RealTime IT News

ItalyStarSystem to Merge Italian Net Development

[Fiuggi, ITALY] Unification and ease of entry into the global B2C and B2B marketplace will be the key to Net development in Italy, according to a presentation by Star System Roma S.p.A.

"Italy offers a wealth of products and services that must be part of our nation's future e-commerce," explained Umberto Vitale, General Manager of Star System Roma. "We cannot wait for small- and medium-sized enterprises to enter the new economy under their own initiative. Many of those involved - whether in the tourism, manufacturing, or gastronomic sectors - are not educated with regards to Web technology and what the Internet offers. This is a major stumbling block. Secondly, those companies that do establish a Web presence often lack the marketing skills or financing to make their site into a revenue source."

To overcome these obstacles, Star System Roma, in partnership with Finmeccanica, the country's second largest industrial group after Fiat, is investing nearly $35 million for the development of the national portal, www.ItalyStarSystem.com. Initially developed to facilitate Italy's tourism industry - in particular the 2000 Jubilee festivities at the Vatican - Vitale expressed that the model will now be expanded to encompass all regions and all areas of commerce.

"Already we have signed strategic alliances with the regions of Calabria, Lazio, Sicily, and the Province of Rome. These partners will assist in the expansion of a national portal that, eventually, will be a virtual, one-stop, shopping mall. Whatever one desires, if it is produced or offered in Italy, will be online."

While France, Germany, Holland, and the United Kingdom, race to catch up to the United States, Italy lags in Internet development due, primarily, to cost-of-access and lack of education. The ItalyStarSystem portal promises to eliminate the complexities of establishing a Web business for small and medium sized companies by doing the hands-on work for them. This is possible through the support of regional and local governments, as well as affiliations with such organizations as Confcommercio, a national federation for commerce, tourism and services.

Established in the mid-1990s as a local portal, Star System Roma has since developed into a countrywide enterprise. Its early alliances with leading industries have provided funding and technical support enjoyed by few privately owned Web expansions.

The leading backer of ItalyStarSytem is the former state-owned Finmeccanica, a corporation controlling a much of Italy's industrial wealth, particularly in the aviation and military sectors. Under the Finmeccanica umbrella are companies like Alenia, Agusta, Ansaldo, and Ansaldo Breda. The national portal, according to some, is the industrial conglomerate's way to emerge itself, and the nation, into the new economy.

"ItalyStarSystem will be fully satellite transmitted," Vitale explained, "to insure global speed. The cost behind such an initiative prohibits small- and medium-sized enterprises to provide this service. Our vision is to open new doors for all Italian business, but in particular those that are without the required resources. It is the unification and ease of entry of the portal that will launch Italy and its products onto the Internet."