Archive for February, 2000

VALENTINE ONLINE – FEBRUARY 2000

Tuesday, February 1st, 2000

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the Internet Alliance (USA) sponsored a lunch to discuss finding love online. Titled "Cupid and the Cop," the lunch featured a discussion with Bill Schreiner, AOL’s ‘CEO of Love,’ and Terry M Gudaitis, the cyber-profiler from Global Integrity. Bill Schreiner directs love@AOL. He and Terry were in agreement on how individuals can use the Internet in rewarding and safe ways. In terms of choosing an online screen name, for example, Terry warned against selecting a name that you would not feel comfortable wearing on a T-shirt in public.

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B2B E-COMMERCE TO LEAP AHEAD – FEBRUARY 2000

Tuesday, February 1st, 2000

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have released a study in which they forecast that online business-to-business e-commerce is set to explode during the next few years.

Among the projections arising out of the study:

– the Internet will account for one quarter of all business-to-business purchases by 2003;

– if the online market continues its present 33% per annum growth rate it will have a transaction value of US$2.8 trillion by2003;

– Internet business-to-business transactions will have overtaken and forged ahead of the private network market by 2003 (compared with the 1998 figures, when private networks generated six times as much B2B sales revenue as the online market).

North America is the world leader in B2B e-commerce. Its market is twice the size of that of the rest of the world combined. It is not expected to lose this lead, in spite of predicted future growth in Western Europe.

BCG see retail, motor vehicles, shipping, industrial equipment, high tech and government as being the main areas of significance in B2B e-commerce and they report cost reductions as the major driver in the move to e-commerce.

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BANDWIDTH TOP PRIORITY FOR BUSINESSES – FEBRUARY 2000

Tuesday, February 1st, 2000

Streaming media offers companies advantages when it comes to improving business processes and cutting communications costs. But there are also reasons why the vast majority of businesses do not yet stream video, audio, and graphics over their networks. High on that list of reasons is bandwidth. According to the HTRC Group, bandwidth is a serious consideration in terms of performance and user experience.

Engineers at West Virginia University are testing a variety of streaming video technologies on their network with the aim of deploying distance learning and other multimedia applications. The university uses 7.2Mb/s video streams to provide high-quality images.

But fast video streams don’t only support larger images and better resolution. They also place bigger demands on network resources. So, even with the university’s 622Mb/s asynchronous transfer mode connections, the technology has limitations. And as the HDTV (High Definition Television) video streaming standard begins to replace MPEG-1 and MPEG-4 (Motion Picture Experts Group) video streaming standards, the problem will get worse because compressed HDTV video streams run at 18Mb/s and uncompressed HDTV at 1.5Gb/s.

But few companies will be running even 7.2Mb/s streams, which actually exceed MPEG standards, across their networks. Most will stick to either the MPEG-1 standard, which supports video streams going over the network at speeds ranging from 900Kb/s to 1.5Mb/s, or MPEG-4, which specifies video streaming at 20Kb/s to 6Mb/s. Still, IT departments need to be smart about deploying streaming media at any level, so as to minimise bandwidth problems.

IT departments can confront the bandwidth issue in a number of other ways:

– Use multicast technology: companies can reduce the number of individual streams traversing their networks by using multicast technology. Instead of sending many streams to different users, multicast sends out a single stream and lets any user interested in receiving it tap in. Most LAN and WAN switches have multicast features built into them.

– Send streams in variable speeds: some video software and equipment, including products from Microsoft and RealNetworks Inc, allows users to encode streams at multiple bit rates. A multicast stream can be accessed at a high bit rate by PCs on a LAN, allowing the PCs to display full-screen, high-quality images. Remote users connected to a WAN would receive the same streamed media at a lower bit rate, which would produce high-quality, but not full-screen, images. Users dialing in via modem would receive the lowest-speed streams and the lowest quality of video, and still be able to hear the streamed audio.

– Institute quality of service: quality-of-service features built into networking equipment can help users control the amount of bandwidth allocated to a specific application. IT managers can set precise thresholds as to the amount of bandwidth used in a video application, thus helping to ensure that it doesn’t affect the performance of other applications on the network.

– Cache content: Cache video content on servers throughout the network, close to users accessing it. This minimises the traffic generated by centralised servers sending streams to outlying users.

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SPORTAL – FEBRUARY 2000

Tuesday, February 1st, 2000

Sportal, founded as Pangolin in 1998, is a global and independent sports media organisation.

It creates, manages, promotes and commercially develops Web sites, either in partnership with major sports entities or under its own brand names. Sportal’s headquarters are in London and there are Sportal offices in Paris, Milan, Madrid, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Munich, Melbourne, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

The Sportal Network already includes the official sites for Juventus (juventus.it), AC Milan (acmilan.com), AC Parma (acparma.it), Paris Saint-Germain (psg.fr) and Bayern Munich (fcbayern.de), among others. Sporting Lisbon joins the network next month. Single-sport sites include Scrum.com, the premier rugby Web site, and the country-focused football sites sportal.co.uk, sportal.it, sportal.fr and sportal.es. In the next few months, Sportal-branded multi-sport sites will join existing multi-sport sites in Denmark (infosport.dk) and Sweden (sportnow.se).

Sportal creates sites with compelling content and leading-edge functionality and features. The Sportal Network provides a global technological and commercial infrastructure, enabling Sportal’s partners to benefit from economies of scale in technology and software development, and provides international advertisers and commercial partners with access to targeted audiences.

UK-based, BskyB recently took a 5.4% shareholding in the company.

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TELE-IMMERSION AND TELENEUROSURGERY VIA INTERNET2 – FEBRUARY 2000

Tuesday, February 1st, 2000

Internet2 development carries the promise of bigger and better communications technologies, according to Nua Internet Surveys.

Currently, Internet2, a high-performance successor to the Internet, is being designed by a group of US universities, government agencies, and corporate sponsors. The developers expect that the mainstream Internet community eventually will adopt the network. According to NUA Internet Surveys, the rise of Internet2 brings with it a myriad possibilities – for instance, virtual reality may become convenient with tele-immersion, a technology that projects realistic 3D images of people anywhere in the world.

Researchers are also testing teleneurosurgery, in which a surgeon can operate on a patient located halfway around the world. IBM analysts believe that the Internet revolution is only 3% complete, and that 1 billion users creating 1,000 times more traffic will be online by 2005. Nua Internet Surveys says this growth, as well as the new applications being tested, requires the stronger technology and greater bandwidth that only Internet 2 can provide.

Internet2 Web address: www.internet2.edu

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