Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, Pa., unveiled a new group of services and software designed to let banks and other businesses quickly establish a presence on the Internet.
Unisys' Internet Connectivity Packages are intended to help banks establish home pages on the World Wide Web, send and receive Internet-based electronic mail messages, create secure channels on the Internet for electronic commerce, and connect many users to Internet services through a single gateway.
The packages are based on Internet user groups of 10, 50, and 250.
Century National Bank, an $89 million-asset bank based in Washington, D.C., is one of the first financial institutions to use the new service.
Unisys will help Century develop an informational home page and will also determine what levels of security the bank will need for the types of Internet services it plans to offer its customers.
Initially, Century customers will be able to send e-mail messages to the bank and retrieve information about the bank's products and services.
The bank hopes to allow consumers to request bank products and checking account balances soon.
The migration of more banking transactions to the Internet may make it easier for smaller institutions like Century to compete with larger institutions, experts say.
"We believe the Internet is changing the way banks conduct business and interface with their customers," said Paul Schaus, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Century.
"The Internet is much less expensive and far more liberating in terms of who can access us and when."
The Internet Connectivity Packages are designed to connect local area networks of personal computers to the Internet. Unisys provides needs analysis, technology consulting, home page design, system integration, application setup, and training as part of the package.
The packages are part of Unisys' strategy to branch out from its core business of hardware manufacturing into consulting and support services.
Unisys' systems are to be based on Sun Microsystems Netra Internet Server. Unisys officials said they are using the Sun hardware because of the company's leading position in Internet servers.