T-commerce makes debut in iTV trial

Viewers lucky enough to be part of ICE's iTV interactive television pilot in Orange, in the NSW central west, will be able to order pizzas via their remote control from Thursday.

Founded by database giant Oracle in February, ICE is also backed by Liberate Technologies. ICE was commissioned by Pizza Hut to design and build the pizza ordering application, which is hosted on ICE's iTV platform.

"This is the first true example of T-commerce in Australia," said Carl Braden, managing director of ICE Interactive. "Hundreds of Orange residents will now be able to order pizzas and other Pizza Hut menu items while watching TV."

ICE built a TV-friendly online version of Pizza Hut's delivery and takeaway menu using open internet standards, which enabled Pizza Hut to leverage existing content and reduce the costs involved in launching the service, Braden said. "Orange pilot participants can now order 16 different types of pizza, garlic bread and soft drinks with a few clicks of their TV remote control," he said.

Pizzas can be picked up from Pizza Hut within 15 minutes or home delivered within half an hour. "Viewers simply click on the Pizza Hut icon on their TV screen with their remote control. Since they can still see and hear the TV program while they're making their pizza selections, they don't miss any of the action on their favourite TV shows."

"This is a breakthrough for many people who don't have a PC or fear the complexity of computer-based electronic commerce", said Greg Creed, Pizza Hut's chief marketing officer. "T-commerce is simple and convenient, and has a huge potential to narrow the gap between consumer intent and consumer action."

ICE has installed more than a hundred interactive set-top boxes in households in and around Orange as part of a three-month pilot of iTV under the "MyiTV" brand.

The Pizza Hut service will complement the on-demand entertainment, news, sport, finance and email services that MyiTV trial participants have been enjoying since August.

Forrester Research predicts that T-commerce will overshadow e-commerce within a few years with revenues of $US29 billion by 2004. These revenues will include $US16.6 billion in advertising, $US10 billion in commerce and $US2.4 billion in subscription revenues.

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