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8x8 Lets Kids Call Santa
[November 22, 2005]

8x8 Lets Kids Call Santa

TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist

8x8, Inc. , the Packet8 broadband Voice over Internet Protocol and videophone communications service provider, has announced it will continue its holiday season tradition of providing pediatric patients in children's hospitals throughout the U.S. with opportunities to have video visits with Santa Claus at the North Pole.

As traditional telephony rates to the North Pole are fairly exorbitant, the gesture on 8x8's part will significantly reduce costs for those children who wish to call St. Nicholas.

In fact the closest town to the Magnetic North Pole is Resolute, Canada, so assuming Santa sleighs to Resolute the only settlement on Cornwallis Island high above the Arctic Circle, to pick up essentials and use the phone, see how much your carrier charges for a call to Resolute, area code 867, prefix 252.

Using the Packet8 VideoPhone, patients will be able to see and chat with Santa at his "North Pole" workshop at 8x8's Santa Clara, California headquarters which is filled with holiday decorations and gifts from a charity employee toy drive. After Santa's video calls are completed, the toys will be shipped to the hospitals in time for Christmas.

According to Kitty O'Brien of the Child Life Department at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, which participated in the "8x8 / Packet8 Videophone Calls to Santa" event previously, "The program was enormously successful last year and we are looking forward to bringing Santa's cheer to our patients again this holiday season."

Children's Hospitals participating in the "Call Santa" program include Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Miami Children's Hospital, the Johns Hopkins Children's Medical Center, Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in Portland, Maine; Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, Schneider's Children's Hospital on Long Island and Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville.

"It's great to see the same 21st-century communication technologies that enable distant families and friends to instantly bridge gaps brighten the experience, even briefly, of hospitalized children this holiday season," said 8x8 Chairman and CEO Bryan Martin.

It's this reporter's policy, when a company's doing something which qualifies as your basic Good Thing, be it hurricane relief or letting kids in hospitals talk to Santa, to let them get away with more of the press-release puffery stuff: "This application of our Packet8 voice and video internet-based calling is a perfect example of how technology can enhance our everyday lives," Martin said.

"All you have to do is watch the smiles and hear the laughter and joy in these children's voices while they interact with our videophone Santa and his helpers to know that we are making a tremendous impact, even in the space of a five or ten minute call. This is something that would never be possible over legacy copper wires."

Hospitals and other non-profits which benefit children's needs during the holidays are invited to register for participation in the program by contacting Richard Medugno at 1-408-654-0833.

Martin himself might want to jump on the horn and ask Santa for a profit this year. 8x8's revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2006 were $7.1 million, compared with $2.5 million for the same period of fiscal 2005 and $6 million for the previous quarter. The net loss for the quarter was $5.6 million, or $0.10 per share, compared with a net loss of $5.1 million, or $0.10 per share, for the previous quarter and a net loss of $3.7 million or $0.09 per share for the same period last year.

Total revenues for the six month periods ended September 30, 2005 and 2004 were $13.1 million and $4.6 million, respectively. Net losses for the six month periods ended September 30, 2005 and 2004 were $10.7 million, or $0.20 per share, and $6.3 million, or $0.15 per share, respectively.

Total revenues for the company's Packet8 VoIP service and related equipment sales increased to $6.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2006, compared with $2.1 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2005, an increase of 229%. Packet8 revenues for the six months ended September 30, 2005, were $12.6 million as compared to $3.5 million for the six months ended September 30, 2004, an increase of 260%.

David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles please visit David Sims' columnist page.


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