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March 08, 2012

Gratifon S.A. Beats the Heat with Dell OEM Solutions
By Jacqueline Lee
Contributing Writer

Running a telephone service in Panama isn’t easy because the heat and humidity are brutally trying for computer equipment. Computers have to operate for the long-term in temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 C), as well as withstand tropically humid conditions. Gratifon S.A., a service that provides free phone connections for tourists and residents, turned to Dell OEM Solutions to develop computers that could take a pounding from the Central American climate.

“We're pleased to help Gratifon bring their innovative VoIP kiosks concept to the public and grow its business,” said Ron Pugh, executive director and general manager, Dell OEM Solutions, Americas. “By providing Gratifon with a single source for the hardware, services and support to power its kiosk, we give them the reliability and flexibility to expand into new markets.”

Gratifon’s service consists of a VoIP that connects tourists and residents to any cell phone or landline connection in the world. Consumers simply use Gratifon kiosks, which are found at supermarkets, malls, airports and hotels. The kiosks help customers to find restaurants, activities and lodging, while allowing advertisers to place relevant marketing messages on the kiosks.

To power the kiosks, Gratifon has partnered with Dell (News - Alert) to acquire industrial OptiPlex XE PCs, which have an extended three-year life cycle and the ability to operate in punishing temperatures. Gratifon is also using Dell Cloud with VMWare vCloud Data Center service, which allows Gratifon to avoid building its own server infrastructure for its kiosks.

Dell ProSupport provides training and support for Gratifon employees, and the VMWare vCloud Data Center provides the redundancy, scalability, power and storage associated with cloud servers.

Gratifon has 50 kiosks in Panama and plans to roll out another 250 kiosks within the next six months. In addition, the company plans to expand, using the Dell solution, to Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil within the next 12 to 18 months.

“As a startup, technology is key to ensuring that our growing business can thrive,” said Oz Yosef, Gratifon CEO. “By leveraging the Dell OEM OptiPlex XEs and cloud services for our kiosks, we were able to cut costs and expand our business in ways we didn't know possible.”

Edited by Jennifer Russell


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