NetWatch

Issue No 5

12 February 1997


GLOBAL VILLAGE

Finland - Its cold and there's nothing else to do?

Finland's 5m people are the most wired nation in the world. Banking, shopping, and socialising are migrating from the real world to the virtual faster rate here than anywhere else.

There are 62 Internet- connected computers per thousand residents in Finland, twice the rate in the U.S. The five Nordic countries--Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark--are among the top 15 Internet connected populations. This year, Finnish government and private industry plans to spend $425 million to educate 600,000 students and 400,000 adults on the use of the Internet. By the 2000, all of the country's 5,000 schools may be hooked to the Internet.

Hong Kong - Internet a broadband of hope?

The Internet may serve as a potential outlet of uncensored information in Hong Kong after the territory's return to Chinese rule, according to a report on the Internet in Asia by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC). Penetration and acceptance of the Internet is quite high in Hong Kong, and the network of ethnic Chinese stretches World-wide.

PERC said the Internet had expanded its reach in the region over the past year, offering a huge amount of information about Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Online Job Search Service Launched In Asia JobAsia, a new interactive online job searching service, was launched in Hong Kong recently.

"JobAsia makes use of the Internet to hunt for jobs faster, easier and more conveniently," according to director Bosco Lam. The service took a year to prepare. "Our research has shown that someone looking for a directorial or managerial position in Hong Kong finds only 14 percent of jobs advertised in a major newspaper as relevant," said product manager Elaing Wong.

SERVICES ON-LINE

For Internet Shoppers - coupons?

If your a retailer you will be familiar with the old see if it worked technique. See if your advertising was effective by adding a redeemable coupon. Well the Internet can do this as well. With a printer attached the customer can print out one of those "present this get a $1 off your next milkshake" coupons. They will print a hundred you say, not really they have to get organised and gather all their mates, remember its one per person and anyway how many milkshakes can one kid drink, and wasn't it what you wanted anyway? Works for big tickets items as well.

The petticoats pounce

Market segment or just the Internet powder room? Women are finding the Internet a useful place to join together for commercial clout. Women's Wire -- the leading interactive magazine for women on the Web, has launched Beatrice's Web Guide. "Through our flagship product, Women's Wire, we have learned a lot about what women want and need from the Web.

This new partnership leverages our strength in producing compelling interactive content with Yahoos tremendous distribution capabilities," said Ellen Pack, Founder of Wire Networks, Inc. and the creator and inspiration for Beatrice's persona. Industry research firm, Intelliquest, estimates that women represent 56 percent of the people intending to go online in the near future.

SURVEYS

What exactly are they buying

Much as you'd expect The most popular items purchased by on-line shoppers were PC software (53%), books (37%), and CD's/tapes (30%). Other items purchased include PC hardware, airline tickets, clothes, and consumer electronics. A survey from NFO Interactive predicts that growth in 1997 will have an effect on traditional retail and direct mail outlets.

Fifty-five percent of on-line and Internet households participating in the survey made purchases via the Internet during 1996, with 89% of on-line holiday shoppers indicating that they were pleased with their on-line shopping experience, and 58% planning to do more in 1997.

Spending the Euros.

Western Europe has the highest level of Internet shopping, 34 per cent of households that are online in western Europe reported buying goods and services on the Internet, compared with 22 per cent in the US and 17 per cent in Japan.

Telephone and in-home interviews with 18,500 households in 16 countries by IDC/LINK, a division of technology research firm IDC, indicate that many more consumers are buying online than previously thought and the percentage will rise as more homes hook up to the Internet. It predicts the number of Web users will grow from 16.1 million in 1995 - a figure most analysts view as conservative - to 163 million by 2000.

Internet Growth Crucial For InfoTech Sector In 1997

International Data Corporation predicts that slower growth in the PC market in 1997 will be offset by the ballooning of the Internet. Rapid information technology (IT) growth in the U.S. will also help maintain the health of the industry, thanks to an "ideal mix of social, information and computer infrastructures."

World-wide spending on the PC market is estimated to be $182 billion in 1997, 15.5 percent more than that of 1996. Internet users are tipped to double to 68 million globally, while transactions quadruple.

But some users and content providers will also lose interest in the Internet. Slow connections to the U.S. will frustrate users in countries like Australia. Other predictions for 1997: growth of virtual factory outlets, more online marketing business, growth of Web development tools, and proliferation of "push" technologies like PointCast.

Doing Business

Want to buy a cheap computer? 94

The worlds largest second hand computer site on the Internet is physically located in North Carolina and lists about 7000 pieces of equipment. Began in January 1996, the site features everything from mainframes to PC's and includes such hardware as routers, servers, workstations, memory upgrades, disk upgrades, etc. Anyone looking for a particular piece of equipment can search thousands of listings from hundreds of dealers in minutes. Anyone looking to sell or buy a piece of equipment can advertise to over 150 dealers at once. The cost for listing is $US19.95 for three months.

NUTS AND BOLTS

That old speed rush again.

Your laptop cost a fortune but the modem is like Julius Caesar's runners - slow. Metricom Inc. of Los Gatos, Calif., has a wireless modem called Ricochet, which connects the laptop to the Net without using phone lines.

At the moment available only in Washington, San Francisco and Seattle, its to be installed at airports and major cities. Transmitting at 28 Kps and targeted at the business traveller The modem costs $10 a month to rent or $300 to buy together with access charges at about $30 a month for unlimited use, compared with the $20 a month charged by most typical, land-line Net providers.

Lets get serious

WebTV, an electronic box that turns a standard television set into an Internet terminal. WebTV is the first television Internet access device to be mass-marketed to American consumers. It hit stores just in time for the holiday shopping season, and makers of the devices say that sales are strong - although some retailers report lukewarm demand. an The Tube Tame The Internet?

This year will bring a deluge of more products that link the Internet to TV sets. In addition, a number of companies are creating telephones that will receive electronic mail messages and allow users to shop over the graphics-rich World Wide Web portion of the 'Net. No longer will people need a $2,000 computer to visit cyberspace. The new devices will generally sell for $500 or less.

Despite years of technology hype, only about 10 percent of Americans visit the Internet regularly, according to industry estimates. Two-thirds of American households don't have computers, and many of those that do find it too difficult to find their way on line. Setting up Web TV is more like installing a stereo.

The unit looks like a cable TV box and similarly plugs into a TV or VCR. Once turned on, the system automatically configures itself. Within minutes, a user can be visiting Web sites or sending electronic mail messages, even if he or she has never touched a computer before.


Cable Vs ASDL (again)

The question of which way will the mass of consumers go, ADSL, IDSN or Cable TV access is a break point for many giant business enterprises. Analysts are sharply divided over who will win. A recent study by Lawrence Gasman of Communications Industry Researchers in Charlottesville, Va., concluded that cable will ultimately have the edge because its delivery medium, coaxial cable, has more data carrying capacity than copper telephone wires used for ADSL.

Emily Green of Forrester Research in Boston says cable modems have the price edge if you can use them, but small business may opt for ADSL because cable lines don't run through most business districts. And Randy Carlson of the Yankee Group, also in Boston, sees the cable companies retrenching to focus on their core business of delivering video. Burdened by enormous debt, they can't afford a huge investment in new data services. ``The telephone companies will win, definitely,'' he said.

``They have superior experience in two-way interactive communication.'' Both technologies will take years to deploy. By 2001, Communications Industry Researchers projects, there will be 73.5 million connections to the Internet through ordinary telephone modems, 40 million through ISDN, and only 20 million using ADSL or cable

Faster Moriarty 198

Texas Instruments new microprocessor chip can process 1.6 billion instructions per second, making the fast lane a bit faster. The digital-signal processor chip is about 40 times more powerful than a comparable chip found in an ordinary computer modem. A file that currently takes 10 minutes to download from the Internet will take less than five seconds. DSP chips are responsible for such functions as processing sounds, driving modems, and making hard drives spin.

Used at a phone company switching centre or an Internet service company, the new chip can manipulate signals from 24 calls at once, an operation that previously required 24 chips. ``With this chip, not only will more users be able to log on to the Internet, but they will also be able to download files 120 times faster than today,'' said Dale Walsh, vice president for advanced development of U.S. Robotics Inc., a modem manufacturer.

In addition to speed, the chip will allow callers to use one phone line for both regular voice telephone calls and data calls at the same time. Future digital-signal processors in the new product family will be designed for other uses, such as controlling graphics in computers.

Faster and Faster the wagons rolled

Boffins were miffed at the slow speed of the Internet with all that frippery and game playing so they got a system that's a little faster. vVBNS ``very high-speed Backbone Network System,'' going online this month is more than 21,000 times faster than the average modem's.

The network is so fast it could transmit the entire contents of the Library of Congress twice a day - a task that would take an entire month on the Internet. While the general public may never have access to the vBNS, telecommunications companies already are taking lessons learned from the vBNS and using them to help ease congestion on the Internet.

Experts say the Internet could be upgraded to run as fast as the vBNS in five to 10 years, creating consumer opportunities such as downloading a digital-quality, two-hour movie in seconds.

Comment

Whats Your E-mail address

I heard a lawyer say recently if you don't have an e-mail address in the next six months then your not serious about business,

He exaggerates. But as a means of doing business e-mail has a certain edge . One clear advantage is in turning business enquiries around.

In the door and out in 20 minutes is miles ahead of the open the envelopes by 10am distribute them by noon dictate a reply by tomorrow and type and post it by Friday.

e-mail permits you to use the received message as part of the reply. There is no time consuming paraphrasing of the original message. Simply insert the desired comments among the received message and off you go.

For example say you receive the e-mail message
"We expect your ship "Mary Deere" at Yokohama.
Cargo is fertiliser. Anticipated arrival - February 10 freight is payable by your company ."


The reply is easy
The Italics are your reply
We expect your ship "Mary Deere" at Yokohama.
Its the "Mary Rose" - Destination is Nagoya
Cargo is fertiliser.
Cargo is specifically guano
Anticipated arrival - February 10
arrival March 2.
freight is payable by your company ."
May we discuss who is paying the freight
That can take 60 secs and be in Istanbul in an hour..

This is better than the windy fax or letter that starts "I refer to your recent request for a ship load of fertiliser to be delivered to Yokohama at our cost…… etc etc There's less room for ambiguity. All the information is available on one page if required. The business gets turned around immediately.

There no dictation letter opening, waiting for the mail to drift down the hierarchy. It all done and filed with few key strokes. Why not a fax. Well one advantage over a fax is that you do receive it when you want it on your desk on your computer where you can deal to it.

Most large companies have one fax per floor if they are lucky. A fax dump begins to accumulate beside the machine until the office junior does the rounds.

Hours later you sift through everyone's else's fripperies looking for the your serious fax.
Then you have got to fire up the word processor, read their stuff, repeat it, wait to print it, then fax it. You could send the fax from your fancy fax card in your machine. But there's still the wait while their office junior springs into action to deliver it to the person concerned.

E-mail sits on the computer of your Internet supplier until you (or your systems manager on the LAN) logs in and retrieve it. It all yours, nobody else's, and the means to reply is right there at there at hand.

Perhaps faxes are an intervening evolutionary stage that God intended we should have until we all get wired for e-mail. E-mail lets you into the Internet communication game.

You can subscribe to e-mail electronic magazines E-zines) on the Internet. By sending an e-mail message to the magazine which includes a prescribed string of words you become a subscriber. The magazines report or what ever dropped into your electronic mail box from Alaska Finland or wherever.

The reverse can work for your business as well. You can invite anyone browsing your web page to send you an email with the magic words, "Info please" and they will get a products description, suppliers addresses and the Christmas offer by e-mail.

All without you spending a penny at the printer (the receiver prints) or licking a single stamp. One very useful feature of e-mail is attaching a file to the message.

Attaching files means that your eloquent descriptions of your magnificent products, the specifications for your widgets, can be added to the message with a few key strokes.

Sending documents to colleagues for comment or amendment is a breeze. They can uplift the document from their e-mail and deal with it without retyping then send it back.

You can work at home and forward the job to your office for to be wrestled with when the head is clear. And yes if you get program files attached to e-mail they could contain viruses.

A good tip is always to have a disc in the A: drive and save files first to there. Then virus check them and leave them on the disc.

You can get items from the Internet, World Wide Web addresses and attach them e-mail messages to colleagues to demonstrate how widely you roamed the Internet.

There are some very clever e-mail packages for sending and receiving e-mail, most of them free. They offer nicknames so that you don't have to remember long stringy forgettable addresses. You simple sent it to Pete or Mary.

Your incoming mail can be sorted out in to tidy folders And no it's not done to send zillions of messages to all and sundry extolling your widgets. But it would be in order to send your debtors a mass hurry up at a fraction of the usual cost. E-mail is much cheaper than faxes for overseas messages.

A page of a fax to say London depending on the density of the images would cost on average $2.50. By e-mail it should be 2 to 3 cents.
Eventually Lawyers will peruse leases and contracts on secure email connection. Last year more email was sent than snail mail was sent in the USA.

It's the coming thing.