RealTime IT News

E-commerce Steals Spanish Trade Show

E-commerce was the order of the day at Spain's computer, multimedia and telecommunications fair, with global digerati debating the future of Net-based business.

In addition to technical seminars on Net commerce, this year's SIMO TCI fair played host to the CommerceNet '98 Global Summit. International delegates gathered for CN's first-ever European meeting to compare notes on key issues like security, interoperability and new business models.

The interoperability limelight went to the XML-based eCo System framework, whose intellectual author, Jay Marty Tenenbaum, founder of CommerceNet, was also on-hand.

According to Tenenbaum, the eCo System overcomes traditional e-commerce obstacles by facilitating "spontaneous commerce between trading partners without custom integration or prior agreement on industry-wide standards" and by paving "an incremental path to business automation, whereby browser-based tasks are gradually transferred to computer agents."

"Through CommerceNet, with the eCo System, there is interoperability between companies," said Hajime Kimura, Chairman of the Global Electronic Commerce Board.

On the security front, American delegates praised their European counterparts for their lead in electronic privacy issues. Europeans lauded American companies for doing business despite unresolved security issues.

But despite all the talk of technology and digital challenges, the core issue was business in the digital age.

"There's more than enough technology to do almost anything we can envision," said Leslie Lundquist, author of Selling Online for Dummies. "Our challenge is to invent the new business models that can be enabled by all the technology."

While huge, multinational corporations may have a competitive edge due to name recognition and brand loyalty, delegates agreed that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could be a driving force behind these nascent business models.

"An important condition to maximize potential benefits in Europe is the involvement of SME's," said Gabriella Cattaneo, delegate for Databank Consulting, Italy. "If existing SMEs and new cyber-entrepreneurs are able to exploit the new commercial opportunities in the electronic market place, they will provide an important driver of growth with a strong potential for new job creation."

CommerceNet, Inc. is a global non-profit organization dedicated to promoting interoperable electronic commerce at the world level. Founded in California in April 1994, it now represents over 500 organizations and companies worldwide.

The CN Global Summit, along with the MacWorld Expo, coincided with the annual SIMO TCI fair, held Nov. 3-8 in Madrid.