Mapco Builds Virtual Private Network

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Mapco Builds Virtual Private Network

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Franklin, Tenn.-based Mapco Express Inc., a subsidiary of Israeli investment firm Delek Group, is partnering with Cybera Inc. to build a network-based virtual private network connecting Mapco's 248 convenience stores across seven states. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed

Mapco said it plans to use Cybera's SmartNetwork program to generate faster credit card transactions and improve inventory management and security surveillance, among other functions.

Cybera, founded in February 2001, has quickly found a niche in retail, where companies with multiple locations need broadband access to run new applications. Earlier this year, the company inked a deal to build a dedicated private network connecting 33 Cooker Restaurant Corp. sites in Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio, according to the Nashville Business Journal.

At Mapco stores, Cybera is installing a broadband circuit and small router at each location while managing the service from its home office. The SmartNetwork, which replaces the dial-up Internet access used by each store, has been implemented at 75 percent of Mapco's stores and the rest will be added by the middle of November. Most of Mapco's stores are clustered around Nashville, Memphis and Richmond, Va.

Scotty Creason, information technology manager for Mapco, said the new system should offer real-time information about customers' buying preferences as well as added store security.

Mapco is looking at using the bandwidth for digital video recorders, computer-based training and voice over IP, as well as sharing its high-speed connection with ATMs and Internet kiosks.