Business briefs: New healthcare options and talking buses |

Business briefs: New healthcare options and talking buses

Comcast opens new Xfinity customer store

Comcast held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday for the opening of the new Xfinity Customer Store in Silverthorne.

Dan Wherry, Comcast vice president for field operations, said in a statement that the store will provide a hands-on experience for consumers.

“The new Xfinity Customer Store provides a place where Summit County customers can experience Xfinty products and services firsthand and check out the latest technology we offer,” he wrote.

“This new store is a first in our mountain service areas,” he wrote, “and offers a more welcoming design, an improved customer experience and a new attitude as we apply the same mindset of innovation, speed and value that our customers love our products.”

Alexandra Ballas, Comcast public relations director for the Mile High region, said the customer center is designed around consumer needs and will provide an opportunity to explore, learn about and interact directly with the latest products and services offered by Xfinity.

The new Xfinity Customer Center in Silverthorne is located at 1271 Blue River Parkway, Suite D. Store hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Upgrades to Breck Free Ride

This winter, passengers on the Breck Free Ride transit system will be kept informed of upcoming stops through a new voice annunciation system that was tested over the summer.

The system will be used on a daily basis for the upcoming ski season, Maribeth Lewis-Baker, transit manager for the Breck Free Ride, said in a press release.

After the transit operator records the boarding count, an enhanced Android application automatically queues a tablet to play the appropriate audio file announcing the next stop, she wrote. The voice annunciation system will also broadcast the route name and key destinations prior to departure from the transit station.

“My former partner at the Summit Stage, John Jones, actually gave us the simple, yet brilliant idea, to have the tablet do our voice annunciation,” she wrote.

The Breckenridge transit system launched an on-board tablet system in April 2012 as an innovative and low-cost means to collect boarding counts through the use of a custom Android application, on-board tablet, and back-end SQL database.

The recent updates only required a low-cost software enhancement to the Android application along with an amplifier and speakers for each bus. In total, the project cost $12,000 to implement the improvements in the entire Free Ride fleet, Lewis-Baker wrote.

The new voice annunciation system moves the Breck Free Ride closer to completing a strategic plan to implement “Intelligent Transportation Systems,” she said in the press release.

“We have the final two phases for ‘Where’s My Bus?’ to implement, which include monitors to show bus arrival times at select bus stops,” she wrote. “What is amazing is that we have managed to be creative in finding an affordable way to have the same kind of technologies that other transit systems typically spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for. No one else does voice annunciation on their buses for such a small investment as we have done.”

People with questions about the new voice annunciation system or about the Breckenridge Free Ride transit system can call the Free Ride Transit Hotline at (970) 547-3140.

Kaiser Permanente nears arrival in Summit

Kaiser Permanente Colorado, which will open its first medical offices in Summit County this January, is about to offer health insurance for interested county residents.

Brent Bowman, executive director for Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s mountain service area, said consumers can begin shopping for coverage through the nonprofit health plan in October and can purchase coverage starting in November, which will be effective in January.

In June, the nonprofit health plan and managed-care provider announced plans to open a Frisco office in the Basecamp retail center at 226 Lusher Court.

The health-care provider is offering numerous services online patient portal.

“Patients can email doctors with questions and will have an answer within one business day,” Bowman said.

Appointments can be booked online and video conferences with specialists can be arranged.

“We want to extend the reach of our Denver-based specialists,” he said.

Additionally, medical records and lab results can be found online. X-ray and lab facilities will also be onsite.

“We provide services under one roof,” he said. “It saves you from driving around and waiting.”

Specialists will also rotate through the Frisco office, so patients can still meet in person when needed, he said. Plans are in place to add a pharmacy on sit, too.

Patient numbers will dictate the timetables for the pharmacy, he said.

In 2014, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals reported a combined net income of $3.1 billion, with operating revenues of $56.4 billion.

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