WAKENFERN TO UPDATE SATCOM SYSTEM

ELIZABETH, N.J -- Wakefern Food Corp. here has reportedly inked a five-year deal with a third-party company to revamp its satellite communications system and put in a Very Small Aperture Terminal communications network.familiar with the situation.Typical retail satellite applications include credit-card authorization and inventory-management functions.When an individual swipes a credit card and processes

ELIZABETH, N.J -- Wakefern Food Corp. here has reportedly inked a five-year deal with a third-party company to revamp its satellite communications system and put in a Very Small Aperture Terminal communications network.

familiar with the situation.

Typical retail satellite applications include credit-card authorization and inventory-management functions.

When an individual swipes a credit card and processes it through a satellite network it takes less then 5 seconds for credit approval, much faster than traditional terrestrial phone lines.

The new system could also support more advanced communication initiatives for the retailer, such as in-store audio and video functions.

In-store audio could be beamed over the satellite network to promote pricing specials or commercials as well as play music. Video via the satellite network could be used for employee training.

It's fairly certain that Wakefern would at least use the system from Spacenet Inc., McLean, Va., a subsidiary of Gilat Satellite Networks, McLean, Va., for credit-card authorization and inventory management, the source said.

The satellite system is also more consistent than terrestrial lines, providing as much as 99.8% of "up time." It's also more cost effective because of the increased up time, the source said.

The older communications system should be converted to the newer network by the end of the year.