January, 2000

EATS Told How E-Commerce Bringing
& Forcing Change

Overwhelmed by the rapid pace of emerging information technology, the Internet or e-commerce?

Get used to more -- lots more, Scott Rowland, an e-business specialist with IBM Canada Ltd., told an audience of around 160 at the Edmonton Association of Technical Societies (EATS) dinner on Nov. 18. Sponsored by APEGGA and the Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists (ASET), the third annual EATS dinner followed a Technology for Success exhibition held the same day. EATS allows members of Edmonton technical societies jointly to hear a presentation on a topic of shared interest.

Technologies already available or emerging in the next few years are making businesses change internal and external operations as elements of the supply chain between buyers and sellers are eliminated or bypassed. As a result, Mr. Rowland said, power is migrating from sellers to the buyers who, via the Internet, have access to more options for goods and services. For instance, firms that once quoted different price structures in different countries have to develop a global approach.

Other trends include a) increasing importance of business intelligence and feedback; b) less emphasis on brands and more on the service provided; and c) the creation of new and innovative business alliances, including aggregators, offering sites where buyers and sellers of certain products or services can connect. New Internet-based ways of conducting business-to-business transactions will increase returns.

By 2002, devices other than traditional personal computers -- including various wearable wireless devices attached to belts, glasses or headsets, as well as mobile phones -- will be accessing half of the information retrieved from the Internet. Applications might include maintenance personnel accessing information online to carry out repairs. Similar access will prove helpful to travelling sales personnel.

"The technology will be with you everywhere, whether you're at home, whether you're in your car or whether you're walking about."

In our homes, vehicles and elsewhere devices will integrate technologies using voice recognition or security features linked to other unique personal characteristics.

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