Worldspan plans easy navigation to travel Web sites

Worldspan will be working with with WebMap Technologies, Inc., a developer of visual Web navigation software, to build a customized Web solution designed to help travel agents and others to locate specific Internet travel sites and content useful in travel planning.
Under the agreement, WebMap will implement its Web navigation technology and license it to Worldspan.
Worldspan will evaluate the new travel resource, which will be showcased initially on the Worldspan Web site later this year, for integration into other Worldspan products and for additional strategic opportunities. This represents WebMap`s first significant and long-term contract for its capabilities within any industry.
“Our partnership with WebMap Technologies marks a milestone in Worldspan`s development of e-commerce solutions for the travel market, allowing us to bring a key product to market faster than ever before,” said Jesse Liebman, Worldspan’s senior vice president and general manager for travel supplier services. “By making Internet searches faster and more productive, WebMap`s zooming technology will help Worldspan users receive the full benefit of Web-enabled travel planning.”
Liebman said Worldspan and WebMap have agreed to co-develop a customized version of the Web zooming technology focusing exclusively on travel-related Web sites. With easier-to-find Internet travel sites at their fingertips, the goal is that users will be able to plan trips and even purchase travel-related merchandise faster and more effectively. After development of a successful proof of concept, the agreement enables Worldspan to integrate the customized solution into applicable Worldspan e-commerce products and to market it within the travel industry.
“This unique new way to retrieve Web-based information is easier and more convenient than current methods and leaves users satisfied, rather than frustrated, when navigating the Internet,” said Michael Irons, chief executive officer for WebMap Technologies. “We are pleased that Worldspan shares our vision for this technology, and we look forward to working with Worldspan in refining a solution that meets the special requirements of the travel market.”
WebMap technology brings together traditional navigation, browsing and searching into a single visual interaction-zooming. It provides a user- friendly visual guide to information embedded in Web sites, intranets and extranets. In addition, by representing links visually, WebMap saves screen space, an important feature given the growing popularity of small-screened wireless devices. WebMap functions have the ability to be touch driven—making it possible to have non-keyboard platforms such as touch-screens in kiosks..
With offices in the Boston and Tel Aviv, WebMap Technologies is among a growing number of Israeli technology companies developing e-commerce solutions. “Worldspan recognizes the outstanding technical and developmental talent residing in Israel, which we`ve found to be not only a key market for our products but also an innovative and productive technology resource, based on our very positive experience with WebMap,” said Neil Beck, Worldspan vice president of worldwide product for Worldspan. “We look forward to pursuing additional partnerships with Israeli companies.”
To support its commitment to the Israeli marketplace, Worldspan recently joined the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce-Southeast Region, banding together with such diverse companies as BellSouth, The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Nortel and others that have dedicated themselves to expanding their business relationships in Israel.
Boston-based WebMap Technologies is a fast-growing, privately held
developer of Internet navigation software. Since the founding, the company has obtained $6 million in financing from IRR, Technorov and a series of private investors. One of the company`s initial seed investors is Shlomo Kramer, co-founder of the worldwide leader in Internet security software, Check Point Software. The company has the backing of an extraordinary advisory board including the former head of the MIT mathematics department, Professor Daniel Kleitman; Nobel Prize winner Sheldon Glashow; and the co- founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry Barlow.
Worldspan provides global electronic distribution of travel information, Internet products and connectivity, and electronic commerce capabilities for travel agencies, travel service providers and corporations worldwide. The company`s three lines of business are travel supplier services, e-commerce, and global distribution systems for the worldwide travel industry.
The Worldspan reservations system provides nearly 21,000 travel agencies and other users worldwide with travel data and booking capabilities for hundreds of the world`s leading travel supplier services. Worldspan is the market leader in e-commerce for the travel industry, processing more than 50 percent of all online travel bookings. The company maintains world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Worldspan is owned by affiliates of Delta Air Lines, Inc. , Northwest Airlines and Trans World Airlines.
Two weeks ago, WebMap announced a $6 million it had gained equity capital from five investors, including an affiliate of Deutsche Bank. Since its founding, WebMap has obtained $1 million in financing from IRR, Technorov and a series of private investors. One of the company`s initial seed investors is Shlomo Kramer, co-founder of the worldwide leader in Internet security software, Check Point Software.
The company has the backing of an extraordinary advisory board including the former head of the MIT mathematics department, Professor Daniel Kleitman; Nobel Prize winner Sheldon Glashow; the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry Barlow; and the world-renowned technology innovator and consultant to the information technology industry, Jim Bair.
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