis likes the Excalibur DAPs is the availability of integral dial backup capability.

"To our customers, the Wizard network is a clear example of the way we consistently try harder," Tittle says.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Data; Wizard network
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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