RealTime IT News

International Briefs

March 5

Internet Commerce Revenues in Western Europe May Soon Reach $30 Billion
Total Internet commerce revenues in Western Europe will grow from $1 billion in 1997 to $30 billion in 2001, according to a research study published by International Data Corporation.

The number of devices accessing the Web in Western Europe will grow from 14.2 million in 1997 to almost 58 million by the end of 2001. The number of users associated with those devices will grow from 16.6 million in 1997 to 56 million by year end 2001.

Almost 4.3 percent of all inhabitants in Western Europe are now World Wide Web users, with penetration rates by country varying from 0.8 percent to 12.2 percent.

The Nordic countries take the clear lead, but Switzerland, Britain, the Netherlands, and Germany are also above the Western European average.

Finnish Telco to Integrate Web Technology for Cable TV
Helsinki-based Nokia, a leading supplier of digital set-top boxes for cable and satellite, announced a licensing agreement with U.S. company Spyglass for integrating Web technology into the next generation of digital cable, satellite and terrestrial set-top boxes.

The Spyglass browser will be modified and used by Nokia as an HTML engine for developing advanced interactive and online television services.

(Web Vision, India; February 27, 1998)

Australian Companies Urged to Harness E-Commerce, Intranets
Australian companies risk losing out to technically savvy international rivals if they do not grab the opportunities offered by electronic commerce, according to Gartner Group Pacific research director John Roberts.

He said many companies were slow to recognize the potential of Internet-based commerce.

"Australian businesses have a window of opportunity to get a jump in this area, but that window won't be open for ever," he said.

Australian companies also need to examine their internal processes, to cope with the time pressures associated with online transactions.

(The Australian; February 17, 1998)

French Company Aims for 3-D Web Standard
"The Web is about to turn into a virtual world. It will soon become a three-dimensional parallel world," said Philippe Ulrich, founder of Paris-based Cryo Interactive, a leading European videogame developer.

Cryo is polishing a new programming language called SCOL that will enable even beginners to create 3-D sites "with ease." SCOL is a hybrid of the multi-platform programming language Java and of Silicon Graphics' VRML.

France Telecom plans to use SCOL to develop a 3-D online version of the Yellow Pages for the city of Marseille.

SCOL's commercial rollout is scheduled for September.

(New York Times; February 17, 1998)

Survey: 174,000 Computers Connected to Net in New Zealand
According to the latest survey by Network Wizards, 30 million computers are connected to the Internet--174,000 of them in New Zealand, an increase of 8.4 per cent from the 160,000 computers connected in January last year.

That puts New Zealand in 20th place internationally, ahead of Korea, Brazil and Switzerland. The New Zealand Internet domain registry, responsible for allocation of domain names, records around 16,000 New Zealand domains registered in December last year.

(InfoTech Weekly, New Zealand; February 16, 1998)

"Push" Technology Companies Now Focus On Corporate Clients
Today, many of the nearly two dozen start-ups that hoped to hit pay dirt in the push market are gone.

"Push has gone from the most popular buzzword of 1997 and late 1996 to something verboten on business plans," said Ross Rubin of Jupiter Communications.

Rather than helping to solve the problem of information overload, some say push exacerbated it.

But corporate customers may be a better bet than individual users--many are distributing company information via Intranets, or are disseminating information to outside sales forces and major customers. In these circles, push has now become "knowledge management."

(New York Times; February 16, 1998)

Malaysia Calls for SouthEast Asian Initiatives In E-Commerce
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has called for an ASEAN initiative to develop a common approach to the fast-growing area of electronic commerce.

He said such a framework would "provide the basis for discussions to facilitate the development of an ASEAN position to catalyse the growth" of e-commerce.

"We'd like to invite our ASEAN neighbours, as well as everyone interested in ironing out possible wrinkles in the progress towards the electronic world, to join us in this endeavour," he said.

(Singapore Business Times; February 14, 1998)

British ISP Expands User Base, Ventures Into E-Commerce
The Internet Technology Group claims it continues to be one of Britain's leading ISPs; it grew from being a fledgling Internet company to being Britain's third largest ISP in 1997.

It has also invested in setting up GlobalWave, an Internet electronic commerce joint venture with U.S.-based Wave Systems.

(Financial Times, Britain; February 12, 1998)

America Online's Hong Kong Service to Offer Bilingual Content
America Online's newly announced Hong Kong service will offer content and community services in Chinese and English.

The China Internet Corporation will offer local content, networking services, marketing, customer service, and local billing facilities.

Founded in 1995, the China Internet Corporation has alliances with leading news and information companies including Xinhua News, Bloomberg, Reuters, Dun and Bradstreet, Nikkei, Thompson and The Financial Times.

(Financial Times, Britain; February 11, 1998)

Wired Youth or "N-Gen" Will Create Real-Time Enterprises
According to Don Tapscott, author of "Growing Up Digital," online youth today are the first generation in history to possess critical knowledge their elders do not.

Tapscott is chairman of the Alliance For Converging Technologies, a Toronto think tank.

When this crop aged 22 and younger hits the workplace, it will "shake the walls and windows." This generation may create "open organizations where people share ideas rather than suppressing them in order to win turf battles," Tapscott said.

Because of their impatience, the next generation youth or N-Geners will seek to create "a real-time enterprise," one which is "continuously and immediately adjusting to changing customer demands, supplier capabilities, and business conditions."

(Reuters News Agency; February 11, 1998)

French Web Ad Spending to Double in 1998
The French Internet advertising market is expected to double or even triple this year as more people go online and companies reach their audience via the Net.

"In France, the ad spend on banners on the Net was 4.5 million francs in 1996, 22 million in 1997 and we expect 50 million to 75 million francs in 1998," said Cecile Moulard, director of Carat Multimedia, at the launch of the French chapter of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The IAB was first set up in the U.S.; its members include Britain, Germany and France. Future members will include the Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan.

This year, the IAB will start a study by Coopers & Lybrand in Europe on actual Internet ad spending during the first quarter of 1998.

(Reuters News Agency; February 9, 1998)