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