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Vol. 1 Issue 4 14 July 2000 Edited and Published by Jill Brosig, Motorola University Market Research Department Schaumburg, IL USA ―e‖,, ―M‖,, ―e‖,, ―M‖,, OH! ―e‖ ―M‖ ―e‖ ―M‖ OH! A warm wellcome tto tthe addiittiion of M-commerce A warm we come o he add on of M-commerce E-WORLD - E-LEARNING ............................................................................................................................................ 6 E-LEARNING HAS ARRIVED ON THE PLANT FLOOR .......................................................................................... 6 SURGE EXPECTED IN E-LEARNING; 'IT'S CHEAPER, IT'S FASTER, IT'S PERSONALIZED' ............................ 8 E-LEARNING INDUSTRY TO GROW BY 50 PERCENT IN 12 MONTHS;DRAKE BEAM MORIN REVEALS GLOBAL SURVEY FINDINGS ........................................................................................................................................................................10 LEARNING BY WIRE .......................................................................................................................................................11 E-LEARNING BOOM CREATES 120 NEW JOBS .....................................................................................................13 FROM B-SCHOOL TO E-VENTURE ..........................................................................................................................14 MAKING WEB TRAINING WORK .....................................................................................................................................15 TODAY'S TECH-KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY PROVIDES FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS AN EDGE - THEY'RE TRAINING TECHIES AND OFFERING COURSES TO THE MANY WORKERS WHO AIM TO BOOST THEIR CAREERS.........................................................15 INTERNET TRIGGERS A NEW REVOLUTION ......................................................................................................................17 THE WHARTON SCHOOL LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE E-LEARNING INITIATIVE FOR MBA STUDENTS ................................18 E-WORLD – E/M-BUSINESS .......................................................................................................................................19 COMMERCE ADDS AN MCOMPANIES — AND COUNTRIES — ARE WAKING UP TO THE LATEST TREND IN MOBILE CONNECTIVITY, HOPING NOT TO REPEAT THEIR LATE ARRIVAL TO OTHER INTERNET DEVELOPMENTS. ..........................19 DIAL M FOR COMMERCE ................................................................................................................................................20 WAVES OF THE FUTURE ..................................................................................................................................................22 THE NEXT WAVE IN ADVERTISING ..................................................................................................................................26 M-COMMERCE: CELLPHONE INTERNET ACCESS WILL BRING BENEFITS TO CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES ALIKE ............29 OH THE HORROR, THE HORROR: THE NEW WORLD OF WIRELESS COMMERCE RUNS AMOK ..............................................30 THE M-COMMERCE HORIZON ........................................................................................................................................31 E-COMMERCE CARE.......................................................................................................................................................32 M-COMMERCE, THE NEXT BIG THING? ............................................................................................................................34 M-COMMERCE NEW MANTRA FOR INDIAN SOFTWARE FIRMS ..........................................................................................36 WIRELESS BROKERAGE AND FINANCIAL APPS LEAD M-COMMERCE REVOLUTION........................................................37 WORLD'S FIRST COMPLETE M-COMMERCE SYSTEM LAUNCHED ...................................................................................38 NEW COMPANY MAKES MOBILE COMMERCE A REALITY ..............................................................................................39 EUROPE RIPE FOR INTERNET INVESTORS, FUND COMPANY SAYS ..................................................................................39 THE DAY WILL COME WHEN CELL PHONES WILL COME FREE ..........................................................................................41 SECURING FUTURE OF M-COMMERCE REVOLUTION ........................................................................................................42 MOBILE COMMERCE' MAKING MORE NEWS ......................................................................................................43 ORANGE SELECTS AIRFLASH TO DEPLOY LOCATION-BASED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR MAJOR MOBILE INTERNET TRIAL IN U.K. ...........................................................................................................................................................................43 KPMG TO TELCOS: PARTNER UP FOR M-COMMERCE OR DIE ......................................................................................44 MOBILE COMMERCE TAKES OFF .....................................................................................................................................44 TESTING THE WATER .....................................................................................................................................................46 SECURE CONNECTIONS...................................................................................................................................................49 STEERING TOWARD M-COMMERCE ................................................................................................................................51 TANTAU AND EVERYPATH ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO DELIVER ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS TO WIRELESS DEVICES .......................................................................................................................................................................................52 IF YOU STEPPED INTO THE FUTURE, IT WOULD LOOK LIKE FINLAND. A COUNTRY ONCE DISMISSED AS A BACKWARD WILD ERNESS HAS BECOME A BLUEPRINT FOR THE "VIRTUAL NATIONS" OF THE FUTURE. ......................................................................................................................................................................52 MAKE SURE THE PRICE IS RIGHT .....................................................................................................................................58 BUSINESS: MEDIA/COMM/IT ..........................................................................................................................................60 M-COMMERCE: ONLINE SELLING'S WIRELESS FUTURE .................................................................................................61 E-WORLD – E-CITIZENSHIP .....................................................................................................................................63 SMARTFORCE AND CBIA BRIDGE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CONNECTICUT'S DISADVANTAGED .........................................65 COMPANY ENHANCEMENTS/STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS.................................................................................67 CLICK2LEARN.COM FIRST TO SUPPORT MICROSOFT LEARNING RESOURCE INTERCHANGE ............................................67 SMARTFORCE INTRODUCES E-LEARNING WORKSHOPS ..................................................................................................67 INFOCAST TO OFFER TEACH.COM COURSEWARE AS PART OF ITS E-LEARNING SOLUTION.............................................68 CLICK2LEARN.COM DEVELOPS ONLINE TEST PREP COURSEWARE FOR THE PRINCETON REVIEW ..................................68 THREE NEW STUDIES CONFIRM WEBCT'S LEADERSHIP IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION MARKET FOR E-LEARNING ..........68 DIGITALTHINK GARNERS CIO WEB BUSINESS 50/50 AWARD FOR ONLINE EXCELLENCE .............................................69 DIGITALTHINK ENHANCES MICROSOFT OFFICIAL CURRICULUM --MOC-- TO REACH NEW CUSTOMERS ......................69 SABA AND E-GOV 2000 PRESENT 1ST ANNUAL E-LEARNING AWARDS FOR LEADERSHIP AND EXCELLENCE ................70 JOHN BRYCE ANNOUNCES E-LEARNING INITIATIVE .......................................................................................................70 KNOWLEDGENET E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS TO BE RESOLD BY HEWLETT-PACKARD......................................................71 THE E-LEARNING EDGE UP AGAINST RIVAL IBM, LEXINGTON-BASED CENTRA TAKES EARLY LEAD IN THE GROWING MARKET FOR INTERNET-BASED EDUCATION SOFTWARE ...........................................71 PHILIPPINES: AMA RENTING VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS FROM HP......................................................................................73 ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY ADOPTS KNOWLEDGENET E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS ......................................................73 SOFTWARE MAGAZINE RANKS SABA AS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST SOFTWARE COMPANIES ............................74 COMPUWARE ANNOUNCES NEW DOT.COM KNOWLEDGE SITE TAILORED TO INDIVIDUAL CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS .......................................................................................................................................................................................74 UNIVERSITY ACCESS BECOMES FIRST E-LEARNING COMPANY TO PROVIDE ONLINE PRE-MBA FOUNDATION COURSES TO TOP BUSINESS SCHOOLS ...........................................................................................................................................75 GET SMART -- LOTUS WANTS TO BRING TRAINING AND EXPERTISE TO USERS' DESKTOPS..................76 MAJOR GROWTH AT SMARTFORCE .................................................................................................................................81 VCAMPUS PREPARES TO DELIVER UP TO ONE MILLION COURSES PER MONTH TO MEET PROJECTED DEMAND FROM CUSTOMERS ...................................................................................................................................................................81 FUTURELINK LAUNCHES WORKFORCEIQ.COM .............................................................................................................82 SABA ADDED TO RUSSELL 2000 AND 3000 ....................................................................................................................83 GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE EXPANDS SELF-PACED E-LEARNING OFFERINGS WITH ESSENTIALS OF TCP/IP ........................83 LEARN2.COM RECOGNIZED BY YAHOO! INTERNET LIFE AS ONE OF '50 MOST INCREDIBLY USEFUL SITES' FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR .............................................................................................................................................................84 NINTH HOUSE NETWORK LAUNCHES PROGRAM AIMED AT MAXIMIZING EMPLOYEE EFFECTIVENESS .........................84 TRAINERSOFT BUILDS BIZ LEARNING APPS FAST .............................................................................................................85 GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE RELEASES SELF-PACED E-LEARNING ON ESSENTIALS OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS ....................86 COGNITIVE ARTS AND HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING PARTNER TO DEVELOP FIRST WEB-BASED PRE- MATRICULATION COURSES FOR HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS.....................................................................87 NEW HORIZONS IDENTIFIED AS WORLD'S REVENUE GROWTH LEADER FOR IT TRAINING .............................................87 PARTNERSHIPS ............................................................................................................................................................88 EDS AND DIGITALTHINK FORM GLOBAL STRATEGIC ALLIANCE FOR E-LEARNING ......................................................88 CLICK2LEARN.COM PARTNERS WITH KNOWHOW TO DISTRIBUTE LEADING SALES TRAINING COURSES .......................88 VERCOMNET SELECTS LUVIT AS EXCLUSIVE E-LEARNING PARTNER........................................................89 SIEBEL SYSTEMS SELECTS DIGITALTHINK TO BUILD AND PROVIDE E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS ......................................89 MED ON WEB ENHANCES ITS SERVICE OFFERING BY CREATING AN E-LEARNING CENTER FOR PHYSICIANS THROUGH PARTNERSHIP WITH HEALTHSTREAM ............................................................................................................................89 EDUPRISE TEAMS WITH WBT TO PROVIDE STRATEGIC E-LEARNING SERVICES.............................................................89 SMARTFORCE AND TURBOLINUX TEAM UP TO PROVIDE E-LEARNING SEMINARS ON LINUX SOLUTIONS......................90 PENSARE PARTNERS WITH E-BUSINESS EXPERT TO PRODUCE NEW APPLIED E-LEARNING MODULES ..........................90 E-LEARNING LEADERS OFFER NEXT GENERATION TRAINING SOLUTION BASED ON CISCO TECHNOLOGY ...................90 WEBCT.COM ANNOUNCES FOUR NEW TECHNOLOGY ALLIANCES.................................................................................91 KNOWLEDGENET AND MENTOR TECHNOLOGIES JOIN FORCES TO ENHANCE TRAINING OPTIONS FOR NETWORK ENGINEERS .....................................................................................................................................................................91 BIGCHALK.COM AND BLACKBOARD PARTNER TO PROVIDE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TO THE K-12 COMMUNITY 92 WEBCT AND HOUGHTON MIFFLIN ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE .........................................................................92 GENEED AND CAMBRIDGE HEALTHTECH INSTITUTE ANNOUNCE A WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION PARTNERSHIP TO PROVIDE ADVANCED E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS TO THE LIFE SCIENCE COMMUNITY ........................................................93 DOCTORSURF.COM JOINS FORCES WITH HEALTHSTREAM TO OFFER CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION VIA WEBSITE .......................................................................................................................................................................................93 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SELECTS LGUIDE.COM AS PORTAL FOR ALL E-LEARNING COURSES...............................93 SCT AND WEBCT FINALIZE EXCLUSIVE ARRANGEMENT TO EXTEND MARKET LEADERSHIP IN E-LEARNING TO THE HIGHER EDUCATION MARKET........................................................................................................................................94 SKILLSOFT AND PROGRESSIVE SOLUTIONS CORPORATION IN PARTNER AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE SOFT SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAMS ....................................................................................................................................................94 LEARNFRAME(TM) AND HORIZONLIVE(TM) MAKE LIVE TRAINING MORE EFFECTIVE!...............................................95 EDS AND DIGITALTHINK PARTNER ON ONLINE LEARNING .............................................................................................95 EMIND.COM AND IP IPELINE.COM CREATE NEW ONLINE LEARNING DESTINATION FOR INSURANCE AGENTS ................95 INSIDE TRACK 260 BUSINESS EDUCATION: TUCK SCHOOL IN VENTURE WITH E-LEARNING SPECIALIST NEWS FROM CAMPUS ..........................................................................................................................................................96 DIGITERRA, WEBCT JOIN FORCES TO CREATE ENTERPRISE-WIDE INTERNET SOLUTION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS .................................................................................................................................................................96 ACQUISITIONS .............................................................................................................................................................97 DIGITALTHINK ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF ARISTA KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS .............................................................97 HEALTHSTREAM TO ACQUIRE EDUCATION DESIGN, INC. ..............................................................................................97 FORUM AND FT KNOWLEDGE COMBINE TO CREATE LEADING CORPORATE TRAINING AND E-LEARNING COMPANY ...99 SPC TRAINING B.V. OF THE NETHERLANDS COMPLETES MERGER..............................................................................100 INSITE ESTABLISHED ON CONTINENT WITH ACQUISITION OF CONSULTING FIRM MTSI.....................101 PENSARE EXPANDS PREMIER BUSINESS EDUCATION CONTENT THROUGH ACQUISITION OF EMENTORING.COM ........101 COMPANY CONTRACTS ..........................................................................................................................................103 SMARTFORCE LANDS MULTI-YEAR E-LEARNING CONTRACT WITH SIEMENS MEDICAL SYSTEMS, INC. .....................103 THREE-YEAR AGREEMENT WITH NATIONAL NEPHROLOGY ASSOCIATES REPRESENTS EXPANSION OF HEALTHSTREAM'S E-LEARNING MODEL INTO DIALYSIS INDUSTRY .............................................................................103 MAJOR NEW YORK CITY HOSPITAL CHOOSES LEARN2.COM E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS................................................103 LEARN2.COM ANNOUNCES ALLIANCE WITH COMPAQ .................................................................................................104 FORD MOTOR COMPANY (US) BUYS INTO SOLSTRA FOR FURTHER THREE YEARS ...................................................104 WEBCT ANNOUNCES NEW CONSORTIUM LICENSING AGREEMENT WITH OVER 30 POST SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS IN ONTARIO ......................................................................................................................................................................104 LEARNLINC SELECTS NETMANAGE SUPPORTNOW SDK FOR LIVE ONLINE LEARNING APPLICATIONS .......................105 PHILIPPINES BHI UNIT, CANADA S INFOCAST SIGN AGREEMENT ..............................................................105 PRIMELEARNING.COM(TM) ADDS A POWERFUL NEW COMPONENT TO ITS ELEARNING SYSTEM THROUGH AN ALLIANCE WITH LEARNFRAME.....................................................................................................................................106 E-LEARNING STARTUP GRABS BIG U.S. CONTRACT: DEAL EXPECTED TO ADD UP TO $4.5M IN REVENUE IN 2000 ........106 T.H.E. INSTITUTE SELECTS CAMPUSSTREAM E-LEARNING HOSTING SERVICE............................................................107 E-LEARNING CONFERENCES ................................................................................................................................108 CONFERENCE PAYS TRIBUTE TO STATE'S EARLY ADOPTION OF E-LEARNING ................................................................108 E-LEARNING SEMINAR REVEALS STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS.......................................................................................109 WOLCE .......................................................................................................................................................................109 REVOLUTION IN E-LEARNING! GIANT STEPS TOWARD FUTURE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE! .....................................................................................................................................................................110 MOBILE COMMERCE CONFERENCE AND EXPO ANNOUNCES CONFERENCE PROGRAM; NEW EVENT FOCUSES ON WIRELESS E-BUSINESS APPLICATIONS .........................................................................................................................112 FINANCIALS AND QUARTERLY EARNINGS REPORTS...................................................................................113 SMARTFORCE REPORTS STRONG SECOND QUARTER 2000 RESULTS............................................................................113 INTRAWARE ACHIEVES RECORD FIRST QUARTER REVENUES OF $41.5 MILLION .........................................................114 CENQUEST RAISES $8.25 MILLION IN SECOND ROUND OF FUNDING ............................................................................115 ENGLISHTOWN.COM SECURES $16 MILLION IN FIRST-ROUND FINANCING FROM ATLAS VENTURE ............................115 CERTIFICATION AND SPECIALIZED COURSEWARE .....................................................................................117 CLICK2LEARN.COM AND SAIC TEAM TO LAUNCH TERRORISM RESPONSE TRAINING ON THE INTERNET .....................117 INFORMATION MANAGEMENT GROUP PARTNERS WITH CLICK2LEARN.COM TO OFFER WEB-BASED MCSE AND MCSD MICROSOFT CERTIFICATION TRAINING ........................................................................................................................117 E-LEARNING TARGETS SENSITIVE LEGAL ISSUES -- CCH OFFERS ONLINE COURSE ON PREVENTION OF WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT ................................................................................................................117 NETG BRINGS ADVANCED E-LEARNING TO JCERT PROGRAM .....................................................................................118 THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF LONDON SELECTS MEDSCHOOL.COM AS ITS ONLINE EDUCATIONAL PARTNER .....................................................................................................................................................................................118 RCSI LAUNCHES WORLD'S FIRST ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAMME FOR SURGEONS .......................................................119 CYBERSTATEU.COM OFFERS INDUSTRY'S FIRST WEB-BASED LINUX PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTE CERTIFICATION TRAINING .....................................................................................................................................................................119 REGIONAL REPORTS – ASIA, INDIA, AND AUSTRALIA .................................................................................121 PROS AND CONS OF E-LEARNING ..................................................................................................................................121 SMARTFORCE TO LAUNCH E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS IN MALAYSIA .............................................................................122 FUTURELINK AND CHINA'S GO4IT TEAM UP TO DELIVER E-LEARNING SOLUTION TO CHINESE ENTERPRISE MANAGERS .....................................................................................................................................................................................123 QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT E-LEARNING' ......................................................................................................................124 CHILDREN FUELLING INTERNET EXPLOSION .................................................................................................................126 SCHOOL OFFERING DISTANCE EDUCATION USING HEWLETT-PACKARD E-SERVICES .....................................................127 BRACE FOR BOOM IN E-LEARNING SOON .......................................................................................................................128 BOOM IN E-LEARNING IN ASIA NOW .............................................................................................................................129 DEAKIN AUSTRALIA SELECTS WBT TO DELIVER TOPCLASS E-LEARNING TO OVER 50,000 USERS ............................129 EDUCATION FOR BUSY EXECUTIVES .............................................................................................................................130 E-LEARNING COMES TO THE FORE ................................................................................................................................130 CAN E-LEARNING BRIDGE LITERACY GAPS?..................................................................................................................131 REGIONAL REPORTS – EUROPE ...........................................................................................................................134 EASYCANDO CHOSEN FOR MAJOR EUROPEAN E-LEARNING PARTNERSHIP ....................................................................134 DELEGATES TOLD LOOK HARD AT LOCALISING ALL COURSES ......................................................................................134 IQSOFT CO. AND JOHN BRYCE LTD. ESTABLISH NEW IT TRAINING—E-LEARNING CENTER IN HUNGARY ................135 CENQUEST FINDS THE DOUGH TO RAMP UP EUROPEAN STRATEGY ...............................................................................136 REGIONAL REPORTS – LATIN AMERICA...........................................................................................................137 SMARTFORCE EXTENDS THE REACH OF ITS E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS TO LATIN AMERICA AND SPAIN ........................137 e-World - e-Learning Fortune June 26, 2000 E-LEARNING HAS ARRIVED ON THE PLANT FLOOR The 1,100 assemblers of workstations and computer servers at Sun Microsystems' big plant in Newark, Calif., across San Francisco Bay from Silicon Valley, have entered the world of e-learning. Formerly, when the plant had an "active process alert," which usually involves a change in assembly methods, an engineer would come down to the plant floor and explain it to a technician called a manufacturing training specialist. The technician would then approach the team most directly concerned and instruct the workers how to go about complying. The assemblers now receive such instructions electronically. They get a flashing alert on the screens of Sun workstations hanging at their workplaces. Then they learn of the change, which may be as minor as using green wires instead of blue ones, spelled out in a sentence. A more complex change might bring with it graphic instructions onscreen and sometimes even TV clips. All alerts are now dated and recorded in an easily accessible database, which pleases John Aleck no end. As Sun's worldwide manager for manufacturing training, operating out of the Newark plant, Aleck has been concerned for some time about the spotty paper record of the alerts and how the workers responded. "It was a nightmare looking for those scraps of paper," he says. "They would get lost or misfiled. It was dig, dig, dig in somebody's filing cabinet. Sometimes those cabinets would be locked." Dealing more efficiently with process alerts is just one small part of the new e-learning and e-training system at Sun. For the first time, assembly workers can sharpen their knowledge of their jobs by tapping into a large selection of company-created electronic courses. Finding e-learning subject matter is easy. If an assembler wants to know how to avoid scratching the cabinets of workstations and servers being assembled, for instance, he or she simply types in the word "scratches" in the TITLE box under ALL CURRICULA on a workstation screen. In seconds, the course appears. Generally the courses take about 30 minutes, though some run as long as ten four-hour sessions. Without leaving their assigned spots, workers can take the courses during downtimes on the assembly lines. The way the workers are organized at the Newark plant--into independent teams of 21--makes it possible for a team and a technician to schedule as much as four hours of uninterrupted e-training during working hours. On slow days a team could be taking a course on how to avoid electrostatic discharges from workers' bodies to products being assembled. A natural high-voltage spark from the body can ruin a new $ 1,200 hard drive inside a computer server. The course tells an assembler how to wear anti-spark gear, and to keep his or her feet on an antidischarge platform. E-learning is also known as distance-learning or on-demand learning. Unlike classroom training, it is available anytime, day or night. "If there's a swing shift or a weekend shift, they can do it at any time," says Aleck. Electronic learning offers unmatched shortcuts to training workers both individually and en masse. Adds Aleck: "You can inform the work force via a mass e-mail message that they need to take this course. They can take it, and immediately their skills are enhanced." The company, moreover, can easily keep track of what its employees have learned. Students are tested online both before and after an e-learning segment. This has special advantages. If a student misses a question, says Jerry Neece, manager of Sun's "network academy," the e-learning program can present the material he didn't absorb over again and retest until he comprehends it adequately. Says Neece: "You can't do that in a classroom without embarrassing the heck out of a student and taking an extraordinary amount of time." A leader in e-learning, Sun has been training its computer programmers for some time via electronic courses offered by Sun University, its corporate teaching system. Bringing e-learning to the assembly line is much more recent, but Sun is not alone. Cisco Systems, whose assemblers have access to electronic learning like Sun's, has transformed 90% of its courses from paper to e-learning in the past 12 months, says Thomas M. Kelly, vice president for worldwide training. Along with on-demand learning, Cisco offers live training programs that are scheduled for specific times. In an Internet version of a classroom, these programs allow direct interaction of a student with a live instructor via audio, video, or e-mail. This trend is not confined to Silicon Valley companies bursting with workstations and PCs. It's spreading fast among such old-economy industrial companies as Kodak, Motorola, Rockwell Collins, and Cutler- Hammer. A Pittsburgh-based subsidiary of Eaton Corp. that makes electricity-controlling equipment for industrial use, Cutler-Hammer has just established a corporate university to train new hires and refresh the knowledge of older technicians and engineers. Cutler-Hammer's online courses include such subjects as Basics of Motor Control and Fundamentals of Circuit Breakers. The latter course features graphics such as a drawing of a hand (representing voltage) pushing along a ball (which stands for current) to indicate that it takes the pressure of voltage to keep the current moving. E-learning is expected to grow rapidly. According to Brandon Hall, president of Brandon-Hall.com, a consulting firm in Sunnyvale, Calif., and author of Web-Based Training Cookbook, about 10% of all corporate learning currently takes place on computers, a figure he predicts will reach 50% by 2003. Much of today's computer learning is done with CD-ROMs, but Hall expects online e-learning to grow much more rapidly because it's a cheaper way to disseminate knowledge and can be updated quickly. Computers still won't completely eliminate classrooms, which according to Hall will account for most of the other half of corporate learning three years from now. Sun's brand-new manufacturing workers still get a week of classroom instruction, and some complex manufacturing tasks, such as the assembly of a jet engine or the operation of a computerized machine tool, are still taught best with the help of a live expert using real engines and machine tools. Hall and other experts say that properly designed e-learning can be more effective than most classroom instruction. If so, it could fill a major need, because today's workers have more to learn. Both products and the production methodologies to make them are getting more complex. At Sun a new product is introduced every four months, and new assembly techniques must be mastered. On top of that, workers must learn government safety rules and international ISO9000 quality-control standards. For many industries, efficient training is the only road to survival, because they will need to recruit legions of new workers. A University of Michigan study shows that half of today's autoworkers will start drawing their pensions in 2003, leaving an astounding 240,000 job openings. Shortages of skilled computer operators, in manufacturing plants as well as offices, are already severe. To alleviate the shortage, Sun, Cisco, and other Silicon Valley giants employ what they call "pick teams," which roam such areas as poor neighborhoods in East Palo Alto, and even homeless shelters, to recruit trainees. E-learning is growing faster than CD-ROMs for a variety of reasons. It takes time to create a CD-ROM, sometimes as long as nine months. "By the time it's ready," says Sun's Aleck, "the information on it may be outdated." He doesn't plan to use CD-ROMs at the Newark plant. Production costs can run as high as $ 200,000 for a one-hour CD-ROM whose course material is embellished with fancy graphics and TV animation. The cost of setting up an hour of e-learning--including course content--runs $ 100,000 at the most and as little as $ 5,000. Because of its limited bandwidth, online learning can't match the richness of material it's possible to present on a CD-ROM. E-teachers get around that limitation by simplifying their graphics, as Cutler-Hammer has done with its hand and ball images. To reduce e-learning costs further, companies often farm out the setting up and running of a training program to a so-called applications service provider. Sun has enlisted VeriLogix of Torrance, Calif., a leading name in a niche that's bursting at the seams as e-learning booms. CEO Thomas W. Kristy predicts that privately held VeriLogix will register 300% sales growth in revenues this year. VeriLogix concentrates on the transmission of e-learning programs for the plant floor. Kristy grew up in manufacturing and still owns a small semiconductor equipment maker in Los Angeles. Setting up e-training on the manufacturing floor, he says, is a lot more difficult than sending a group of executives to a weeklong training seminar. One reason is the complexity and flexibility of manufacturing. For each manufacturing client, Kristy has to customize his software, charging up to $ 600,000 for an especially difficult job. His clients range from a GE jet engine plant in Ontario, Calif., to the Robert Mondavi vineyard in the northern part of the state. By signing up with such service providers--which include big companies like Hewlett-Packard that are entering the scene--corporations don't have to purchase costly servers to store instructional material. Companies like VeriLogix do it for them. VeriLogix typically maintains a battery of its own Sun servers with enough capacity to handle 300,000 student users; 2,000 can simultaneously log on to a specific course. The course content--the "water," which flows through the electronic pipes installed by VeriLogix and others--comes from many sources. For Sun's active process alerts, the content is created in-house. Dozens of vendors supply course content for e-learning. Those that specialize in manufacturing training include ITC Learning in Herndon, Va., Meridian Knowledge Solutions in Chantilly, Va., Mastery Technology in Novi, Mich., and General Physics Corp. in Troy, Mich. Subjects include machinery operation and repair, the handling of hazardous materials, and plant safety. Corporations know that by making this kind of knowledge instantly available through e-learning, they gain an edge. When every competitor has the same production equipment, the winner can turn out to be the one whose workers learn fastest how to use it. THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC June 18, 2000 SURGE EXPECTED IN E-LEARNING; 'IT'S CHEAPER, IT'S FASTER, IT'S PERSONALIZED' E-learning, also called computer-based training, Web-based training or "Webucation," is expected to become a huge business, and Valley companies ranging from KnowledgeNet to Corpedia LLC to Learning- Edge Inc. are racing to become big players in the fragmented, regionally based industry. Wall Street has embraced e-learning as "the next big e-business thing for corporations," Red Herring magazine reports, and Cisco Systems' CEO John Chambers is widely quoted for his prediction that within years e-learning will make e-mail "look like a rounding error." Big corporations like Wells Fargo Bank use e-learning to train employees ranging from new hires in the phone banks to project managers in information technology. "It's cheaper, it's faster, and it's more personalized to the learner," said Holly Kurtz, vice president of talent management/learning and development for the 104,000-employee bank. KnowledgeNet, which generated $1 million in sales in its start-up year, is predicting more than $10 million in sales and 225 course titles this year. It counts 1,000 companies, many of them Fortune 500 firms, as clients. The spread of the Internet, along with the time and cost savings e-learning offers corporations and their workers, are big reasons behind the boom. "The business world has begun to move at such a fast pace that there are people who don't want to go to instructor-led training because they're going to get behind at work," said Patrick Stoner, president of Learning-Edge. The Chandler company, which does custom e-learning programs for large corporations, expects to triple its sales to $8 million to $10 million next year. "The biggest challenge in training is throughput," or getting people in and out of classrooms, said Ann Boland, a Tucson consultant to the training industry. "If we can distill to the fundamentals, we can train scads more people quickly. And then we can devote classroom training to building skills." Though it accounts for less than 10 percent of the training market now, experts say e-learning is growing as knowledge skills become a more important part of the economy, as companies realize well-trained employees can be a competitive advantage, and as more companies put more personal computers on employees' desks and in their homes. Computer skills and information technology certification have been the most popular topics for e- learning. But the industry lately has been getting into "soft skills," like management and customer service, and legal issues like sexual harassment and safety regulations. Phoenix-based Corpedia, which last month signed management guru Peter Drucker to a 23-title deal, figures its management and business focus will generate $5 million in sales this year. And the Boston research firm International Data Corp. predicts that the soft-skills segment of e-learning will outpace the information-technology side in five years. In the past few years, training has evolved from instructor-led classes to courses taught on CD-ROMs to courses taught over company intranets or the Internet. The quality of programs has been evolving, too - from what some scorn as e-reading, or basically reading handouts or workbooks on line, to courses that feature animation, videos with professional speakers and actors. Courses today are more interactive, as students sit at computers connected to headsets and phone lines that give them the ability to electronically raise their hands and get their questions answered. Courses today also come in time bites as short as 45 minutes to suit working adults' limited time and attention spans. Compared to instructor-led training, though, experts say e-learning still has its disadvantages, including: * There still is a need for people to role-play, practicing their newfound skills in new situations. * Graphic- and animation-rich courses may load slowly onto computers, frustrating rather than educating busy people. * Students may be less able to ask questions and meet and talk to peers. E-learning companies say they are trying to overcome this issue by using background instructors, discussion boards and e-mail. * People often fail to finish courses, either because they got bored or they learned what they needed to finish a project. In response, some e-learning companies have introduced points and rewards systems to create incentives. * Developing courses has an upfront cost, though that has been dropping. A four-hour course that once cost $100,000 to $500,000 can now be done for as low as $27,000, Graunke said. For those reasons, most expect e-learning will mean smaller market share but not the death of traditional instructor-led training. E-learners will see more multimedia, courses that are more movielike and more customized to their skills and learning preferences. Companies and workers can likely expect combinations of e-learning and instructor-led training, where e-learning is used to deliver basic knowledge and instructors come in to answer questions or guide students with new skills. PR Newswire June 27, 2000 e-Learning Industry to Grow by 50 Percent in 12 Months;Drake Beam Morin Reveals Global Survey Findings These findings come from a survey of more than 100 training and human resource professionals from organizations employing an average of 15,000 workers. The survey was conducted by Drake Beam Morin, the world's leading provider of strategic human resource solutions, at the American Society of Training and Development Conference held last month in Dallas, Texas. The conference was attended by more than 11,000 professionals from 85 countries. e-Learning continues to grow at an astounding rate: 42 percent of organizations are now using e- Learning solutions for their employees' business, management and technical skills development. Of those companies not currently using e-Learning solutions, 92 percent expect to utilize them within 12 months. "With the introduction of extremely sophisticated, interactive courseware, and the ability to achieve increased learning retention and decreased training costs, training professionals are looking to e-Learning as an appealing training option," said Craig Sawin, Chairman of Drake Beam Morin. "This is especially true in the soft skills training industry, which is growing twice as fast as the technical skills training industry." Of those companies planning to introduce e-Learning solutions, 70 percent reported that they are planning to use e-Learning for soft skills training, compared to only 51 percent who are planning to use e-Learning for technical skills training. Less than 10 percent of companies are not planning to use e-Learning solutions within the next 12 months. Asked if they would prefer a 'one-stop shopping' e-Learning vendor, 60 percent of survey respondents said yes. The following services were identified as being important to an integrated e-Learning solution (ranked in order of importance): * 1. Hosting 53% 2. Needs assessment 50% 3. Implementation advisory services 44% 4. Student chat room 42% 5. Online mentoring 41% 6. Customized curriculum 35% 7. Skill gap analysis 30% 8. Performance management 21% 9. Training effectiveness analysis 18% 10. Reporting and tracking 9% "Lifelong learning is becoming a critical element of organizational success," said Mr. Sawin. "With flatter organizational structures and increased employee workloads, the timeliness and cost associated with training have become real issues for business. Companies need to ensure that their employees have the knowledge and skills they need, when and where the business needs them, and e-Learning provides an effective solution, while not sacrificing quality. "Furthermore, with tight labor markets and huge economic growth, many of our clients are telling us that e-Learning is perfect for grooming staff on the job for positions of greater responsibility, enabling them to promote from within, rather than looking outside the company to recruit." Computerworld June 26, 2000 Learning by Wire The 36,000 employees at Unisys Corp. have long been able to learn how to run a desktop productivity application more effectively, develop sales knowledge about the company's computer system products or acquire the skills needed to handle difficult co-workers. But starting in March, they no longer had to leave an out-of-the-office message on their voice mail and trek to a classroom; now they can take training courses while sitting comfortably at their own desks. The change is the result of last year's debut of the Blue Bell, Pa.-based company's online university. By turning to Web-based training, also called e-learning, says Steve Trehern, acting vice president of Unisys University, Unisys has made more courses accessible to more people, been able to offer third-party and internally developed classes with more up-to-date product and technical knowledge, and created consistent training opportunities in all offices worldwide. Although it's too early to talk about return on investment, Trehern says, one indication that the program will be a success is that Unisys has seen these improvements while its training budget has remained flat from 1999 to 2000; he declined to name a figure, however. This shift to training over the Web is a major trend within the corporate education market, says Daniel Rasmus, a vice president at Cambridge, Mass.-based Giga Information Group Inc. The established players in the market -- corporate training specialists and universities -- are developing e-learning capabilities, he says, while a new type of vendor, the training portal, is emerging. Training portals aggregate content from several instructional suppliers, compile a broad catalog of courses and wrap it all in a learning management tool that lets human resources departments track employees' progress. Even companies that have well-run in-house educational programs are expanding their curricula to include lessons delivered via the Web, Rasmus says. These come in the form of either internally developed courses or a contract with an outside training provider. For the most part, these online efforts have a minimal impact on corporate information technology departments. In the case of portals and other external vendors, all that's required is a browser and audio capability on the student's computer. Adding Web-based delivery to an internal training system will require integration, Rasmus warns. The firms Computerworld spoke with generally reported positive experiences with e-learning technology. Most are opting for outsourcing course development and server management or contracting with a portal, citing benefits similar to those Unisys reported. But there are a few areas in which e-learning still needs to mature. Suppliers still operate under the assumption that people run through a course from start to finish, when in reality, students often just dip into a course to get specific information. Plus, learning management tools are proprietary, so it's difficult to track total usage when a company works with several different training firms or also offers traditional training. So, while corporate training managers and market analysts agree that e-learning is here to stay, they also warn that the industry is young and experiencing growing pains. Expanded Options Web-based training is a popular option among companies because it's cheaper than classroom training -- there are no travel costs, and employees don't miss as many work hours. Also, it's available around-the-clock worldwide, so students can take classes anytime, anywhere. Contracts with training portals can cost from $16 to $22 per student, although when companies add in the cost of lost productivity while a student takes a class, the costs can run to several hundred dollars per day. Jim Ayube, a senior analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston, estimates that the e-learning market had about $500 million in sales last year, and he's forecasting growth into the $10 billion to $12 billion range in 2002. But e-learning isn't replacing the traditional set of training tools; rather, it's supplementing them. At Genzyme Inc., a medical research firm in Boston, Rick Bellingham, vice president of organizational learning, is aiming for a 50/50 split between classroom and online training. He chose TrainingNet Inc. in Billerica, Mass., because it offers a mix of online, book-based, self-paced and classroom courses that give his employees options, so they can choose how they want to learn. However, some courses are just better in a classroom, Bellingham says. For example, an in-house course on leadership skills for individual team members needs face-to-face interaction in order to work. But technology and regulatory or compliance classes, such as those about sexual harassment or equal opportunity employment laws, work well over the Web. What's not working for Bellingham are the learning management modules he wants to use to determine his return on investment. So far, he hasn't put such a system into place because he hasn't found one that meets all his requirements, he says. Bellingham says he would like to have a universal registration tool for all training vendors that includes usage tracking, report generation, skills assessment and a way to analyze his company's investment. Plus, Genzyme has a special need for Food and Drug Administration validation to prove that its employees are meeting certain government standards. Genzyme budgets about $6 million per year on employee training, and it's important for the company to know whether it's getting value out of that investment. "The problem with most organizations is that they spend a lot of money and they don't know where they're spending it, how much they're spending or what they get in return," Bellingham says. Ken Estabrook, supervisor of training and development at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, says he shares Bellingham's frustration about the management piece of the puzzle. In his view, management tools not only need to be flexible enough to handle multiple training suppliers; they need to reflect the way people use the products. Estabrook deals with three training vendors: SmartForce Inc. in Redwood City, Calif.; KnowledgeNet Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and KnowledgePlanet.com Inc. in Reston, Va. Because their learning management systems don't communicate, he's dealing with multiple systems, which makes gathering information about a student's progress difficult, Estabrook says. In addition, the management systems reside on the vendors' servers; he says he would like to put a learning management tool on his own desktop, where the management tools could better serve students as well. Estabrook says he wants students to have a registration utility that can handle input from multiple vendors, so they can go to one source to find a class, instead of having to search three different course catalogs. "I want it to be seamless," he explains. In addition, during the past three years, Estabrook has learned a lot about how his 3,000 employees -- technical staff, managers and administrative support staff -- use online training. They dip into a course for information when they need it, he says. For example, a person might run through an Excel training module once but thereafter access it for specific lessons, such as a refresher on pivot tables. So Estabrook says he also wants the vendors to build management tools that measure access, not just completed courses. Of the 6,000 times employees accessed courses during the first year of operation, many were to retrieve specific information. Those instances showed up as uncompleted courses, Estabrook explains, because the employees didn't run through entire lessons and take the final tests. Because there weren't a lot of completed courses, even though employees spent a lot of time using the training system, there wasn't a lot to show for it, according to the tool's canned analysis. The result was a skewed cost per course, Estabrook says. Estabrook ended up looking at the time spent in the system and the number of accesses and then asking his employees about the system's effectiveness. That survey found that they were happy; they got the information they needed and got on with their jobs. So using a rough measure of price divided by the number of accesses, Estabrook estimates that it cost about $12 to get someone that just-in-time piece of information he or she was searching for. "The value is getting people back on the job with the right information," he says. Next Semester Rasmus says vendors are starting to address the problems with e-learning software -- and with the management modules in particular. They're under pressure from corporations that are bringing in Web-based training and demanding a high level of maturity from the products. Those efforts will be helped by the natural consolidation that's occurring among the vendors, he says. Consolidation will lead to integration among the product offerings, and high-level initiatives -- such as IBM's Mindspan Solutions e-learning business unit -- with the ability to impose de facto standards on the marketplace will further those compatibility efforts. Clark Aldrich, a research director at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Group Inc., predicts that companies will find new ways to use e-learning tools. One big area is customer education. It can also be used to quickly disseminate information throughout an organization. Transferring knowledge, processes and culture is a job that can't be outsourced, Aldrich says -- you have to do it yourself, and you have to do it quickly. E-learning can be a good tool because you can develop content quickly and present it to everyone in a short period of time, he explains. Aldrich says he also expects new teaching methods, such as role-playing simulations, and more user-friendly features, such as the just-in-time access that Estabrook wants, to transform e-learning. "Right now, we're replicating the classroom experience online," he says. "Eventually, e-learning will be integrated into the everyday knowledge acquisition process during the workday." INSIDE MULTIMEDIA June 20, 2000 E-LEARNING BOOM CREATES 120 NEW JOBS The rapid and continuing increase in demand for online learning materials has prompted VEGA Skillchange to create 120 new jobs over the next few months. According to the company's managing director Alistair Morrison, "The new recruits who will fill these jobs will include multimedia designers, software engineers, project managers and sales staff. "VEGA Skillchange, along with other leading e-learning developers, is experiencing a major shift in demand to developing learning materials for delivery via a network such as a corporate intranet," he added. "Some companies are coming to online learning direct from instructor-led training, while others are moving from CD-Rom to the online delivery of training. Most of the learning materials that we are now designing are intended for online delivery - and this includes a growing demand for network-delivered virtual reality materials. Telling your ASP from your authoring tool: About 18 months ago, online learning - though primitive compared with the multimedia capabilities of stand-alone CD-Rom-based training materials - was simple. You decided on an authoring tool, produced your training materials and, if you were feeling sophisticated, you added a learning management system to track students' usage of the materials. Then everyone decided that they didn't want to be in the authoring/monitoring business. Macromedia sold its authoring tool - Authorware - to Lotus. Asymetrix, proprietors of authoring languages IconAuthor and Toolbook, re-invented itself as a learning portal, called click2learn.com. New kid on the block, Saba Software, came up with the Saba Enterprise Management System - which, although it allows you to author learning materials, its real strength is as an integrated learning-and-knowledge management system. In other words, it can help you measure what skills your staff have, what skills they need in order to do their current and, possible future jobs, what and where the shortfalls are and so give you the information to do some succession and strategic skills planning. One of the oldest kids on the block is Pathlore Software, a privately held company based in Ohio but with offices around the world including Hemel Hempstead in the UK. Pathlore generated $21 million in revenue, a 650 per cent growth in Internet-related revenue and more customers than any other learning management vendor in 1999. Having made Phoenix, its combined authoring tool/learning management system, compatible with web- delivered training Pathlore have moved the market a stage further by launching the Pathlore ASP Solution. This makes it one of the first e-learning companies to offer an ASP solution, but others are expected to follow soon. Among the US-based companies now targeting the UK market is Docent, which recently set up office in Reading. 'ASP' stands for 'application service provider'. ASPs have been about in the Internet world for a long time and are based on the outsourcing concept. Figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC) suggest that spending on ASP services in general will soar to nearly $8bn by 2004, up from $296m in 1999. In the world of online learning, ASPs allow companies to use enterprise applications while avoiding the up-front hiring, software and hardware investments and ongoing management costs of hosting their own technology. While 'learning portals' also fall into the ASP category, their operation is often outside a customer's control. In other words, customers choose from a set menu of learning materials and have access to only rudimentary learning management/monitoring systems providing data that may not be compatible with customers' corporate human resources software. If this is the case, achieving the heights of 'corporate knowledge management' becomes difficult. With Pathlore's ASP offering, customers have the flexibility to develop an e-learning plan for themselves and control the outcome. Customers can: * Deploy custom or pre-packaged courses; * Use complementary applications, such as virtual classrooms; * Integrate the training with in-house applications, data stores or other ASP solutions; * Customise learner interfaces for the organisation's particular needs; * Obtain customised performance reports on demand - which is useful for knowledge management applications; * Access supporting services, such as courseware development and training administration. "In the Internet age, the more quickly and efficiently a company can provide learning opportunities to its employees, customers and partners, the better," said Bruce Duff, Pathlore's chief operating officer. "Customers can connect to the Pathlore ASP Solution via the Internet or their wide area network, then deliver and manage e-learning through their web browsers. As an ASP, Pathlore hosts, implements, manages and maintains the entire e-learning infrastructure. "The e-learning market is ripe for emerging ASP solutions," said Cushing Anderson, an analyst with IDC. "E-learning is especially appealing to companies today because of the convenience and flexibility it offers, but companies want to avoid substantial technology and human resource investments typical of a move towards e-learning. Pathlore's ability to deliver an ASP e-learning solution quickly and efficiently should be of interest to enterprises of all sizes." Business Week July 10, 2000 FROM B-SCHOOL TO E-VENTURE Duke University's J.B. Fuqua School of Business on July 1 will become the first B-school in the country to spin off its online coursework into a separate, for-profit venture, Duke Corporate Education. Crossing the border from nonprofit to moneymaker is a big step. But the corporate e-learning market is projected at $ 11.4 billion by 2003, and Fuqua wants its share. The B-school will hold 60% of the venture, with the balance going to venture capitalists, employees, and faculty. Taking a page from the private sector, Fuqua plans to lure professors to the venture with options -- a nice perk if the business goes public. The faculty will first offer personal instruction to top execs of school clients such as Deutsche Bank. Those lessons will then be repackaged in short ''modules'' on the Web for lower-level managers so employees can learn specific topics, such as derivatives, without employers paying for a degree program. Some other schools are experimenting with e-learning spin-offs. Cornell University's eCornell sells online courses but doesn't focus solely on the lucrative business market. Babson College's B-school is also eyeing an e-learning spin-off. Says Rex Adams, Fuqua's dean: ''Universities have to find ways of creating wealth. It isn't going to be done with charity.'' Computerworld June 26, 2000 Making Web Training Work The e-learning marketplace has a few lessons to learn as the technology matures. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Web-based training systems now: *Curricula hosted by someone else will have the least impact on your infrastructure. *Avoid any system that requires plug-ins or other special software; problem resolution will chew up IT support staff hours. *Test the student's computer before he starts a class to make sure it can receive the course. Audio equipment and settings in particular may be trouble spots, especially if the student doesn't normally use audio in his job. *You won't find a single learning management tool that works automatically with multiple e-learning vendors and application service providers or lets you extend its capabilities to track courses outside the e- learning environment (such as internal training courses). In the short run, you'll have to jerry-rig your own solution or work with multiple management systems. *Calculating return on investment can be difficult, especially if you use e-learning on a need-to-know-it- now basis. Bolster the management tool's reports with surveys of your employees. Investor's Business Daily July 10, 2000 Today's Tech-Knowledge Economy Provides For-Profit Schools An Edge - They're training techies and offering courses to the many workers who aim to boost their careers You've seen the ads on TV, those earnest endorsements from grads of the DeVry Institutes or the University of Phoenix, describing how going to one of these for-profit schools changed their lives. Ivy League types laugh at them, but those schools are a large and growing business. Besides the for-profit colleges, there are firms devoted to employer-paid tech training, long-distance Web schooling and even commercial elementary schools. All these companies are based on one idea: knowledge is a product in high demand, and in today's knowledge-based economy you can make a killing at it. 1. BUSINESS Despite the buzz about "e-learning," most for-profit schools follow the old-fashioned instructor-led format. But they vary widely in their aims. Some are colleges that give full-fledged degrees, like Apollo Group's University of Phoenix, the DeVry Institutes and Corinthian Colleges. These schools are much like other colleges but are designed for working adults, with classes timed to fit around busy days. The programs tend to focus on "practical" degrees such as business, accounting, nursing and cooking. Another category of schools for adults is employee training, such as Learning Tree International Inc. Rather than get a degree, students go to these schools to learn a specific skill in a short time, such as HTML coding or how to use the latest version of Windows. These classes are often paid for by the boss. Finally, there are a few firms, such as Edison Schools Inc. and Childtime Learning Centers, that are aimed at kids. Edison actually provides general education for children, but other companies are meant to supplement basic schooling. Name of the game: The aim of these firms is education, but their emphasis is different from not-for-profit schools. While typical universities are as much about faculty research as teaching, for-profit schools regard themselves as service firms, with the student as customer. "We are customer-focused, student- centered," said Laura Palmer Noone, provost and senior vice president of the University of Phoenix. "If something doesn't serve the needs of the student, it becomes secondary." 2. MARKET Would-be customers for these schools are just about any working adult - or adults who want to be working. Even with the kids' schools, the real customers are their parents. In the adult programs, students are typically older than your usual college students. Noone says University of Phoenix students are typically in their mid-30s and in the middle of their careers, seeking a change or a boost in their work lives. Business and management are the top subjects for most commercial schools that offer degree programs. But technical training is the fastest-growing area, and some firms, such as Learning Tree and Prosoft Training.com Inc., cater solely to the techie market. This is a rich area, not only because the tech sector is booming and many people want to be on that career path, but also because even well-trained techies have to learn new systems and software. "The reality is, if you just had a computer science degree and you graduated in 1990 your education has become completely irrelevant," said Michael Moe, an analyst with Merrill Lynch. "As Moore's law pointed out, obsolescence is created every year and a half." The education field has a global reach. Half of Learning Tree's business is overseas - mostly European - while 42% of Sylvan Learning Systems Inc.'s revenue is non-U.S. And those are the brick-and-mortar schools; Web-based programs like Prosoft's can reach anyone anywhere. "The biggest opportunity is global," Moe said. "America has been very successful at exporting post-secondary education." 3. CLIMATE The schooling field has one edge few others can boast: it benefits from bad times. "We've been relatively recession-proof," Noone said. "When times are bad, people are looking for a way to make sure that they're going to keep their job, or that they get the one job that 200 people are applying for." In fact, today's long boom can even mean trouble for some firms. "The issue for DeVry today is the (low) unemployment rate," Moe said. "Corporations are so desperate for live bodies, they're erasing competition." Tech training programs tend to do well any time, but these firms' fortunes can be affected by odder things. Learning Tree President Eric Garen says his firm lost sales in 1999 as companies pulled their techies away from new training and put them to fixing the Y2K bug. After the clock ticked over, the techies suddenly descended on the programs to catch up on what they'd missed. Overall, the industry is pretty stable because barriers to entry are high. "There's a great deal of regulatory hurdles a company has to deal with to succeed in the marketplace," said Mark Marostica, an analyst with US Bancorp Piper Jaffray. Degree-granting schools need to be accredited by the Education Department, which can bring its own headaches. But the tougher hurdle to cross is in public opinion. While cost is a factor, most students don't go the cheapest route - they go for the firms with good names. This puts newcomers in a Catch-22: you can't develop a good reputation without being around for a while, but you can't be around long without a rep. Thus, some of the newest firms, like Edison Schools and Skillsoft, have yet to make money. 4. TECHNOLOGY Computers and the Internet - on top of creating lots of need for tech training - are also changing the way schools teach. Some schools, like the University of Phoenix, use the Internet as an adjunct to campus: a way to access the library at any time of the day or night, or to contact teachers from off-campus. At the other extreme, firms such as Prosoft and Skillsoft have gone whole-hog into distance learning, using Web-based courses that can be done solely from home. In the middle are firms that are dipping their toes into e-learning while sticking to their basic teacher- led format. Learning Tree just started Internet-based courses to replace its since-ended CD-ROM- based distance courses. Garen says the experiment is promising, but emphasizes that it's just a small part of the business. Most firms expect the appeal of working with an instructor won't go away. 5. OUTLOOK Current trends favor commercial schools. Corporate investment in outside training is growing, and enrollment in for-profit colleges is rising much faster than for nonprofit colleges. The arrival of Windows 2000 is also boosting demand for tech training. But as some firms dive into new experiments, they become riskier prospects for investors. Upside: The market for such schools is a solid one. The demand for tech training goes on unabated, and the field benefits rather than falters in bad times. Also, in schools with degree programs, students tend to commit for several years, providing a steady source of cash. Risks: While Marostica says "e-learning is here to stay," some of the new, Web-heavy firms are losing money and have yet to prove themselves. Also, some firms have tried costly programs that failed. Learning Tree's stock was brought down last year partly by the fall of its disastrous Power Seminar program. New Straits Times (Malaysia) July 5, 2000 Internet triggers a new revolution THERE is a "revolution" in education brought on by the incredible developments in global communications and the Internet, said Professor Roy Leitch, assistant principal of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain's oldest techno-logical university. "These developments generate an exciting new approach that allow the delivery of learning materials to be distributed from the university to local educational institutions," said Leitch. "Through distributed e- learning, an interface between schools and universities is one way for the university to attract students into science and engineering." The decline in numbers of school-leavers enrolling in science and engineering courses at university level in Britain (about 10 per cent per year) has got Heriot-Watt University concerned. "Some universities have even closed down basic science depart-ments," said Leitch. "As techno-logical developments of the know-ledge-economy needs an understan-ding of science, this is a big problem. "We need to create the right environment at this important stage. If we can get them excited about learning science it could spur them to take it up at university." Heriot-Watt initiated the Scholar Forum in 1998 to make available interactive open learning materials for students planning to sit for foundation or matriculation exami-nations. The online interactive materials consist of texts, assessments, activities and simulations that are flexible enough to benefit students taking advanced highers or A-levels. While these materials are de-veloped by university lecturers and learning technology experts, local support for tutorials is by staff of participating schools and colleges. In Scotland, the materials for mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computing and engineering are accessed via the Internet by pupils in 40 secondary schools. Leitch said the materials are designed to be interactive with simulation and animation to make it easier for students to understand subjects such as physics. "Students can see three-dimensional changes in wavelength or simulation of blood flow. The images can be manipulated so that students are actively engaged. These allow the student to gain a complete understanding of the concept by varying parameters or conditions and seeing the effect on the outcome or behaviour. Studies have shown the key to learning is interactivity between students and knowledge. Passive learning results in rote memori-sation rather than understanding. nteraction results in deeper understanding and the ability to apply knowledge to new situations, clearly an important skill in today's rapidly developing world." The shift away from lecturer-centred to student-centred learning puts the student in control of his learning as people learn in different ways and at different rates. In Malaysia, the Scholar Programme has been developed for the distance learning delivery mode by Herriot-Watt University in collabo-ration with Scottish Knowledge Plc. Upon completion of the programme, students would be able to further their education in local or foreign universities in science and engineering. Meteor Distance Learning Sdn Bhd will offer the Scholar Prog-ramme to SPM school leavers in October for mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and computing/ IT. Scottish Knowledge, set up in 1997, is a private company owned by 12 public universities and major companies in Scotland to market distance learning courses and prog-rammes. Leitch said in the past international education was restricted to a few correspondence-based courses and traditional movement of students to study in another country. "The drawback of distance-learning by correspondence was you could not create a community, but with e-learning you can. The online support consists of communication systems between students in different countries doing the same course and between students and their tutors. Support is also provided by a mixture of tutorial support from the local partner in the form of face-to-face sessions. This is essential to ensure the student is progressing well. Distributed e-learning provides the benefits of interactivity on-line with the flexibility of printed materials and tutorial support. This combination is powerful." Business Wire July 6, 2000 The Wharton School Launches Innovative E-Learning Initiative for MBA Students The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced today the introduction of an innovative curriculum delivery format to allow MBA students access to introductory coursework anywhere, anytime using Internet-based technologies. Designed and developed in conjunction with Corporate Technology Ventures, a leading Internet solutions and content management developer, Wharton's Introductory Business Mathematics course is now available to incoming MBA students via a password-protected extranet site and a browser-based CD-ROM. Available to all students in Wharton's incoming Fall 2000 MBA class, this new e-learning initiative provides students with multiple ways to access to the required educational materials necessary to prepare them for entrance to the program. While some students will prefer to learn the introductory materials in a traditional classroom setting, others will undoubtedly choose to leverage the 24-hour convenience and the global accessibility the Internet provides. "We chose to partner with Corporate Technology Ventures because of their broad portfolio of skills including innovative curriculum design, in-depth technical skills and clean user-interface ideas. CTV was very flexible working with our content and provided high-quality output on our very short deadline," said Anjani Jain, Vice Dean, Graduate Division, the Wharton School. "Corporate Technology Ventures is enthusiastic about this project and our relationship with the Wharton School, one of the world's leading educational institutions," said Jeffrey Babin, President and CEO of Corporate Technology Ventures. "By combining Internet-based technologies with innovative curriculum design, The Wharton School is now able to offer a globally diverse student body unprecedented access to quality educational content." e-World – e/M-Business Business 2.0 June 13, 2000 Commerce Adds an MCompanies — and countries — are waking up to the latest trend in mobile connectivity, hoping not to repeat their late arrival to other Internet developments. Historians researching the birth of mobile commerce will point to the moment during the DEMO 2000 conference in February when a presenter bought a can of soda by simply waving his cell phone at a Coke machine. For now, Televend — the Israeli company that pulled off this high-tech hat trick — is practicing non-Internet based mobile commerce, loading up cell phones and vending machines with compatible technology. The real "m-commerce" profits, however, will be linked to transactions that move goods off the Web and into the hands of consumers via mobile phones and PDAs. "M-commerce refers to ecommerce that is carried out on a mobile terminal," explains Cliff Raskind, senior industry analyst at Strategy Analytics. He points out that, unlike ecommerce, frequent purchases of roughly a few dollars will dominate m-commerce. Raskind's firm projects that m-commerce purchases worth $200 billion will be conducted around the world by 2004, which translates into 130 million customers and 14 billion transactions a year. "The major players will have to secure a lot of server horsepower," Raskind warns. And that's a problem. The major players — carriers, portals, MSPs (mobile service providers), and even hardware manufacturers — need to develop the infrastructure and bandwidth to support m-commerce. Today, the infrastructure doesn't exist and it won't be created in the near future. So Raskind and others suggest that at least two years will pass before m-commerce grabs a solid foothold. Discovery mode So why has everyone gone bananas over the idea of ordering the latest John Grisham novel on a mobile phone when only a few phones can manage the transaction at this point? Isn't this a replay of earlier wireless crazes where high-tech pundits oversold the goods? Not exactly. "M-commerce is very real, but right now everyone is in discovery mode," says Jeffrey Stern, CEO of AirMedia.com, an application service provider that enables the wireless and wired convergence of content. An explanation of today's frenzied interest lies in the short history of the Internet, which saw many unwitting large companies stuck with brochureware sites as cavalier competitors running ecommerce hubs that soaked up market share. It's a scenario few that lagged are eager to repeat. This 20/20 hindsight has created desperation among many American companies to establish a foothold quickly in the wireless world. In the United States, at least, the m-commerce buzz is supported largely by the fact that foreign countries lead in wireless and mobile phone adoption. Finland is the leader (see "New Power Centers," Jan. '00, p136), with current cell phone infiltration at about 65 percent of the population, followed closely by Japan, where mobile phone subscribers outnumber fixed phone line subscribers 56.8 million to 55.4 million. Indeed, the mobile service provider NTT DoCoMo is Japan's largest ISP, with 26 million subscribers. Raskind believes that the earliest the United States could reach m-commerce parity with Europe would be sometime in 2007, a projection that should alarm corporate board members. Yet if the snail's pace that most consumers adopted in accepting ecommerce is any measure, the hard work has already been done. Stern believes that consumers will warm up to m-commerce much more quickly because they are now comfortable making purchases online. Stages of adoption To speed acceptance of m-commerce, companies are ratcheting up content offerings, betting that consumers comfortable accessing Internet-based information through portable devices will be much more likely later to make purchases. Stern predicts that the first popular applications for m-commerce will be simple transactions that take advantage of the novelty aspect, paying with a mobile phone for gas at the filling station, for example. The second stage of m-commerce will draw on more advanced technology, including satellite global positioning system (GPS) devices. "The more practical uses will come from perishables applied on the go," says Stern. Fixed location shops, for instance, could alert passersby to sales and mobile-device-only specials. The third stage may involve universal shopping carts, enabling users with handsets to purchase any product from anywhere in the world. With universal shopping carts in place, Raskind boldly suggests that m- commerce will eventually overtake ecommerce in popularity. But he argues it will take at least two more years before high-volume m-commerce becomes a commercial reality. "The major challenge is defined as the absence of customers for services right now," Stern says euphemistically. "Every m-commerce phenomenon has so far been a PR event developed by existing manufacturers." Yet he believes this gun-jumping marketing approach is actually helping to shape the future of m-commerce. "Marketing the processes today can create a sense of what customers want from this space," he adds. "It's not like going to see a house before it's painted and carpeted. It's like looking at an open lot and trying to imagine what the house will look like based on words alone. It's just not tangible enough right now." Business 2.0 April 1, 2000 Dial M for Commerce Computer-driven ecommerce may be the fixation in the United States. In the rest of the world, however, mobile phones are customers' preferred medium for getting information, making transactions, and checking on the status of their affairs. Mobile ecommerce, or m-commerce as it's called in Europe, is gradually making waves in the United States. As consumer and business customers change from wired to wireless Internet users, your ebusiness strategy needs to make some profound shifts. The good news is you'll gain access to a much broader customer base, since the uptake of Internet-capable mobile phones far outstrips the rollout of wired Internet connections around the globe. However, the complexities involved in providing customized, targeted content and offers will increase exponentially. The job of organizing, managing, and targeting your content and transactions for different market segments has become much more challenging. Can you afford to ignore the hype around WAP (wireless application protocol) by assuming that wireless access to the Web is irrelevant to your target customer base? I don't think so. If you notice how wireless Internet access and interactive TV are rolling out in Europe, you quickly realize that both business and consumer customers will be expecting you to provide a seamless set of Internet-enabled applications and content they can interact with throughout the day as they move from place to place. But don't look at m- commerce in a vacuum. Look at mobile devices as just one of many touchpoints you'll need to support this year. An evening in the life Let's take a look at the typical European customer, for example. Let's call him Karl. Karl grew up in Sweden, but he now is based in London and travels throughout Europe on business. Of course, Karl has a personal computer with Net access at the office and at home, but his preferred way of interacting with the world is via his trusty mobile phone. He takes it everywhere, because it contains his calendar, his Rolodex, and shortcuts to all his favorite Web services. As he comes home from work on a Monday evening, Karl thinks of several things he still must do: find out if he got on the early morning flight to Helsinki on which he was wait-listed, and check to see if the proceeds from the stock he sold yesterday have been credited to his bank account so he can make another stock purchase. While he's taking the subway home, Karl checks on the status of his Finnair flight using his mobile phone. Since the wait list has cleared, while he's at it, he confirms his reservation at the Scandic Hotel in Helsinki and reserves a table for lunch with his client at a hot new restaurant. Next, he clicks over to check the status of the funds in his Egg bank account. He sees that the proceeds from his last stock transaction have arrived in his account, so he checks the closing price of the new wireless stock he's thinking of buying. By the time the subway pulls into his home station, he's ready to relax. Once home, Karl begins dinner preparations and clicks on his new digital cable television. After listening to the local and business news, Karl accesses his brokerage service via the interactive television. He calls up his broker's animated charts and graphs and watches a video interview with the CEO of the wireless company, followed by a commentary by the broker's top wireless analyst. Ahh, his broker's analyst is also bullish on the company. He enters his PIN and places a buy order for the stock. Easing the content headache Is this science fiction? No. This is the way that many of your clients and customers around the world will prefer to interact with your firm and its services over the next 12 to 18 months. Here are a few essentials in the tool kit to tackle what amounts to a cascading content management problem: Design for multiple touchpoints. If you simply had to worry about delivering content and transactions over four or five different types of interaction platforms — mobile data using Short Message Service (SMS), wireless Internet access using WAP, digital interactive television, Webpages, and your call center and voice response systems — that would be complex enough. Today, you may have four or five different types of delivery vehicles to design for; tomorrow, there may be 16 different delivery vehicles. You may be able to start with a single set of information, but you'll have to tag and re-purpose information differently for each platform. Some of that dynamic formatting can be handled automatically. But the planning and design for each platform needs to take place at the time the information is created. Design for multiple customer scenarios. Ensure that no matter which interaction medium he's using, your customer can get to the end point of his scenario, whether it's buying stock or booking a flight. You typically need to design an average of six different scenarios per targeted customer segment. And that customer may be performing each of the different steps in each scenario using different customer interaction media. Design for interactive marketing. How do you make appropriate suggestions to Karl? As he's checking the status of his wait-listed flight on his mobile phone, would it be appropriate to recommend an alternative flight or carrier? When he's reviewing your firm's take on a company in a particular market sector, should you suggest some other investment alternatives he might consider? The answers to these questions depend on what you already know about Karl or can infer from his behavior, as well as what he has told you about his likes and dislikes. Chances are that Karl will never want you to make a suggestion or an offer if he has interacting with your firm using a mobile phone with a very small display. Design for different languages and cultures. If you're appealing to a global customer base, you'll need to provide all of this tailored, context-sensitive information in multiple languages. And, you'll want to ensure that the way you describe your product offerings and the design of the customer scenarios is culturally appropriate. A Japanese business traveler would want to perform these tasks quite differently than a Swedish executive would. Design for different countries and laws. Your products and services will probably have varying prices, duties, and taxes in the different countries in which they're used. Therefore, depending on who your customer is, and where she plans to consume the product or service she's procuring, you'll need to be able to generate the appropriate pricing, tariffs, and offers. In order to be ready for this multitouchpoint customer in a multilingual, multicultural world, you're going to need to invest heavily in dynamic content management and configuration tools. You'll also need to build the core competencies in-house for creating and organizing your customer, product, and marketing information so that you can provide a well-thought-out, consistent, and appropriate customer experience for each interaction channel at a reasonable cost. While you can outsource graphic design and production, you can't outsource your understanding of how your customers will want to dance with you! Tips for Designing for Multiple Touchpoints Wireless Streamline the experience. No logos or graphics, just quick access menus, very short text phrases, and a few simple choices. Website Customize its content based on what you know about each customer's situation and what he has indicated that he wants to do. Interactive television Here, you're much more likely to use animation, video, and audio to grab and sustain the customer's interest. But make it easy for her to perform the transactions she wants to execute. Data interchange When your customer picks up the phone and calls to talk with any of your employees, they'll need to have that customer's profile and transaction history at their fingertips. The Economist July 08, 2000 Waves of the future ONE by one, as licences to provide high-speed mobile-data services are awarded, the chips go down in a gamble as huge as any ever made in European business. The bet is that the money to be made from the wireless Internet in Europe will justify investment on a heroic scale by mobile-telephone groups. But even though managers are full of talk about the value they can extract from "m-commerce" -- e-commerce carried out from mobile handsets -- they are stronger on vision than on details. Since the excitement at the start of the year over Europe's biggest-ever hostile takeover, of Germany's Mannesmann by Britain's Vodafone AirTouch, investor enthusiasm for telecoms has cooled. Vodafone's shares have fallen by 20% in recent months, and those of equipment makers such as Ericsson and Nokia have also been weak. Even big operators such as Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have suffered. The feeling has grown that an entire industry risks being carried away by its own hype. Going, going, gone The catalyst for this change of mood was the extraordinary success of Britain's auction of licences to the bit of radio spectrum needed for so-called third-generation (3G) mobile services. Before the auction began, analysts predicted that it might top out at around #1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) for each licence. But when the final bids were tabled in April, the five successful groups had agreed to shell out three times as much: a total of #22.5 billion. Spain and Finland had already awarded their licences on the basis of a beauty contest, but the British experience had the exchequers of every other European country salivating. Germany will begin a British- style auction later this month; France has opted for a hybrid, allocating licences to favoured operators, but charging about 75% of the amount they would pay in Britain; Italy is also seeking to combine the two methods. The prospect has started to worry many in the industry. Ericsson's president, Kurt Hellstrom, recently echoed warnings by Nicholas Negroponte (MIT's guru of all things wired) that the high prices being paid for 3G licences could slow the deployment of new mobile networks. The implication was that the short-sighted greed of governments might cost Europe its best chance of countering American dominance of the Internet. Mr Hellstrom's comment came hot on the heels of a warning by Moody's, a credit-rating agency, that the cost of launching 3G services could erode the credit quality of some telecoms companies. It reckons the investment required could be 300 billion ($315 billion) over the next few years, split between licence costs and network construction. Mike Grant, head of the mobile group at Analysys, a Cambridge-based firm of consultants that helped design the British auction, says: "What is happening is a massive transfer of value between shareholders and the governments who own the resources." Indeed, but although Moody's expects the telecoms firms to pay for their investments "prudently", it predicts that the financial flexibility of some operators will be "significantly weakened". The gamble is also weighing on Europe's capital markets. According to Capital DATA, three-quarters of European high-yield bond issues in the past year have been by telecoms firms. Now that alarm bells are sounding, the next licences to go on the block may fetch lower prices, with some bidders dropping out (WorldCom has pulled out of the German auction). Others may prefer to buy a licence winner: since the British auction, France Telecom has bought Orange, and a pairing of Japan's NTT DoCoMo with KPN of the Netherlands is buying a stake in Hutchison's mobile arm. Yet since no incumbent can afford not to have a licence, and well-financed new entrants remain determined to compete, no licence will ever be cheap. Yet the fears of Mr Negroponte and Mr Hellstrom are overblown. High licence prices will neither delay new mobile services nor make them unaffordable. Licences are a sunk cost; recipients have the strongest possible incentive to roll out new services to recoup their money as fast as they can. And the normal play of competitors and new entrants will discipline licence-holders long after the auctions are over. Auctions are a good way to ensure that licences go to those readiest to speed the development of new services, without affecting their price. So what are the new services that have driven this frenzy? The short answer is the intoxicating combination of two of the fastest-growing technologies of all time: the mobile telephone (perhaps a billion subscribers worldwide by 2003) and the Internet (more than 400m predicted users by 2003). Put those together with two ideas that the industry subscribes to as revealed truth -- that you can never give people too much bandwidth, and that innovators will always come up with "killer applications" to exploit it -- and you have the justifications for 3G fervour. In truth, from the moment that equipment makers began pushing the technology and governments said they were keen to release the spectrum, incumbents had little option but to pay up for 3G. Even though "2.5G" technologies such as GPRS (general packet radio service) might offer adequate data-handling capabilities for far less money, the fear of being attacked by bandwidth-rich new entrants with superior services and operating economics was overwhelming. Yet behind the swaggering optimism of many operators lies real trepidation about this brave new data world. There is uncertainty about the demand for new services and about the new skills that operators themselves must learn if they are to retain enough of the economic value they are creating. The old mobile-telephone model, in which person-to-person communication was the only application and service providers owned the customer unambiguously, was simple and stable. But in the new data-driven world of mobile commerce, far more complex interactions become possible involving many different actors (see diagram). Mobile-phone firms dream of dominating this new "value chain", tapping into unimagined new revenue streams and quickly becoming all-powerful Internet portal players to rival the likes of Yahoo! and AOL. But a different outcome is possible, in which mobile-phone firms become mere commodity providers of transport -- just as fixed-line operators are today. Mobile data's first steps The first big uncertainty is whether the demand for 3G's massive bandwidth will really be there. The early faltering steps of "wireless application protocol" (WAP), the global standard to adapt web-based services to small-screen mobile phones, provide few clues. For all the hoopla around the first WAP phones in Europe this year, operators now admit that it was unwise to describe the clunky and limited services they offered as "surfing the mobile Internet". Some observers even fear that WAP is so bad that follow-on devices will have a hard time gaining acceptance. But that is probably wrong. Nearly all current WAP users are inveterate early technology adopters who tolerate its inadequacies because what is coming will be far better. The big problems with today's WAP phones are their painful slowness at transferring data, and the expense and inconvenience of having to connect every time a new article is called up. Until recently, users would also have complained about having access only to the content supplied directly by mobile-phone operators. But, under pressure from their customers, some mobile companies, including Vodafone and Orange, are already backtracking from the "walled garden" approach to providing content and making their platforms open to third parties. Their speedy response means that they should now see something similar to the "positive feedback loop" created by NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service in Japan. An open platform spurs the creation of new services and applications, stimulating subscriber growth and so encouraging the birth of still more sites. Less than 18 months after launching, there are already over 7,000 websites that have been converted for access by i-mode. The same should happen with WAP. But not immediately. For what also holds WAP back is the lack of the "always on" feature that makes Japan's i-mode so useful. Europe will not have to wait until the roll-out of 3G for a fix. By the end of this year, the first 2.5G, or GPRS, networks and handsets will come on stream. GPRS is a cost-effective software upgrade for the base stations of Europe's GSM operators. For an investment of around 80m (and perhaps the same again to subsidise the first year or two's supply of GPRS handsets), service providers will be able to offer a mobile Internet and m-commerce experience that is almost as far from the first WAP phones as the pre-1994 Internet is from today's web. The official line on GPRS from mobile-phone operators is that it will give customers and developers the chance to get used to the mobile Internet and find out what works. But, as m-commerce grows, applications become more sophisticated and bandwidth-hungry new wireless devices packed with computing power hit the market, 3G networks will then have to be rolled out to meet the ever-increasing demand. This view, advanced by groups as diverse as Symbian (a consortium of telecoms-equipment firms and Psion, a handheld-computer maker) and Microsoft, sounds fairly plausible. But there is an alternative prognosis. Forrester Research, a technology consultancy, argues that, although a huge number of fancy new wireless data devices will be manufactured, few will gain mass-market acceptance. Instead, Forrester thinks that smart phones that add data features to their voice function may dominate the scene. If that is right, rather than wanting "fat" video and multimedia applications that require lots of bandwidth and processing power, people might look for "thin" applications that build on the mobile phone's virtue of being highly personal and always with you. Forrester reckons users will not want to read general news; but they may want personalised news and information that is time-sensitive, such as priority e-mails, share-price alerts and travel or online auction updates. Similarly, consumers will not use their phones for in-depth catalogue research or complex and time- consuming transactions such as buying groceries or configuring and ordering a new PC. Rather, they will use their phones for simple and timely transactions such as buying travel or cinema tickets, transferring funds or buying shares. Buying books and music, still the web's most popular shopping items, will not happen much in m-commerce because they are not usually time-sensitive. But location-based services that use the mobile phone's ability to signal its exact whereabouts (within about 50 metres) will proliferate. Personal navigation and smart yellow pages that can find the nearest Italian restaurant or golf shop, say, will be both popular and useful. If Forrester is right, most people, most of the time, will find that cheap and cheerful GPRS can give them everything that they need from their mobile phones. There will undoubtedly be some who will find a use for 3G's fat wireless pipes, such as online-games players, sports fans who are separated from their televisions or businesses that need workers to share data-intensive collaborative applications or gain access to corporate intranets while on the move. But nobody has any idea whether there will be enough such people to build a viable market. The other big uncertainty is about the size of m-commerce revenues. Like e-commerce before it, m- commerce is sure to grow fast as the infrastructure to support it gains maturity. Analysys predicts that the annual value of consumer goods and services bought worldwide over mobile networks could reach $13 billion by 2003, or about 7% of all consumer e-commerce. With wireless data services becoming commonplace, as the number of mobile Internet users surges past those who access the Internet by wired PCS, that percentage can be expected to grow fast. Yet the nature of m-commerce transactions, most relatively small in size and concentrated on items that are time- or location-sensitive, will limit the overall size of the m-commerce market. Existing Internet users will still prefer to do most online shopping using PCs or other large-screen terminals such as digital TVs, because, even with 3G, upgraded fixed-line services will continue to be cheaper, faster and of higher quality. Online neophytes who come to the Internet for the first time via their WAP phones might seem a better prospect. But most will not be choosing to have WAP phones: they will get them because these will soon be standard issue. Nor, as late and reluctant Internet users, will they take to m-commerce with the enthusiasm of the early adopters. Vodafone says, even so, that it is expecting to make 25% of its revenues in Britain from m-commerce by 2005 and as much as 50% only two years later. If mobile revenues grow at the same rate as in the past five years, and Vodafone's competitors achieve something similar, that suggests that m- commerce revenues might reach #3 billion, or about 15% of all online retailing in Britain, according to Forrester. That is a bold enough prediction on its own, given the few parts of Internet retailing that mobile is likely to dominate. But what makes Vodafone's forecast truly heroic is the belief that mobile-phone operators will capture most of that revenue. Unquestionably, the position of the mobile-telephone operators in the new m-commerce value chain will be pivotal. Mike Grant of Analysys says that they have a "superb opportunity" to be leaders in what, he believes, will be the main means of Internet access. They have, he points out, many advantages over fixed- line operators with stronger brands and a closer relationship with their customers. Unlike them, mobile companies are not under a regulatory obligation to offer access to their networks to third parties such as Internet service providers. And, just as Microsoft has been able to exploit its control over the PC desktop to expand into new areas, so will mobile operators, because they have their products constantly in the hand of their customers. Although most platforms will be open to third-party content, the ability to configure their phones to start up with their own portals as the default home article gives them a huge advantage. If they can create content that is sufficiently compelling and, above all, easy to use, many customers, Mr Grant contends, will be happy not to stray to the mobile web's wider and wilder shores. A firm such as Orange, he suggests, has the ability to attract creative developers to its platform and become a mobile AOL. Money for others It is a beguiling prospect, especially when you consider that Vodafone, say, has more than four times as many subscribers in Britain as Freeserve, one of Europe's biggest Internet service providers. But it will be far from easy to achieve. Because WAP is an open platform, m-commerce services will often be managed independently from the mobile operators. Web firms such as Yahoo! and online retailers such as Amazon.com are sure to want to be on all networks rather than having a preferred position on just one. Looking farther across the m-commerce value chain, although operators have the chance to cream off profits in lots of different parts of it, they will often find others there too. In payment processing and security, they will have to divide the spoils with credit-card companies and banks. Many basic enabling services, such as data back-up and systems integration, will create opportunities for such firms as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. Even mobile-phone operators' core business of access provision may come under attack. Although operators have a more or less closed market for network operation, new "mobile virtual network operators" (MVNOs), such as Virgin, are springing up, buying unused capacity at wholesale prices and marketing their own services. With the arrival of 3G and huge increases in capacity, MVNOs with good customer- management skills, innovative services and strong brands will provide stiff competition. Some operators may try to extend their dominance of the mobile voice market into m-commerce by attempting to do everything themselves. But those that try are likely to fail, outgunned by rivals who establish robust partnerships. Forrester's Mark Zohar argues that operators will profit not from direct participation in m-commerce, but through control over the location-based technologies and databases that content providers and merchants will need. The biggest profits from the mobile Internet for operators, says Mr Zohar, are likely to come, prosaically, from the impact on revenues of increased penetration and usage. New Straits Times (Malaysia) July 2, 2000 The next wave in advertising MOBILE commerce (m-commerce) is revolutionising the way people communicate and conduct business transactions. The advent of this phenomenon creates new avenues for advertisers to reach out to their consumers. Craig Owensby, President & COO, of Spotcast Communications, a global leader in mobile commerce introduced Singapore's first-ever mobile phone advertising medium last month, discusses this latest craze. S: M-commerce is the new buzzword. Can you give a simplistic explanation of this entire concept, talking also about the market size potential in S-E Asia? CO: M-Commerce, mobile commerce, is quite simply the application of consumer oriented business marketing and transactions over the mobile phone, enabling the mobile phone to become a personalised means of acquiring important commercial information, or using the mobile phone as an access to the Internet for on-line sales. Ultimately, the power and impact of mobile commerce will be that it brings the real world and the virtual world together, allowing companies to reach customers through their mobile phones directly. S: What sort of creative challenges does M-commerce pose for ad makers? CO: Initially m-commerce ads will be in two forms - though mobile operators are actually targeting three areas of reach. The first two are audio ads related to actual communications on the phone - audio ads prior to calls. These are usually 10 second "audio banners" that lead into more information. Creatively, I think some ad agencies may feel that this format is limiting. On the other hand, that is how they felt with banner ads as well, and eventually specialty firms came into being to show how a small space can be used to achieve great things. With 10 second audio ads, the creative is more direct, more informational, and more intriguing. But, it is more difficult to achieve the "art" that so many creative directors like to produce. Ultimately, television ads are like mini- movies, and ad agencies love to produce them. They are fun. Audio ads may not be as fun, but they are like audio billboards. A great creative concept is the ability to produce something very short and memorable that people will respond to. The second area will be WAP advertising - eventually becoming much like the Internet and then converging with video. Initially, the challenge will be like the Internet only even more limited because there is no colour on WAP screens and the screen is so small. Hence, WAP ads will be similar to mobile audio ads. In both cases, efficiency of message will be the greatest challenge, and the greatest gift to consumers - who are getting tired of all the advertising they must see all the time, m-commerce ads will ultimately be more efficient for consumers and therefore less annoying. Also, they will be intensely personal as systems like Spotcast can define the right ad to be delivered to be of most interest to the particular user. S: Tell us about your experiences in this area from other markets. CO: As a new media, m-commerce is just in its infancy. This means everyone is learning. When Internet advertising first emerged, it took a couple of years for companies to learn how to use the new advertising strategy. We expect the same, though their experience with Internet gives them a leg up on the m-commerce issues. It will also take time for advertisers to learn how to use the location strategy. Most importantly,the mobile phone offers much more targeted advertising than even the Internet, especially in its one-on-one capabilities. This means that marketing will move away from the mass-market approach of identifying one market segment to focus on and allow marketers to target multiple segments with messages that are appropriate for each. As a result, advertisers will no longer make one ad and throw it at the market. Rather they will create a number of ads reaching the four or even eight market segments that are likely customers and speak to each with an individual message. Mobile advertising will even allow ad style to be managed such that people who tend to respond to comedy ads will receive those, but people who respond to more serious or moody ads can receive those. S: How does your company come into play in this arena? CO: Spotcast intends to be the partner of choice to provide the technologies that create personalised advertising and content delivery, synchronised across the various media available on the mobile phone and through mobile operators. Our M2S product (Multiple Media Synchronisation) allows operators to create personalised advertising for voice (prior to calls), SMS (responses or push), e-mail (response or push through an operator's portal), WAP (response or push or on-line ads) and Web (response or push or on-line ads). The idea is that ultimately people receive information where and how they use the mobile phone, and that these ads are targeted using a "protected e-personality" model developed by Spotcast for each user. These e-personalities attempt to choose ads that will be of interest to the consumer, which means people are receiving fewer ads that are a waste of time. In addition, each voice and on-line ad is interactive, meaning for our voice service they can press their key and receive a 30-second info-ad after their call (we don't interrupt them prior to a call). This info-ad can lead to a direct connection with an advertiser's telemarketing arm. We also synchronise this e-personality to target ads to WAP and Web, again both interactively. Responses can come in any form available and logical, whether voice, SMS, e-mail, WAP or Web. I should mention that the power of our e-personality strategy is that our SpotBrain (the engine that creates the e-personality) uses real subscriber data acquired through questionnaires filled out when people sign up for the service. This data can then be used as a statistical model to create virtual personalities for people who do not register through a questionnaire. Thus, we use real world data rather than just "following the cookie". People are more complex than just how they surf the Internet. We get information from how they respond to ads on voice, SMS, e-mail, WAP and Web (these two being introduced in September). Since advertisers using the mobile phone tend to be more "real world" - often location based retail stores, restaurants, clubs, and services - the e-personality is more real world compared to many Internet targeting systems. S: Some leading ad agencies have already factored in an m-commerce division in their menu of offerings to clients. Do you see a prominent player emerging as a specialist in this environment? CO: At present, I think that most ad firms are just beginning to explore this issue. 24/7 Media Asia (a Chinadotcom company) has partnered with Spotcast in Asia and is demonstrating a strong leadership position there. Among the agencies, there is still a lot of learning to do. We encourage them to make m-commerce ads - especially the initial phase of voice ads that is sweeping the market - a part of a client's marketing mix. We do not see mobile advertising replacing TV or Newspaper, but it will have an important role to play, and I project that within five years, 25 per cent of all advertising could be mobile related through multi-access portals provided by mobile operators that link mobile talk, SMS, WAP and Web. S: There's been talk about the "privacy" or "fatigue-level" in m-commerce advertising in the area of listeners having to listen to ads in order to enjoy free calls. What's your take on this? CO: That is what they said when advertised TV was finally introduced in the UK. Consumers, however, valued the increased diversity of programming choice and quality. With mobile phones, some people will choose not to use advertising. However, those who want more service for less, or those who would like to gain value added services may choose to use the service. Our experience is that people prefer to receive things they cannot touch and hold through some sort of sponsorship. This would apply to mobile communications and the Internet (which uses the same model). We also believe that as people interact with the mobile phone for more of their media that the targeted nature of mobile advertising will mean they must endure fewer ads that are more appropriate. Generally one targeted ad is worth 10 mass media ads - because so many of the mass media ads are a waste. If we can reduce the number of ads experience by a factor of 10, we will have gone a long way to reducing the ad fatigue. Regarding privacy, Spotcast recognises that this is a very important issue and has created a unique encryption strategy that ensures we can never use the information they provide to us, for targeting purposes, for any purpose not allowed by them. In Singapore, consumers can log on to their own account, review the information they have provided and change it, meaning they are in control and know exactly what we know. This way, they can be certain that there is no abuse. Ultimately with so much information available, tools like the e-personality that allow consumers to obtain information through the Internet and for m-commerce, will become very important to consumers. As long as they are in control, and as long as they know what information is used to derive the ads and content delivered, they will be happy – at least that's what we believe. S: Since this medium is highly interactive what other opportunities do you see for advertisers? Research, sampling, etc.? CO: Absolutely, the applications are significant. Yes, research would be a clear example of the potential other areas of development. This will require a significant base and we would be focusing on this in the coming year. We also see that we can use what we learn about consumers in terms of their preferences and deliver content and information. Spotcast has already begun to develop "InfoSpot" which is a service that delivers content eadlines from multiple content providers that consumers can request more information about. We then deliver a story summary and inform them how they can receive this information in its full form, whether it be a web site, a WAP site, or a TV or newspaper. We choose the kind of content people want based on who they are. We can also choose internet and WAP site recommendations for consumers to try to make the internet a little less confusing. Right now most people visit a very small number of sites because they don't know what is available. If they start to be introduced to sites for instance through our WAP introduction service using voice to lead them to a WAP site, they can begin to gain access to the information they want. By linking all this into the e-personality of each consumer, we learn more and become more accurate in our guesses as to what consumers want. This means consumers get more information they really want. And, because the consumer is in full control of their own e-personality, they can make sure that it is doing what they want. Calgary Herald June 21, 2000 M-commerce: Cellphone Internet access will bring benefits to consumers and businesses alike They're multiplying, cell by cell. By the year 2003, cell phone users will top one billion worldwide. That prediction comes from the Gartner Group. It also predicts that between 50 and 75 per cent of those people will be using their phones for Internet access. That, in turn, will lead us into the world of mobile commerce, or m-commerce. Imagine the possibilities. You're in your favourite music store, contemplating buying a new CD but you're not sure that you'll like it. Why not just scan the CD's bar code with your cell phone and let it compare the disc with your own musical profile? Or maybe you're shopping at Safeway and, as you reach for a large rump roast, you wonder whether you're getting the best price. Again, just scan the bar code with your cell phone and compare meat prices in other Calgary stores. While m-commerce might seem far-fetched, it's likely only two to three years away. Three devices are leading the m-commerce revolution: cell phones, personal digital assistants like PalmPilots, and other devices such as digital cameras and radios. And in their wake the balance of consumer power will likely undergo a profound shift. M-commerce will allow instant comparison-shopping, at any time. While that scenario might scare some retailers, the flip side is that businesses will have unprecedented access to consumers. M-commerce has been made possible by Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) technology which is now built into many devices, making Internet access not only seamless but almost invisible. Interestingly, some countries, like Italy and Spain, are actually leap-frogging over ''traditional'' desktop- based e- commerce and heading straight for m-commerce. According to Nigel Rayner, a research director for the Gartner Group, the transition to m-commerce is part of an e-business evolution toward a more collaborative partnership. We've already undergone a few phases of this evolution. During the Internet's early years, dubbed the presence phase, many websites offered nothing more than an electronic brochure. Then, from about 1997 to 2000, more companies entered the interaction phase by adding basic search applications to their sites. By 2003 most companies are expected to be somewhere in the transaction phase, in which interactive services and transactions are conducted online. Beyond that, companies are predicted to enter the transformation phase by 2005 or earlier, depending on their technological level. This phase will present truly collaborative e-commerce, in which m- commerce will play a major role. It will involve change so radical that predictions are elusive. Industry analysts say that it's now almost as hard to imagine the transformation phase as it was for someone in 1992 to predict the state of technology that we now have. The State of Online Retailing, a recently released report by Boston Consulting Group and Shop. org, shows how online retailing is becoming a mass market. In 1999, a 120-per-cent growth in e-retail revenues for the year amounted to $33 billion. And it should get even bigger this year, as total e- retail revenues climb to a hefty $61 billion. As the world moves from wired to wireless, it's clear that the new global economy will be driven by a combination of technology (WAP or better) and collaborative m-commerce. But apart from the e-enthusiasm, there's a sobering thought -- more than half the people in the world have never made a telephone call. InfoWorld June 19, 2000 Oh the horror, the horror: The new world of wireless commerce runs amok THE ENTHUSIASM for wireless is rapidly gelling around the idea of commerce -- mobile commerce ("m- commerce" ... ugh). You'll be able to buy anywhere, anytime! You're no longer tethered to your desktop! You can buy stuff at the bus stop! Viva la revolution! Pardon me for being underwhelmed. Stop and ask yourself: "Just because we're developing the capability of purchasing via mobile systems, does that really mean people are going to develop a sudden and inexplicable Pavlovian desire to buy all the time?" Do we really expect the world to be gripped by the same fever that drives the Home Shopping Network? My bank account just happens to be a few orders of magnitude smaller than Bill Gates', so I actually don't want to spend money all the time. In fact, believe it or not, I don't want to spend my every waking moment buying things. Sure, there are lots of interesting tools for wireless -- maps, for instance. But you don't make a big business out of selling downloadable maps. And there are some goods that people will buy via m-commerce -- theater tickets, for example -- to avoid lines at the box office. But I don't think the world is going to suddenly develop a compulsive need to purchase a la the Home Shopping Network. In fact, some of the m-commerce ideas I'm hearing positively horrify me. One notion is that, as you stroll down the street, your handheld/Webphone/doohickey knows exactly where you are and alerts you to the specials being offered by merchants you pass by. This is an impressive integration of technologies. But can you imagine a world where a walk down the street is transformed into a commercial gauntlet you must brave, as the invisible hands of merchants all tap you on the shoulder? It turns my leisurely evening walks into a nightmarish assault on the senses. I pass by a cake bakery, a toy store, a dry cleaner, and a travel agency -- to name one block. Trust me, I don't want to hear about all their offers. The very idea makes me want to track down the chap who thought of this and bounce my cell phone off his skull. Most people hang up on telemarketers and dread dealing with sales people. Why on earth would I want to carry a miniature, digital version of such a pitchman in my pocket? Wireless opens up a whole new, quite unpleasant, world of spam. M-commerce -- no, make that successful m-commerce -- will not be about purchases. M-commerce will be about providing information which facilitates a purchase. Don't think commerce, think communication. There's a Grand Canyon-sized gap between those two ideas. It's the difference between offering a gadget for sale via handheld and giving access to information about that gadget -- the reviews, who's put it on their Christmas list, etc. -- and the ability to make a note to one's self: "Check this out, I might want it." This means companies that facilitate the exchange of information will be the key to m-commerce; companies such as Zkey.com. Zkey helps you move little bits of data: phone numbers, addresses, Christmas wish lists, whatever. Zkey stores your data, allows you to slice it by category, and deliver it to whomever needs it by whatever mechanism, whether it's a PC or a handheld. How often have you seen or heard a commercial and you instantly knew, "I must buy that!" Not often, I'd wager. So I don't think adding an instant wireless-commerce component is going to greatly add to the number of impulse purchases. Impulse purchases only occur when people have A) money to burn, or B) they already know exactly what they're getting. Telephilia, which does market research in the wireless space, found in a recent survey of wireless users that plain-old e-mail is the most sought-after app for wireless handhelds. In other words, basic communication. Don't build a strategy around selling things via m-commerce; build a strategy around communication and information. Make it simple for consumers to gather information by whatever channel is most appropriate, and eventually they'll buy. Wireless Review July 1, 2000 The M-Commerce Horizon In late May, the Wireless Data Forum (WDF) announced plans to work with the University of Texas' Center for Research in Electronic Commerce (CREC) on a mobile-commerce (m-commerce) program. At the WDF's Wireless Agenda 2000 later that month, Andrew Whinston, Ph.D., professor and director of CREC at the University of Texas-Austin, gave a presentation on m-commerce called "Wireless Meets the Internet Economy." Wireless Review recently discussed m-commerce's potential with Dr. Whinston: WR: What do you see on the m-commerce horizon in the next few years? Whinston: To understand what's going to happen and what is happening is to understand the economics of what's going on. The economics is that major wireless carriers have got to build value-added business. They, I think, have a concern that in the wireless area, because of competition, you'll move to a very unattractive rate framework for them as just pure carriers. (With m-commerce), they can then get incremental revenue from, in effect, competing with credit-card companies. You could see a world where you go to a Coke machine and use a smart card by Visa, or you just use your wireless phone and pay a monthly charge. There may be other such developments that put (carriers) into this value-added-service area. The challenge and what will push it forward in the United States is to get value-added revenue from these services. Otherwise, they're just selling a commodity, which is connect time. Whinston said other value-added services could include entertainment, interactive games and market research. M-commerce also could include car-repair information, traffic directions and stock trades. WR: What will determine which ideas succeed in the m-commerce marketplace? Whinston: My feeling is that entertainment will be extremely profitable because it will allow (carriers) to provide value-added services in terms of all sorts of games, educational and entertaining. People will pay to get access to these interactive games. Companies will be paying the carriers to do market research. It is basically instant customer feedback in a locational situation. Instead of my calling you and asking you if you've bought a Coke in the last 30 days and what you think of it, it's a locational situation, and the feedback is much more valuable to market-research people. People will respond if there is enough of an incentive. WR: Will this trend continue to larger ticket items, or is it likely to remain at the level of vending-machine purchases? Whinston: I think people will be buying and selling stocks (wirelessly). I think it's the nature of the transaction and the information that you need. In the short term, you are going to have a relatively impoverished Web site on your WAP phone compared with sitting in front of your computer. We have to recognize that. It may be that you're going to buy a large item, but you sat in front of a computer screen to look at visuals before you do (buy it with your phone). So, certainly big-ticket items will be purchased as long as the information you need is available. People will be buying plane tickets (with their phones). I was in Japan a few weeks ago, and people were doing that. WR: What are the main factors that will prompt m-commerce in North America? Whinston: The recognition of the carriers that they have to aggressively pursue value-added services. Then the carriers need to go to these more entrepreneurial companies that have the products and capability to get them integrated and delivered to handsets and other wireless devices. Wireless Review June 30, 2000 E-Commerce Care Dreams of wireless e-commerce (m-commerce) -- buying anything, anytime, anywhere -- have e-tailers and wireless-service providers giddy with the possibilities. But the nightmare of support after the sale is giving industry watchers and more than a few customers the sweats. In the heady world of hyper-competitive e-commerce, how can you couple the allure of mobile shopping with the kind of customer care that keeps buyers coming back? How you tackle that question will go a long way in determining if you survive or if you sit out the m- commerce boom. The sell-first, serve-later business model is swiftly becoming a relic. E-merchants have been known to offer products, hope they will fly, then worry about customer care later. Try that with m-commerce, and you may find yourself on the sidelines faster than you can say eBay. "As these industries mature, you'll see the barrier to entry for new organizations will include a more sophisticated level of customer service from the get-go," Kevin Anderson, Zamba Solutions mobile computing competency director, said. "The ingrained players will have a certain level of customer service. You'll have to at least be on par." Having both product and after-the-sale customer care ready from day one may never be more important than right now if your e-commerce and eventually m-commerce solution is to succeed. Amid April's NASDAQ nose dive, there was grim news from Forrester Research, which predicted that most online retailers would be gone by 2001. One estimate predicted just one of every six Internet companies would be alive by the end of next year. Far more positive predictions remain for wireless. Digital wireless users are outpacing Internet users, and the Yankee Group has said that within three years, more wireless devices will access the Internet than PCs -- with Intern et-capable handsets reaching nearly 50 million users by 2002. That number, some believe, will more than quadruple by 2005. All of which serves up a huge opportunity for the handset to advance the e-commerce boom dramatically. Overall e-commerce should reach $15 billion in 2000, and perhaps reach the staggering trillion- dollar mark by 2003. By 2004, it's believed mobile devices will deliver more than 40% of e-commerce revenues. The Yankee Group has estimated there will be more than one billion Web-enabled mobile devices by 2003, with more than 60% of transactions occurring via mobile devices. "Most people won't have their first experience on the Internet through a PC, but on a wireless device," Edward J. Zander, Sun Microsystems president, told attendees at this year's spring Comdex technology show. FOLLOW UP ON FOLLOW-THROUGH The potential of all of those wireless Internet users means now is the time to work out the bugs in your own m-commerce solutions. Experts say you should implement a customer-service application that provides an open order-management system and make sure it includes order fulfillment from point of sale right up to the moment of delivery. Part of Sprint PCS' e-care solution is sending a welcome package to new subscribers. The welcome packages arrive about 10 days after customers activate their phones. It gives them more information about the service, includes a thank-you note and suggests tips for setting up commonly used features, such as voice mail. All of this information is sent either by regular mail or e-mail. Then, between one and seven days after receiving their welcome packages, customers are called by Sprint PCS customer-care agents asking if they have any questions. "Customer-care follow-up is very important because the wireless industry is so competitive that Sprint PCS likes to set itself apart," said Jeff Chaltas, Sprint PCS spokesperson. "We've got to provide better service than anyone else." Outsourcing your customer care is another option. GERS is just one of the many technical-solutions firms offering customer-care applications. According to Rich Harmatiuk, GERS vice president, the company's customer-service application, Customer Direct, offers a complete monitoring system that steps in after the purchase and follows the merchandise practically to the customer's door. There's a confirmation e-mail after the order. When the order gets filled, an e-mail says, 'We've now filled the order and are preparing for shipment.' When it leaves the dock, an e-mail says, 'It's left the dock, and you can expect it in 48 hours,' Harmatiuk said. Tracking and e-mail notices will help abate misdirected and duplicate shipments, but what about live support? Customer Direct also incorporates call-center management that can handle phone, fax or e-mail service inquiries and "route those to the right people," Harmatiuk said. One of the biggest developments in e-commerce customer care is what research firm In-Stat Group calls Web-based customer interaction (WCI). WCI applications use four primary technologies to allow for real- time Web-based interaction -- e-mail response, chat, Web collaboration and voice over IP (VoIP). Of the four types of WCI, Sprint PCS currently only uses e-mail as a way of communicating with customers, but Chaltas said chat services were being evaluated as a way to improve customer support. Likewise, VoIP may be a future offering. "We find e-mail the most effective of all these means," Chaltas said. "It may not be as quick as the phone, but it is usually more efficient. We e-mail a reply in 24 hours, usually less. This way we can research a situation better and give a more educated response." In-Stat's research forecasts a potential boom in WCI, with about 1,600 medium-to-large business Web sites using a WCI application. Big names such as Oracle and Quintas are expected to join the WCI parade soon. By 2004, the WCI market could reach $1.8 billion. "Complementing traditional CRM (customer relationship management) solutions, a combination of start- ups and nimble vendors characterize the volatile landscape of this emerging WCI market," said In-Stat analyst Kirsten Cloninger. "As Web-based customer-interaction technologies integrate with, rather than complement, traditional CRM solutions, the two markets will begin to converge." WCI indeed may address the promise of e-commerce customer care, with its ability to take customers by the hand after the sale. Customers can get real-time updates about their orders and discuss the purchases with customer representatives. But fully integrating the traditional customer-service experience and shrinking it to the handset will unlock a whole new customer base. GOING MOBILE M-commerce is opening the door to a new era of customer care. "Ten to 15% of our eCRM solutions are going ahead with the wireless extension," said Shannon Denton, Xcelerate COO. "We expect that to increase by the end of the year to 50%." And the need for more m-commerce-ready solutions is rising. Donna Auguste, Freshwater, CEO, said her company's involvement in wireless-customer-service monitoring hasn't reached the level of demand it receives from traditional e-commerce merchants -- yet. Auguste said Freshwater is taking a closer look at scaling its solution to fit the mobile environment. A few vendors already are equipping merchants with m-commerce solutions. Xcelerate, for example, has an application specially designed to help emerging companies establish competitive architectures for the wireless Web. The company recently helped virtual start-up Kosherfinder.com – a site devoted to helping consumers of kosher foods find products and services -- revamp its site. Xcelerate added WAP-accessibility and an end-to-end solution to Kosherfinder.com's site. Now the company is able to capture mobile users and better serve them, all of which gives it the opportunity to increase its revenue. Asian Business June, 2000 M-commerce, the next big thing? While the Internet might have a lot of potential as an advertising medium, the phenomenal growth of mobile phones worldwide has created another effective medium to advertise products and services. The reasons are obvious. Analysts predict that there will be 1.4 billion mobile phone users in the world by 2003, 50% of whom will be Internet and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) enabled. An ACN Media Index survey in the US shows that mobile phones provide the advertising medium with the second-highest potential reach, after television. Andrew Watkins, Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Technology, Info-Coms and Entertainment Practice says: "More people will be accessible by mobile phones because of the convenience and ubiquity the device offer. New technology innovations like packet transmission being introduced into mobile networks, WAP-enabled applications, and the development of wireless portals, were among the drivers pushing the exponential growth of mobile phones." So how does mobile commerce work? Imagine you're checking the weather forecast in Hong Kong by dialling HKT Cable & Wireless' 18501 hotline. Before you hear the weather forecast, a 10-second announcement of their other services is played. That is exactly how m-commerce is going to work - but in a more personalised and customised manner. Craig Owensby, COO of Spotcast says: "Mobile phone technologies are changing with incredible speed. Within two years, mobile phones will evolve into multimedia devices for m-commerce to offer personal video communications, receive customised information, access the Internet online [24 hours a day] to order and shop, as well as for games, entertainment and chatting. Soon advertising through a mobile phone will be as normal as advertising in newspaper or TV." Still the concept is not a good proposition for subscribers who want to get connected instantly, without the commercial interruptions. So, what if a 20-50% discount on call charges for listening to a 10-second ad is offered? In the US, research firm ICR says the likelihood of acceptance among all mobile users would be 33% and 64% for users younger than 25 years. It is not surprising that the acceptance level is high in Hong Kong, a place where people are always looking for bargains: 65% for all mobile users and 85% for younger subscribers. But does that mean advertising on mobile phones is as effective as other traditional forms of brand marketing? Maybe it does. Owensby says with the personalised character of m-commerce, advertisers and commerce sites will seek to appeal to various segments, altering their looks, sound and feel to appeal to each person who hears an ad or seeks to purchase a product on their site. "The Internet is like a big mall white m- commerce is when you're inside the mall to select a specific product that specifically suits your needs," he adds. Spotcast provides new media technology and services that allow advertisers and portal sites to target their advertising and content based on a caller's mobile location, demographic profile, lifestyle interests and the time of calling. According to Owensby, Spotcast has successfully implemented mcommerce service trials with Peoples Phone in Hong Kong, achieving record growth of more than 80,000 new subscribers over the launch period. Advertisers include such blue-chip marketers as Procter & Gamble, Nokia, Gillete, Toshiba, Warner Brothers, Pizza Hut, as well as dotcom companies. SmarTone, Hong Kong's second largest mobile-phone company, also launched its m-commerce service with Spotcast early this year. It is offered to the company's EXTRA subscribers, the youthful PCS brand of SmarTone. In exchange for free airtime, Spotcast subscribers receive targeted 10-second audio advertisements and interactive promotional messages that are received prior to the completion of a wireless connection. But there are some operational issues that need to be addressed to roll out m-commerce services. Should cookies on mobile phones be allowed? Cookies are little tags that Internet users leave when they visit a site, allowing Internet sites to track the users' movements. If services are personalised, who owns the customer? How will people access the World Wide Web? Through mobile operators or ISPs? In Hong Kong, where a privacy ordinance is in effect, how many sites should be permitted to hold the personal information of consumers? What will be the preferred approach to providing m-commerce - the open "anarchy" or the present Internet, or through "walled gardens" that protect and limit access? Agence France Presse June 18, 2000 M-commerce new mantra for Indian software firms As mobile phones threaten to outpace the growth of desktops, Indian software firms are looking to take on the world in the emerging markets of mobile commerce and wireless communications. The global wireless technology market is expected to be worth nearly 10 trillion dollars in five years and m-commerce, analysts say, would open new business avenues for Indian firms. "Indians have an equal chance in the m-commerce and wireless area to prove our technological competence in building software, as it is still a happening thing in the US," said Santosh Xavier, senior manager of Silicon Automation Systems. "We were left behind in the Internet revolution, but we will make sure that we will emerge on top of this one," Xavier told AFP. Companies such as Silicon Automation, some dot.com firms and other Indian Wirless Application Protocol (WAP) start-ups are putting together core teams of skilled engineers to tap the growing m- commerce market. "We are focusing on building WAP gateways to enable people to access the Internet. WAP's main function is for accessing Internet through mobiles," Xavier said. Silicon Automation -- the only Indian member of the 600-strong international WAP Forum -- is eyeing Europe and the United States, as well as the China market which has 22 million mobile and smart devices. "We will be testing our first product in China shortly. Indian software experts can deliver and contribute to a host of applications in m-commerce and WAP," Xavier said. An Indian consortium, comprising the state government of Karnataka and other bodies, launched a WAP initiative last week aimed at forging a leading role for India in the development of future Internet technologies and their deployment. The initiative seeks to develop and support Internet sites in India that will make available WAP, Bluetooth and other associated technology standards and define the role of a body that will advise the government in framing relevant laws. Prakash Panjwani, Nokia's product marketing manager for South Asia, said new technologies meant many people's first taste of the Internet would soon be through their mobile phones. "Cellular phones will outnumber personal computers as we move into a mobile information society. The Internet, mobility and digitalisation of books and other information will be the main drivers in this society," Panjwani said. "By 2003, there will be more handsets connected to the Internet than desktops, worldwide. Importantly, information technology, telecommunications and consumer electronics are converging." Panjwani said the m-commerce industry would be worth 200 billion dollars by the end of this year and new global players were "entering fast." Jasmeet Singh, vice-president of Rediff.com India Ltd., said the m-commerce and wireless market in India would take off in a big way. "We are now providing a bunch of services ranging from news to astrology on cellular phones. The applications will also enable Internet browsing and notification services soon," Singh said. "This is the cutting edge of technology and the users will benefit. I forsee a crash in the prices of WAP- enabled cellular phones in India soon," he said. "By 2003, mobile phones in India, from the present three million, will overtake personal computers which are at about 11 million," Singh said. Industry experts said India could excel in client software development, packaged software development for the global market and embedded systems design, as well as development in the m-commerce and wireless era. True Blue Technologies Pvt Ltd., a three-month-old start-up firm, is building its development plans around wireless. "We are building applications for certain protocols, languages and platforms. Also, our technology product called DynaWeb will help connect the old wired world to new wireless devices. The company will licence it globally," said True Blue director Ramesh Ramaswamy. "We are looking for global contracts and have started with a team of 15 professionals after being convinced that the future of telecommunications is wireless," Ramaswamy said. Mohan Kumar, managing director of Motorola India Electronics Ltd., said: "It took 100 years for land lines to reach the one billion mark worldwide. The mobile took only 10 years to reach the same, since 1987." WIRELESS DATA NEWS June 21, 2000 Wireless Brokerage and Financial Apps Lead M-commerce Revolution First things first. Mobile commerce is still in its hype-phase. It'll be another year before large numbers of consumers start to regularly use wireless devices to do things such as buy books from Amazon.com [AMZN], or check their eBay [EBAY] bidding status on a Palm [PALM] Pilot. The Wireless Application Protocol's (WAP) Version 1.2 is now approved and increasingly being put into development, as well as development of new wireless security standards. With all this standards activity, analysts anticipate that m-commerce will be one of the most sticky wireless Internet applications in the next three years. Leading the applications will be wireless brokerage services. "I definitely think it's one of the easiest-to-understand applications for m-commerce because of the completely non-physical nature of brokerage," says Ken Usdin, research analyst at UBS Warburg LLC. "[Users have] a long way to go before they have a nice interface, but I think in the short run it's one of the easiest things to imagine that people would do." W-Trade Technologies, a New York-based wireless application developer, is banking on wireless brokerage by providing the technologies companies can offer wireless financial services, including stock trading and banking. "In specific reference to brokerage, the ramp-up has begun in earnest," says Donna Oliva, w-Trade CEO. "We think it will continue to ramp steadily in the next several years." Earlier this month, w-Trade announced a partnership with broker Quick & Reilly to offer securities trading on most major wireless devices. "Wireless trading is without a doubt, a 'killer app' in various regions of the world," says Kathy Simpson, director of developer marketing for Phone.com [PHCM]. Nearly 80 percent of desktop Web surfers also will browse while on the go within a year, according to results of a survey by e-commerce technology vendors Cap Gemini America and Corechange. While 3 percent of U.S. Internet users also are using mobile Web devices today, that number will grow to 78 percent in the next 12 months, according to the research. But the speed of m-commerce growth is contingent upon the evolution of wireless devices. Which is why Phone.com offers extensive WAP tutorials and information to its partners through its WAP development program. Many big m-commerce players, including eBay, are members of Phone.com's developer program. "We're starting to see those offering [e-commerce] platforms moving into the wireless space," Simpson says. Phone.com's developer program increased 1,300 percent in the last year. Some of the 100,000 developer program members include AOL [AOL], Barnesandnoble.com [BNBN] and Amazon.com. WAP Version 1.2's launch, slated for December, further promotes m-commerce integration, says Ryan Fife, senior technical architect of embedded solutions at wireless developer AnywhereYouGo.com. Version 1.2 provides push notification services to wireless phones and content is more quickly sent to the server so it can be quickly customized for different devices. "WAP is really taking off worldwide, and it will be the largest driver of commerce on mobile devices," Fife says. And in a year, WAP devices will be even better suited for transactions. "I know that there are further enhancements in WAP Version 1.3 that will help m-commerce," Simpson says. The Asian Banker Journal July 7, 2000 World's First Complete M-Commerce System Launched In a move set to revolutionise the banking and telecommunication industries and make mobile commerce a reality, MasterCard International, Brokat and Siemens have joined hands to create the world's first end to end m-commerce system. The three parties signed the memorandum of understanding in Kuala Lumpur on June 19. This latest development will mean that companies and individuals will now be able to make payments and execute transactions in a secure and expedient way via a mobile phone. This will be made possible using a "virtual card" concept. The SIM card in the phone will be a flexible , multi-application card based on the MULTOS operating system. It will hold a secure credit or debit application based on the mobile digital signature technology. Under the agreement, MasterCard will provide the payments solution as well as be the clearing system using the MULTOS operating system, Mondex e-cash application and M/chip credit or debit application. Brokat will provide the electronic platform and front office connectivity to ensure that data and applications are effectively and securely transmitted through different channels. Siemens will provide the m-commerce solutions and applications such as mobile shopping mall, mobile banking and mobile brokerage. In addition, it will introduce a new security application for credit card payments, which will alert the customer each time his or her credit card is used. The system is presently awaiting an intellectual property patent and is expected to be available in two months' time. Research has revealed that the rate of growth of m-commerce will be faster than e- commerce. This is especially so in Asian countries like Singapore, South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong where mobile phone penetration rate is high. According the Arc Group, more than 700 million mobile customers will participate in m-commerce by 2004. Business Wire June 21, 2000 New Company Makes Mobile Commerce a Reality Bypassing early-stage automated voice-portals and Internet-enabled phones, quixiSM, a new wireless/Internet company, will offer a free summer trial of its three timesaving, mobile services: quixi Connect, quixi Find and quixi Shop. Looking to capture the early stages of the "m-commerce" (or mobile commerce) marketplace, estimated to reach $200 billion by 2005(a), quixi spearheads the category with the ability to use its services now, through ANY phone (data enabled or not) and with the assistance of a live, human helper. According to a recent Harris Interactive poll in major metropolitan areas, nearly 60 percent of wireless users agree that due to advances in technology, they no longer need to be physically present in an office to do their jobs. quixi is responding to this changing, mobile workforce by being the first company to integrate wireless access, Internet technology and a human being to help busy professionals communicate, find relevant information and conduct m-commerce on the go quickly and conveniently. Consumers can now sign up to become charter members of the pilot program, receiving the service free through August 31. Charter members will be able to test three new timesaving services: -- quixi Connect - a quick way to communicate with the people in your life. By calling one number, a quixi helper connects you instantly to anyone on your personal contact list stored with quixi (easy to upload or synch using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) such as the PalmPilot, Personal Information Managers (PIMs) such as Outlook or Lotus Notes, Internet-based address books, or by having quixi enter your paper- based contacts electronically). No need to scroll through your mobile phone while driving or worry if you've forgotten your PDA--quixi has your information and can put you through at the touch of a button. -- quixi Find - get everyday information when you need it such as driving directions, movie times and locations, and soon expanded services such as restaurant recommendations, and more. -- quixi Shop - mobile commerce (m-commerce) at its easiest. Contact a quixi helper to conduct your entire m-commerce transaction for anything available on the Internet. To support the pilot launch of this timesaving service, quixi is offering a free trial to anyone in need of extra time. By simply registering at www.quixi.com or calling 1-800-Q-HELPER (1-800-743-5737), consumers can benefit from the quixi experience of letting someone else do the work for you and get things done. The monthly service cost of quixi will be $19.95 following this trial offering. "In a recent Jupiter survey, 90 percent of shoppers reported they want human interaction when purchasing on the Web," stated Robert Pines, co-founder, quixi. "quixi, with our live, human helpers, is poised to deliver to consumers the desired features that traditional e-tailers and brick-and-mortar outlets lack- -interactive customer service combined with the ability to shop at any time from anywhere." Newsbytes July 12, 2000 Europe Ripe For Internet Investors, Fund Company Says A slower start for Internet access and e- commerce in Europe spells opportunities for investors today, according to the managers of a new mutual fund composed entirely of European Internet stocks. While investors have recently watched share prices erode for former high-flying US Internet companies, the managers of the Monument EuroNet Fund say the European market is just now entering the kind of Internet-investment balloon seen earlier in North America. "For US investors, this is almost like being able to get into a time machine and go back two or three years to recapture the big run-up in Net stocks," Bob Grandhi, co-manager of fund and chief investment officer for the Monument Fund Group of Bethesda, MD. "The difference is that investors will be getting in on the ground floor in Europe rather than in the United States." While Monument clearly has an interest in promoting its EuroNet Fund, which it manages in concert with Paris, France-based Financiere Rembrandt, it claims that a plethora of research supports the notion that Europe is on the verge of explosive growth in Internet use. In addition, the fund managers say, the European market will evolve somewhat differently than in the US, with a focus on mobile e-commerce (what they call "m-commerce") that may eventually see Europe eclipse the North American Internet market. Research from Datamonitor suggests that, while the total value of e-commerce will remain higher in the US for some time, growth in slow-starting Europe could be pegged at 100 percent a year through 2004, when it would reach a total value of $2.4 trillion. Forrester Research has predicted that, with the costs of personal computers and Internet access dropping across Europe, the use of PCs in homes will surge through 2003, with some countries surpassing penetration rates in the US. Forrester said in a March 2000 report that European Internet access via PCs will increase threefold by 2005. But the EuroNet Fund managers said that, perhaps more importantly, Europeans are already more likely to use cellular phone-based technology to access the Internet and will likely be leaders in "m- commerce." That's important to those thinking of investing in European Internet stocks, the managers said, because, while US companies may dominate Web-based e-commerce, Europe is home to a number of leaders in the mobile telecommunications field. Grandhi called m-commerce Europe's "secret weapon." "People are much more likely in Europe to use their phone to access the Web," he said. "And this is significant because phones are less expensive than computers and are rapidly becoming acceptable for consumer purchases.... M-commerce could be what puts Europe over the top." Cyrille Vernes, chairman of Financier Rembrandt in Paris, said mobile-phone penetration in France has reached 40 percent of consumers, bringing that country even closer to its Nordic counterparts, which boast some of the highest adoption rates on the globe for mobile technology. "You can see by walking in the streets a European addiction to the mobile telephone," he said. "This is why we believe that m-commerce will probably overtake e-commerce in the future." By 2005, the number of mobile subscribers in Europe is expected to reach 250 million, Vernes said. In addition, he said, European companies are increasingly flexing their financial muscle around the globe, listing such high-profile transactions as France-based Vivendi's bid for the Seagram Company and its entertainment holdings, compatriot Alcatel's purchase of Newbridge Networks, Spain's Terra Networks and its plan to purchase Lycos, plus this week's news that Germany's Deutsche Telekom has its eye on VoiceStream Wireless Corp. Vernes also said that the Europe's Internet "start-ups" often come out of the gates in initial public offerings (IPOs) as fundamentally different beasts than those in the US. In Europe, he said, a lack of easy access to venture capital means that there are few companies launching IPOs with little more than an idea and negative cash flow. Instead, he said, an IPO is more likely to be spinning off from one of Europe's established businesses. Vernes said among examples of such IPOs on the horizon is Wanadoo, a France Telecom spin-off that it the country's number one Web portal. In another example, reports today say Germany's Deutsche Telekom is preparing an IPO for its T-Mobil International subsidiary that analysts say could raise more than $9 billion in a sale of just 10 percent of its stock. The Straits Times (Singapore) June 23, 2000 The day will come when cell phones will come free They will be so common here, people will use them to shop and bank, among other things. Operators will give them out for free to protect market share TODAY, it may be free talk-time on your mobile phone, but when mobile-commerce takes off in a few years, SingTel and its competitors may have to start giving out free mobile phones too. That, according to a mobile-commerce technology company, might happen when mobile phones are so common that people use them to shop, bank, navigate, and even buy a drink from vending machines. Mobile-commerce (m-commerce) refers to the use of mobile phones and portable computers to buy services and products. Said Mr Craig Owensby, president of SpotCast Communications: "In the US, phones are being given away to protect customer base." Speaking at a workshop on m-commerce for journalists yesterday, he said mobile operators here may start doing the same in about four years. He added that the free phones would be no-frills sets, and the cost would be recovered through advertising revenue, m-commerce transactions and data sales. SpotCast is the company which provided the technology behind SingTel Mobile's new ad-sponsored free mobile-phone service. M-commerce will also take off with faster mobile Internet-access technologies, such as 3G, and more compelling content and services. 3G is a mobile technology under development that allows fast Internet access on cell phones and palmtop computers. Mr Owensby said local mobile-phone operators would likely evolve to provide a "trusted one-stop service" to users. Mobile phones will become a point-of-sale device, a bill consolidator, content and information guide, entertainment avenue, and source of advertisements. With another wireless technology, called Bluetooth, a mobile phone would also communicate with household devices, he said. "You walk into your home, and your mobile phone tells your TV "I'm here', and your favourite channel will come on." Also speaking at the workshop was Mr Tan Shong Ye, a principal of Pricewaterhouse Coopers' infocomm and entertainment practice, who said mobile-phone ownership worldwide may surpass that of televisions in the next five years. He added that mobile phones could become the most widely-used device to access the Internet. He said that in Finland, people could already use their phones to pay for a car wash or buy a drink from vending machines just by dialing a premium number. NOT JUST FOR TALKING THE next time junior goes missing, a quick check on a mobile phone may be all it takes to to trace the errant child -provided he, too, has a mobile phone. With future mobile phones capable of more applications and services, this could become a reality. For instance, the Global Positioning System technology, a satellite- based navigation system, could be fused with mobile phones to help people get around. Some other ideas tossed up at yesterday's m-commerce workshop include: * Credit-card phones: The chip in the mobile phone could double up as a credit-card chip, and use the phone's wireless access to process payments. * Computer phones: Forget notebook computers. Just add a mobile phone to a hand-held computer and foldable screen and keyboard. * e-personality: A mobile phone will become an alter ego for its owner, who will be identified not by his name, but his phone number. This alter ego will take the likes and habits of a user online. The Times (London) July 10, 2000 Securing future of m-commerce revolution One in two Britons now owns a mobile phone and this relentless drive towards cellphones means that the way we shop and bank will change dramatically. Rather than queue for our holiday currency, we will dial a number and have it delivered. And instead of firing up a PC to book a cut-price flight, it will be done via clicks on the keypad. However, there is one danger in this shift from e-commerce to mobile commerce, or "m-commerce" as it is known. How can we be sure that a connection between us, our phone operator and a shop remains secure, and how do people know they are talking to a genuine customer? The result is a booming multimillion pound m-commerce security industry that is expected to have the services in place by next year to ensure that consumers, networks and vendors can deal with one another safely, minimising the risk of fraud. With two in three Finns owning a mobile phone it is no surprise that the home of Nokia is leading the revolution. Finnish state-owned operator Sonera - formerly Telecom Finland - is running a trial that is due to go live to consumers there at the end of the year and possibly hit Britain, after Germany, towards the end of next year. To test security, Sonera SmartTrust - the company's m-commerce wing - has set up a service with Thomas Cook that allows trial users to order foreign currency and have it delivered anywhere. All the person has to do is access the service with a Wap phone, select the amount, pick a delivery point and the money is sent within 24 hours. "We put our own secure processor on the mobile's smart cards so it has a certificate and is able to encrypt all traffic between the handset and Thomas Cook," says Andrew Campbell, business development manager at Sonera SmartTrust. "When somebody sets up the account they let Thomas Cook know their bank and credit card details for extra security, so these do not have to be transmitted over the airwaves. "We use the standard Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology to encrypt details of the transaction so it is secure. All the mobile owner has to do is enter a PIN card to fire up the system. "It ensures they know they are definitely dealing with Thomas Cook, and vice versa. If a thief got hold of the phone the system is password protected so it cannot be used in the time it takes the operator to deactivate the SIM." Data Monitor's latest figures suggest that, by 2004, two in three of the 21million Europeans who will be using net banking will do so via a mobile. Already the Woolwich has launched a Wap banking service but this is just the tip of the iceberg, according to Norman Frankel, director of mobile commerce at Logica. "There are another eight or so banks working on the same sort of technology, so it's going to be huge pretty soon," says Frankel. "We've just finished a trial with Barclaycard and VisaCash to prove that money can be downloaded on to smart card electronic purses. Mobile commerce is going to be massive but we are expecting it to start next year, rather than this, because operators are still concentrating on getting the most out of pay-as-you-go phones and are busy setting up Wap services, like Genie. "Once that has quietened down, you will find a whole new range of services will emerge, allowing you to buy anything you can get over the net from your mobile." Logica, which claims to have invented the term m-commerce, co-founded the Global Mobile Commerce Forum in 1997 with BT Cellnet. The industry group estimates that, by the end of next year, there will be 50million mobile commerce compatible handsets in the world and more than half of the new handsets will be capable of being used for banking services and buying goods. This will mean, its research suggests, that by as early as 2003 half of all net access will be from mobile phones. Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC) June 20, 2000, Tuesday MOBILE COMMERCE' MAKING MORE NEWS QUESTION: I've been seeing the term "m-commerce" a lot lately. What does the "m" stand for? ANSWER: "M-commerce" is short for "mobile commerce." As more consumers get wireless access to the Internet via hand-held devices, retailers are looking for ways to sell their wares on such devices. With mobile commerce, a person doesn't have to use a personal computer to buy merchandise on the Net. Instead, consumers can shop from anywhere, as long as they have wireless Internet access. Some analysts say cell phones soon will be the "killer app" in m-commerce. Business Wire June 20, 2000 Orange Selects AirFlash to Deploy Location-Based Infrastructure for Major Mobile Internet Trial in U.K. Orange Personal Communication Services Ltd. today announced a major trial with AirFlash, Inc., the premier ASP of wireless location and m-Commerce infrastructure, to develop the first phase of Orange's location-based mobile portal for its end users. The trial includes developing location-based business listings, ATM finder, driving directions and hotel information for the U.K. market, enabling users to search for information, such as restaurants and hotels, according to their current or future location. "Delivering location services is a key cornerstone of our mobile portal strategy for providing value- added mobile Internet services to our customers, as we believe that location will be a key driver of m- Commerce in the future," said Sue Lambert, Orange head of Strategic Relations. "AirFlash's vision for the evolution of mobile portals has proven to be a good fit with our own vision, and its technology infrastructure provides a broad and flexible platform upon which Orange can develop future services." "Orange is the company that really sets the agenda for other mobile operators to follow in Europe, especially in bringing to market innovative customer services," said Rama Aysola, founder and CEO of AirFlash. "This is a very exciting project for AirFlash, and I'm delighted that we were chosen as the partner to take part in this ground-breaking trial for the delivery of truly mobile Internet services." Upon a successful completion of the trial, Orange will make the location-based element of its mobile portal, based on AirFlash's SmartZone(TM) technology, commercially available to customers. Orange will also work with AirFlash(TM) to develop the second phase of its location-based mobile portal offering, which will involve the integration of Orange's own content into AirFlash's Mobile Context and SmartZone environments. Newsbytes July 5, 2000 KPMG To Telcos: Partner Up For M-Commerce Or Die Telecommunications companies are not equipped to single-handedly take on the challenge of the new mobile Internet economy and must find partners to make successful transitions, global business consultants KPMG International said in a report, "Creating the New World Wireless Operator." "The overall intention (of the report) was confirmation of what a lot of people have been saying - the mobile Internet and m-commerce (mobile commerce) is a huge business and it's growing faster than what we anticipated," Mark Carleton, national industry director for KPMG's communications practice, told Newsbytes today. In some European countries mobile phones already outnumber fixed lines and m-commerce will total $23 billion (Euro) by 2003 compared to $300 million in 1998. While the US is running behind Europe in wireless use, the pace of overall growth is so rapid that within a few years there will be more wireless connections to the Internet than fixed. That means mobile operators will need to shift from voice-centric network carriers to data-centric network providers, a change that requires partnerships. "Few, if any, telcos can make the transition from old world voice products to new world Mobile Internet services without a partner - to share risk, maximize opportunity and minimize time to revenue," KPMG said in the report. If previous phases of economic change were evolution, the collision of mobile technology and the Internet is a big bang. "The revolution is called the Mobile Internet and the impact it will have on telcos, ISPs (Internet service providers) and any organization wishing to transact in the new world economy will be immense," the report said. Cellular phone maker Nokia has predicted that in 2005, more than 1 billion mobile phones will be in use and a good share of the sets sold that year will have multimedia capabilities, KPMG notes. The first wave of m-commerce will be mobile professional applications, which will get employees away from their desks but still able to access e-mail and other data no matter where they are, creating a dramatic shift in the value chain. "In the old world, 70 percent of the value remained with the telco; in the new world, 75 percent of the value will belong to content providers, content creators and service providers," the paper said. But, says KPMG to telcos, if you snooze, you lose. "The massive changes create enormous opportunities for those who react first and a major threat for those who ignore them." To succeed, telecommunications companies must re-focus to data-centric services; recognize that customer management and services provision will be key; form new business models to accommodate third party relationships; and establish new time frames for technology investments and application development. InfoWorld June 19, 2000 Mobile commerce takes off THE SECOND HALF of 2000 will witness an unprecedented explosion in mobile e-commerce, or so-called m-commerce, fueled mainly by three industry segments: financial services, travel, and retail. Although many companies are still grappling with the problems of wired e-commerce, the demands of these three markets are causing companies including electronics retailer BestBuy, shopping mall owner General Growth Properties (GGP), and reservation system Galileo to go further and target the mobile market. According to analysts, this is a necessary step because these companies' target is a workforce of consumers displaying diminishing brand loyalty in order to access their business and personal data wherever they are. "These are the industries that are time-and location-sensitive," said Kelly Quinn, senior analyst at Aberdeen Group, in Boston. For traditional companies, maintaining existing customers rather than attracting new ones appears to be the greatest impetus for deploying a mobile solution. Mark Ebel, director of digital communication services at Minneapolis-based BestBuy, the No. 1 brick-and-mortar retailer in consumer electronics in the United States with annual sales of $12.5 billion, noted that an erosion of electronics purchases from brick-and-mortar stores is under way. "More than 500 consumer electronic stores closed in the past year alone," Ebel said. In response to this, BestBuy in the next 30 days will launch BestBuy.byair.com, a wireless shopping site. BestBuy's intention is to use its wireless site as another method to stay connected to its increasingly mobile customer base. "In this age of geographic[ally] diverse individuals who travel and want to provide gifts for family and friends, we believe Bestbuy.byair gives them a local feel," Ebel said, adding that "The dot-com [component] is a wonderful marketing tool." Currently in development for BestBuy are personalized marketing initiatives to alert customers to products and services, and the company also is investigating location-based marketing via global positioning technology soon to be in all cell phones. Technology and marketing partners include Microsoft, which bought slightly less than 2 percent of BestBuy's equity for $200 million. ASP (application service provider) GWCom will manage the wireless part of BestBuy's e-commerce activities, and Everypath will supply the HTML to WML (Wireless Markup Language) for WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) technology. And these companies are not the only ones looking to increase the face time with their current customer base. GGP will launch its Mallibu.com site later this month. Chicago-based GGP has 136 properties in 36 states with 35 million visitors per year (almost 20 percent of the U.S. population), and a market cap of $8 billion. Nevertheless, company officials believe that m- commerce is essential to the company's long-term supremacy, according to Charlie Graves, senior vice president for e-business at GGP. During the next year, GGP will roll out an increasingly robust site that will include a Web site for every store in its malls. It will incorporate a logistics component that includes an e-commerce drive-through for pickup of online orders. The wireless component is a key part of the initiative, Graves said. "Because of the way malls are built with concrete and steel, you cannot get a wireless signal in our properties. With microcells, I can program the messaging in my world, specific to my mall. I can localize it tightly to flash an instant coupon, for example," Graves said. Graves also sees the benefits of mobile commerce. "We have shoppers coming to a mall 50 times a year, and I don't even know their names. Now we can market to them exactly what they want when they want it," Graves said. By 2004 there will be 1 billion cell phones worldwide, according to IDC, and half of them will be Internet- enabled. In the travel world, Rosemont, Ill.-based Galileo, one of the four major reservation system companies, will be rolling out its mobile service to corporate travel departments and travel agents later this year. Users will be able to make and change flights reservation using their cell phones and book rental cars and hotel rooms. One industry analyst believes corporate agents will jump on the service as a way to keep track of changes made by its employees. "Travelers tend to be cowboys who change their trips while they are traveling. The Galileo system updates the corporate agency of any changes the traveler makes and can be used to steer employees to preferred carriers," said Kate Rice, director of information services at Phocus Wright, in Sherman, Conn. In addition, tracking employee or department travel expenditures is helpful during budget negotiations, Rice said. But as these established brick-and-mortars stake their m-commerce claim, they will face competition from pure-play Internet companies trying to displace them with their own mobile-commerce initiatives. One of those companies, VirtualBank, is expected to target high-tech companies that have private-label financial services with the first business-to-employee deals signed with Compaq, storage giant EMC, and diversified company Textron. Wireless Review June 30, 2000 Testing the Water Every time you turn around, another company has jumped into the ocean of the Internet. The wireless industry is no different. Look at the statistics, and it seems as if everyone is saying, "Come on in, the water's fine." Currently, e-commerce is a $500 billion business. In five years, the number of people with wireless phones will hit one billion, about twice the number of PC owners, and many of these phones will be WAP- enabled, unleashing a tidal wave of potential revenue streams for providers. There are some things to consider before you wade into the choppy water, though. Where is the technology? What about content? The first step toward unlimited wireless e-commerce (m-commerce) is putting Web microbrowsers in the hands of wireless consumers. Sophisticated Internet-ready smart phones finally are making their way to the marketplace. An estimated 50 million U.S. consumers will own one within the next two years. "By July, we expect that 60% of all the phones we ship will be equipped with Web browsers," said Joe Gardner, Alltel staff manager, wireless products. "By the end of the year, it will be about 90%. The speed at which the wireless Web is evolving is incredible." The rapid pace of wireless Web accessibility and the inevitable growth in e-commerce is creating double-barrel competitive pressure on service providers. On the one hand, they have to create useful, intuitive Internet portals and do it quickly, as customers soon will be clamoring for wireless Web services. Meanwhile, they have to address the technical issues involved in delivering wireless Internet connectivity. CREATIVE CONTENT To create an inviting Internet portal, providers first must determine the right mix of content. What makes the job difficult is the newness of the medium and the incredible number of options available. Search engines, weather and entertainment sites are just a small sampling of the many content options available to providers. And there's also the option of allowing wireless subscribers to create their own portal configurations, which creates a new set of technical issues for providers. Content selection is a little like deciding what will be on the menu at a banquet for millions of guests. "The companies that can figure out the best physical Web presence and the related technologies will be the ones that succeed," said John Yuzdepski, Sprint PCS.com vice president. "Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book called The Age of Access in which he says life will become a continuing shopping experience," explained Yuzdepski. "The goal then is to give consumers a wireless companion that knows all about them and their preferences. It would allow them to shop, set up accounts, and view and pay their bills. It's mobility commerce, the entire shopping experience on a handset." Every provider wants to give its subscribers the best shopping experience possible, so there's a mad scramble under way to team up with the content partners who will create added value. It's like choosing sides for a high-dollar game of pick-up basketball; everyone wants to have the best players. "Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships; that's the focus for wireless providers at the moment," said Jeff Geisea, Fiercewireless.com publisher. "Partnerships plus the software, technology and goods to create custom portals. Everyone wants to have a strong Internet presence." "We've been doing a trial since February to fine-tune our system," said Alltel's Gardner. "The purpose was to validate our methods and find out what's important to customers. We've been testing a mix that includes stock quotes, weather, travel information, news headlines, and horoscopes. The surprise was how popular the horoscope information was." Gardner added that his company will have a couple of unique features that will benefit consumers. "We're testing a universal-shopping-cart feature that allows the consumer to make purchases on multiple Web sites and load them into a single shopping cart for payment," he explained. "We also are testing a technology called SKU (store keeping unit) comparison. This option will make it possible to type an SKU number of a product into a handset and get competitive prices from other stores. We think these are very innovative and useful tools that will create added value for our subscribers." Some service providers are choosing to outsource their content. InfoSpace, a Denver-based information-platform company, hosts Internet Web sites for more than 20 wireless providers. Like many Web-hosting companies, InfoSpace provides the content portion of the solution. InfoSpace offers a variety of content options including Prio. Prio creates a consumer profile that includes credit-card numbers and purchasing information. A subscriber can go online and search for a particular good or service. Prio will respond with a list of merchants including those that are having sales or special promotions. Subscribers can go to the store, purchase items with their credit cards and get discounts automatically without even mentioning it. The greatest benefit of such a system, said Shivers, is that it removes the burden of funding the system from the subscriber and transfers it to the merchant. "The wired Internet relies on banner advertising to pay for much of its cost," he explained. "That won't work well on the wireless Web because of the small screen sizes and slow download speeds. With this system, merchants have an incentive to pay to put promotional information on the Internet. It gives the small retailer a chance to be part of Internet commerce, and it creates a revenue stream for the wireless Internet carriers." WIRELESS TRANSACTIONS With the advent of wireless Internet, many industry experts predict the handset likely will become a virtual wallet, providing access to personal identification and a debit account that will allow the user to make transactions on the spot. How rapidly banks adopt m-commerce technologies will perhaps determine the future for some of these concepts. "It is unclear in the United States whether the mobile telephone companies will take the lead in creating m-commerce, or whether it will be the banks," said Peter van Es, Logica executive vice president. According to van Es, Europe's adoption of wireless e-commerce has occurred more quickly for a couple of reasons. "In Europe, the mobile telephone companies wanted to own the customer and access to the wireless portal, so they took the lead in developing the system," he explained. "Europe also has SMS, which can be handset-originated because of WAP. And the debit system of payment was well-accepted in Europe, more so than here. In America the technical obstruction was (that) the subscriber couldn't originate messages or transactions on the handset. The companies here need to upgrade the SMS system, and undoubtedly it's going to happen." "We've talked to several banks, but nothing is definite yet," said Alltel's Gardner. "You have to have a financial presence available so subscribers can call up and perform transactions. I think we'll see credit-card companies as part of our portal offering, and perhaps brokerage services, too. All this within the next 12 months." TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY As service providers contemplate the complexities of content, they also have to ponder the problem of technology. Getting a wireless Web site to work properly for millions of customers isn't easy. A lot of new technology is being deployed to make Internet access smooth and reliable for subscribers who are used to a desktop Internet experience. "Ramping up for wireless Internet first requires an inner-working function," explained Gardner. "Then you must have a sophisticated modem bank and a quick-Net connect, which allows a caller to get an Internet connection fast without the tones that you usually hear. Next is the gateway, then the portal configuration, which is the home page. There's also conversion software necessary, which translates the information into something the microbrowser can translate." This, Gardner said, was the short version of the preparation necessary to make wireless Internet connection possible. The bad news is that the process will be repeated in about three years when 3G technology is fully operational. The new networks will be able to process data 200 times faster than current GSM connections, making multimedia and real-time video possible. The impact of Bluetooth will be at once subtle and profound as it could change the way we work and conduct simple transactions. Analysts agree that the wireless Web and m-commerce is perhaps the most exciting revolution since the deployment of cellular service, which only confirms that there's no better time then right now to prepare your Internet business plan. Wireless Review June 30, 2000 Secure Connections I love you. Last month, those three words meant certain death to 40 million people's e-mail service. The "Love Bug" computer virus reportedly had the ability to steal passwords, PINs and other secret codes from your computer, laptop or PDA. Even without the aid of viruses, hackers have made their way into such fortresses as Vermont National Bank and the British Army. With the number of EBPP users predicted to increase and the potential of wireless e-commerce (m- commerce) looming, what's to stop hackers from victimizing you and your customers? Complex encryption algorithms, digital signatures and certification, end-to-end solutions, and the formation of industry security standards will help put an end to cyber crime and keep EBPP safe. Currently, EBPP uses secure socket layer (SSL), with 128-bit RSA encryption. It is the Internet's de facto standard for all business transactions. This solution is accepted worldwide and used by millions of consumers everyday, but encryption experts say the industry may be moving toward higher-bit key lengths as e- commerce continues to grow. Defined as military-grade security, 1,024-bit encryption is 10 times stronger than today's standard. A handful of e-merchants are beginning to use 128-bit encryption with a 1,024-bit exchange on the back-end for added security. Jennifer Vancini, Certicom director of strategic marketing, said in the future, 128-bit encryption might be replaced by 1,024-bit for bulk encryption, but adoption will be slow. Vancini said the telling factor would be if financial institutions embrace 1,024-bit encryption. When that happens, she said, Internet security will change. George Chen, Wells Fargo Bank vice president for Internet-services development, said his company had no immediate plans to modify its security. "In the early part of online banking, it was only 40-bit encryption, and then we moved that to 128, and when that becomes unreasonable from a customer vantage point, then we will move again," Chen said. "For now we find 128-bit sufficiently secure." When it comes to the mobile world, however, encryption algorithms and security still are being defined. One method being investigated is elliptic curve encryption (ECE), a form of public key infrastructure (PKI.) Essentially there are four encryption methods: PKI, secrete key, 1-time key and a PKI/secrete-key combination. According to the WAP Forum, most WAP-enabled phones will use some form of PKI. Certicom is working with the forum to investigate ECE technology for better wireless security. "The underlying mathematics of elliptic curve are very difficult and different from the other types of PKI, so breaking a system is just harder," Vancini said. "I think elliptic curve will dominate in the wireless environment." Like all PKI, ECE uses a different key for encryption and decryption, and decryption keys cannot be derived from encryption keys. What makes this method so important to providers is its ability to encrypt quickly and use shorter key lengths. AUTHENTICATION To ensure Jane Q. Subscriber is really whom she says she is, software is available that can capture digital signatures and digital certificates (DSDC) for EBPP and other transactional activities. Although the primary use of such software is in contract-related applications, DSDC is fast becoming a substitute for passwords on the Web, said John Yuzdepski, Sprint PCS.com vice president. "I think we will probably go to some sort of certificate-based authentication," he said. "I think the whole industry is moving towards WAP 2.1 and the ability to pass digital certificates in the wireless Web." The second part of authentication is the server. Subscribers want to know that the correct party is receiving their information. On the Web SSL provides server authentication. Wireless transportation layer security (WTLS) offers a similar level of security in the mobile world. The WTLS protocol uses digital certificates to create secure communications between two entities, typically a mobile phone and a WAP server. Data transmitted over a WTLS connection cannot be tampered with or forged without the two parties becoming immediately aware of the tampering. Once a WTLS "handshake" -- the process of authenticating the two parties that want to establish an WTLS connection -- is complete and a secure communications pipe has been established, your subscriber's microbrowser and the WAP server are then able to use the session key to send encrypted information back and forth, confidentially. END-TO-END Using an end-to-end solution means making every transaction secure from your subscriber's fingertips to your collection reps' eyes. Industry analyst Charu Gupta, Renaissance senior manager, said most service providers think they are using end-to-end solutions, but usually they only are securing data point-to-point. "What is happening is providers are able to establish a secure connection from the subscriber's desk to the corporate firewall. Beyond that almost anybody who has access to the LAN has access to that information, and that's really point-to-point," Gupta said. According to Gupta, 80% of the security violations that occur on the Internet happen in the corporate LAN. One solution is using a virtual private network (VPN) to secure the server. Yuzdepski agreed that VPNs and better physical security are vital to EBPP's mobile future. "More and more customers are coming to expect higher degrees of security at the corporate level," he said "Physical security is always a concern. In fact, I have no idea where our server is, but I know it requires passwords and level-2 security clearance." EXTRA CHARGES & STANDARDS The use of additional security such as a VPN for EBPP and m-commerce security may mean an increase in your bottom line, but industry watchers say passing that cost on to the consumer isn't wise. "Some providers may try to charge extra for add-on security," Vancini said. "Typically, that doesn't work well. It's like Microsoft deciding to charge me for my spell checker. It should just be there." Sprint PCS.com's Yuzdepski agreed, saying providers will assume the cost on most security upgrades, but eventually, large institutions like banks and hospitals may end up paying more for added security, like a secure link into Sprint's network. To help put an end to the add-on security debate, some in the industry are pushing for the widespread adoption of security standards. WAP Forum member 724 Solutions is one of those dedicated to driving security standards for the wireless Web. Enabling financial institutions to offer m-commerce services, 724 Solutions built a secure platform for Harris Bank/Bank of Montreal. The bank was the first in North America to offer mobile banking services. The service called Veev uses 128-bit encryption to secure EBPP, stock trades and banking transactions. Sue Witteveen, 724 Solutions vice president of e-commerce, said, "Setting security standards is important to getting mobile e-commerce deployed on any kind of scale. Consumers need to know that every time they use their wireless device for a transaction, security is there, whether they are buying a book from Amazon.com or trading stock on E-Trade." SECURE PHONES Another factor in m-commerce success is improved security at the handset. If mobile banking takes off, it's possible wireless phones and other portable devices can be raised to the status of electronic wallet. In places such as Finland and Europe, subscribers already are using their phones to buy everything from vending- machine snacks to opera tickets. In this market, a lost or stolen phone could be a serious concern. "Many of the security threats associated with lost or stolen devices are directly related to the user's lack of security consciousness," said Ed Fullman, Alltel Information Services senior vice president e-solutions. Leaving files that contain passwords, or automatically storing passwords and user names on portable devices in response to security queries, makes a stolen device more valuable to a thief. If possible, Fullman suggests providers limit or exclude the use of utilities that automatically save user names and passwords to security proxies. Wireless Week July 3, 2000 Steering Toward M-commerce The Yankee Group has seen a dramatic change in its business flow this year. It used to be that four or five companies would walk into the consulting agency's doors every week to ask how to make money on the wireless Internet. Now four or five companies are looking for help each day. The carriers are acting a little like deer in the headlights, says Mark Lowenstein, Yankee Group vice president. Interviews with the carriers show they are feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the increasing number of companies supplying solutions and the new options available; at the same time they are excited by the opportunities that are opening up, Lowenstein says. The Yankee Group is preparing a study of the U.S. business-to-consumer data market that is certain to get carriers even more keyed up for the wireless Internet. The study says the wireless data market for business- to-consumer applications, now pegged at $1.3 billion for operators and their partners, will climb to $16.7 billion in 2005. The lion's share of those dollars will come from Internet access services like e-mail, file transfers and browsing the Web, says Yankee analyst Adam Zawel. Zawel also expects mobile commerce revenue to encompass 3 to 8 percent of total operator revenue in 2005, accounting for about $2 billion in revenue for operators and their partners. Carriers are in the early days of m-commerce, with financial services garnering 20 to 25 percent of the total wireless Internet revenue at this point. But Lowenstein says the Yankee Group expects the industry to start moving toward a full "e-wallet" m- commerce experience starting at the end of 2001 as network data rates increase and technology allows transactions to move more smoothly with a handheld phone. Zawel cautions that m-commerce could be held back by trust issues, "walled garden" approaches by carriers and the difficulty of entering text on a small handset. The study shows that the present 1.3 million wireless Internet users 750,000 of whom own digital handsets will grow to 60 million in 2005. In that year, there will be more people with 2.5-generation phones than second-generation phones. "By 2005, one-fifth of the U.S. population will be a wireless data user," Zawel says. "And one-third of wireless phone users will be wireless data users." Although Yankee Group analysts expect average revenue per user to continue to slide in the years ahead, wireless Internet revenue should provide a lift to the carriers. The study estimates the wireless Internet will be worth $8.37 per subscriber by 2005. Zawel says operators are helping to introduce the market with the free access being offered by Sprint PCS and AT & T Wireless Services. The real question, he says, will be whether or not consumers actually use the service. "The pricing is good to get the people in the door," Zawel says. "Now the operators have to keep them inside," with such things as location-based and personalized services that will be the strength of the wireless Internet. In the meantime, the Yankee Group hopes to keep carriers out of the oncoming headlights. Business Wire July 11, 2000 TANTAU and Everypath Announce Partnership to Deliver Enterprise Applications to Wireless Devices TANTAU Software Inc., a leading developer of software and services for mobile e-commerce (m- commerce), and Everypath(TM) Inc., the leading wireless application service provider, announced a partnership that enables businesses to deliver secure transaction-intensive content to wireless devices such as PDAs, two-way pagers and Web-enabled phones. By combining TANTAU's knowledge in providing wireless access to enterprise applications with Everypath's patent-pending rendering tool and expertise in rapid application mobilization, enterprise customers now have two secure options for integrating a wireless Internet channel into an existing online strategy. TANTAU and Everypath enable a company to utilize a trusted service provider or build an m-commerce solution within the business' infrastructure. Until now, banks and corporations could only mobilize their applications with an expensive, time- consuming systems integrator approach. Everypath's technology, combined with TANTAU's Wireless Internet Platform, enables the rapid mobilization of any Web site, HTML application, corporate database or complex, financial application - with complete end-to-end security. Therefore, financial institutions and corporations can use Everypath and TANTAU to provide customers with wireless Internet transaction capabilities and help employees get instant access to company databases and intranets through wireless devices. "With this partnership, both companies have the foundation to become the leading enabler of transaction- intensive services like banking and e-commerce on the widest array of mobile devices possible," said Everypath CEO Venktesh Shukla. "Everypath is known for mobilizing some of the most active sites in the e- commerce space such as E*TRADE, Best Buy and Paytrust. With TANTAU, we now enable these businesses to offer high-volume, secure mobile transaction capabilities to their customers." The Independent (London) July 9, 2000 IF YOU STEPPED INTO THE FUTURE, IT WOULD LOOK LIKE FINLAND. A COUNTRY ONCE DISMISSED AS A BACKWARD WILD ERNESS HAS BECOME A BLUEPRINT FOR THE "VIRTUAL NATIONS" OF THE FUTURE. In the Meteori Bookshop and Cafe in Helsinki, I am about to do something I have never done before. Everything about the Meteori - on Mannerheimintie in the heart of the city - exudes a very Finnish sense of cool. A few pale-wood bookshelves, filled with arty books. Half a dozen stylish coffee tables. Thelonius Monk playing on the stereo. And a row of computers on which you surf the Internet for 15 Finnish marks (about pounds 1.66) for 20 minutes. Watched by the blonde waitress, I pull out my GSM phone and dial 0600 803 20. It's done. I have just ordered and paid for a double mocha by phone: an appropriately yuppie-ish purchase for my first m-commerce transaction. Like the first time I used my laptop on a plane, or when my first brand- new mobile phone rang in a pub, half of me feels terribly sophisticated, terribly ahead of the pack; the other half feels a bit of a twat. It would have probably been far less awkward to pay with two less- than-virtual 10-mark notes, but this is the price you pay for being part of the technological vanguard. Soon everyone will be doing it. Within a year or two, your phone will no longer just be the thing you forget to turn off in the cinema; it will have a hundred different functions. The juggernaut of the information technology revolution is still hurtling onwards. In the 1980s it was the PC; in the 1990s it was the Internet. This is to be the decade of mobile communications. Sonera - the Finnish telecommunications company which made my coffee purchase possible - estimates that by 2003, a total of pounds 3bn will be changing hands in m-commerce transactions in Europe alone. Credit cards as we know them could be heading for extinction. But, for the moment, you can only buy coffee this way in Finland. If Europe were Disneyland, Finland would be its Futureworld - its EPCOT centre. The country formerly famous for Santa Claus, paper mills, reindeer and Moomintroll has suddenly emerged as the hi-tech laboratory for the world. By travelling here you step into the future. By and large, the future has proved a terrible disappointment. We don't vacation on Mars, nor do we strap jet-packs on to our backs to go to work. But in the sphere of information technology the future has well and truly delivered, and no nation has embraced it so warmly or so successfully as the Finns. Finland owns more mobile phones per head of population than anywhere else in the world. In Helsinki, 60 per cent of the population own one; among the young, the figure is more than 100 per cent, meaning that it's no longer enough just to own one phone. A tenth of the city's inhabitants have an Internet connection. And there are - it's thought - more websites per capita here than in any other country. Finland has even developed its own alternative to the monolithic Microsoft Windows. Linus Torvalds's versatile, popular Linux computer- operating system - the fastest-growing such system in the world - was created in 1991, developed collaboratively on the Internet, is available free, and already has 12 million devoted users worldwide. Until recently, Finland was a quiet European backwater, whose inhabitants were famous for their lugubriousness and melancholia. Now, walking back down Mannerheimintie to my hotel, my ears are filled with song. "Rock Lobster" by the B52s, to be particular. A bald man with a tan briefcase has chosen the tune for the ringing to his cellphone. He interrupts it within a few bars. "Hei?" Hello? Within a second, another device is playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons at me. The programmable ring tone was Finland's gift to the world in the 1990s. In this decade, however, it plans to change almost everything about the way we live. IT HAS BEEN a remarkable economic and social transformation. Ten years ago Finland was in the depths of recession, hit not only by the global downturn but also by the collapse of its biggest trading partner - the Soviet Union. One of the many companies which were forced to refocus by this disaster has its headquarters at Espoo, a hi-tech industrial park 20 minutes' drive from Helsinki down the nsiv ula (literally the westway). Originally a lumber busines, Nokia had diversified into a huge, sprawling company that produced Wellington boots, televisions, phone lines - practically anything. "Nokia was known for also toilet papers," explains a helpful PR officer for the company. But at the height of the recession Nokia's visionary chief executive, Jorma Ollila, stripped it down to its telecommunications holdings - just as Europe was preparing to adopt the digital cellular phone standard known as GSM - and repositioned it to become one of the great success stories of the 1990s. If you'd bought shares in Nokia in 1994 you'd have seen them grow by about 2,500 per cent. Nokia is now the 11th most recognisable brand in the world - or so the helpful PR informs me. The Nokia House - as they call the HQ - is itself an extraordinary place: a glass cathedral perched at the edge of a wide blue lake. It is, in fact, two office blocks joined by high aerial walkways which cross above your head as you wait in the lobby, surrounded by groups of Japanese businessmen and pots of white orchids. The vertiginous walkways are (a helpful leaflet explains) a literal interpretation of Nokia's now world-famous slogan: "Connecting people". Having captured the future, Nokia is not about to let it go. Almost a third of Nokia's employees are in research and development; almost 9 per cent of net sales revenue is reinvested directly into research. The firm anticipates that by 2003 most Internet connections will be made not through PCs, but through mobile devices like personal handsets. The old static Silicon Valley model of the Internet is being superseded by the Europeans with their chirpy, singing mobiles. Juha Reima, vice president of global product marketing, says the secret is that while older hi-tech market sectors were controlled by technocrats, Nokia observed painstakingly how key market sectors actually use their products. The "high-fliers" - the businessmen and trendsetters who first bought Nokia's phones - valued function: anything that made business easier. But it was youth that took Nokia to the top. "Young people are forming very much our new behaviours," says Juha. "We try to understand why young people are having a mobile phone. And the very interesting answer which comes out from almost every city is that it's cool to have a mobile phone. It's just cool. If you don't have a mobile phone you are not interested in progress." In Nokia-land everyone worships progress. A country which never quite rid itself of its pagan roots has discovered a new god. Everyone in the Nokia building carries the latest WAP - Wireless Application Protocol - the groovily designed phones which use a stripped-down operating system to communicate with the Internet. (I should perhaps point out that one of the Internet "portals" for which such phones can be used is iTouch, which is part-owned by the Independent on Sunday's owners, Independent News & Media.) Over a salmon lunch at Nokia, brought by waitresses responding to invisible signals issued by a mysterious pyramidal paging device that I initially mistook for a salt cellar, Pekka - a younger PR who accompanies Juha - demonstrates his WAP device. On it, he checks the latest road conditions, or the weather. Over coffee, he uses it to book cinema tickets for the weekend. The small screen even shows where his seats will be. He and Juha both pause frequently during our meeting to address text messages that appear on their screens, and to tap out replies. "I apologise," they say, repeatedly, and most Finnishly. One of the first signs that phones were going to be for more than just talking was the sudden popularity of the Short Message Service (SMS) facility on Nokia's mobile phones. Especially among the young. Finnish teenagers now know their keypads so well that they don't have to look at them to write sentences. They converse by SMS; declare love by text messages. Nokia has a word for groups of teenagers communicating in this way: "tele-hanging". If required to sit face-to-face with each other, Finns can lapse into long periods of silence. But they rush to communicate by indirect means like the mobile phone, or SMS messaging. "Maybe," says Juha. "Because Finns are so shy, they can't talk. But they can send SMS." "SMS suits the Finnish character," agrees Pekka. "It doesn't interrupt." I CALL DR TIMO Kopomaa, at the University of Helsinki. He is a sociologist of the mobile phone. He has studied how phones have revolutionised Finnish life: how they are used "to privatise public space"; and how Finns have developed a unique vocabulary to express their love of their phones. In the UK, we use the prosaic word "mobile". But Timo, in his co-authored Study into the Use of Mobile Phones in Urban Public Spaces, lists 33 names the Finns have evolved for their phones, including "Molo" ("dick"), "nokialailen" ("Nokia wellies") and, the most popular, "kannyckka" - "little hands". "It is a term of affection - a diminutive. With the accents and the double Ns it's a very Finnish word. As if people are proud of it. And it makes it sound as if the phone is an extension of the body." "Do Finns love to use mobiles because they're so shy?" I ask him. "Yes," he agrees readily. "Like alcohol too." I TALK TO Alicia Framis, a young artist from Barcelona who is being funded by Helsinki's modern art museum, Kiasma, to present a giant performance art event in the city's old docklands. One Sunday this summer, she plans to invite as many Finns with mobile phones as possible to join her. In return for giving her the numbers to their kannyckka she will give them another number. At a preappointed hour, everyone will phone the number they've been given and the air will be filled with the voices of thousands of Finns, standing on a stretch of grass, all talking to each other. "When I first came to Finland," she tells me, "I realised that people here is a lot of lonely people. People here don't talk to each other. But they all have mobile phones. So I thought, 'Why not make them talk to each other?'" I CONDUCT a brief e-mail correspondence with Finland's greatest modern poet, dramatist and essayist. In a country where people are generally reluctant to criticise the system, 69-year-old Paavo Haavikko is the exception, grittily kicking against the system in defence of his idea of a Finnish identity. I ask him what he thinks of the changes that are taking place in Finland. He replies, scabrously: "The ability to communicate is extinct. People do not any longer know how to respect one another or how to change their opinions and argue. Politicians are afraid to express themselves when they appear on television. Their ability to use language correctly has disappeared, thus they are unversed in languages... This became evident from exam results this year. "Why should one learn to produce a correct language since one can cope with less when communicating via mobile phones?" For Haavikko, phones aren't about communicating: they're about not communicating. Such voices as his are lonely, though. Most people love their kannyckka. IN THE GLOOMILY beery Rock Cafe in Fredrikinkafu, I am staring disconsolately at a jukebox called Digital Thunder. The Finns may be light years ahead in communications technology, but their rock music is medieval. I flip over selections from local metal acts such as Children of Bodom, and Sentenced before finally seeing a record I know. I dial 0600 868 1002, then add 9001 to select the album and track number. In a few months, even this way of choosing records will be old -fashioned: I'll simply select the record on my WAP screen and it will play. The jukebox swings into ear- splitting life. "Good choice," mutters a tattooed, shaven- headed lager-swiller at the table next to me. "You ever phone this jukebox?" I ask. "Not often. It's too expensive. Only when I'm extremely pissed," he smiles amiably. SO FAR, I CAN do little more with my phone than buy snacks from vending machines or activate an automatic car wash. I drive out of Helsinki to a golf course where I'm told I can buy a bucket of golf balls for the driving range. Sadly, the dispenser is out of service. These machines are merely gimmicks - so far. The technological infrastructure that will make m- commerce universal in Finland will be in place by the end of the year. A cavalry charge of new technologies is hurtling towards us, bearing their acronyms, from WAP and G3 to WLAN. The gimmicks are like flags, claiming new territories for the Finns, for Nokia and Sonera. By creating these machines that look like the future, Finland is trying to colonise the 21st century. Everywhere you go, you can see the Finns embracing this future: in the Internet cafes; in the Kirjakaapeli Library (the "Cable Book Library"), where the conventional idea of a library has been replaced by 20 Internet workstations running Windows, Mac OS and Linux; at the Senior Info pensioners' drop-in centre on Salomonkatu, where septuagenarians come to search the web for restaurants. The city of Helsinki has linked up with the Internet service provider Arenanet and is rushing to make this one of the most wired cities in the world. Already, Internet-users who log on to www.arenanet.fi can roam virtual streets, or get around by "cybertaxi" or "cybertram", visit sites attached to virtual municipal "buildings", and interact with any number of their fellow citizens, in any number of virtual environments, without leaving home. The civic potential of such a system is vast. Government departments are falling over themselves to increase their interactive presence on the Net, and one of the aims of the Arenanet 2000 project is to allow citizens to vote in referenda and elections on-line. Technophilia has run amok in Finland. One of the young artists I meet is 26 -year-old Lassi Tasajari, whose collective, katastro.fi, creates web-based art events. They combine SMS messaging, computer- generated music and video games to create fantastical interactive artworks for local exhibitions and cafes. Tasajari grew up with computers and IT, and his colleagues were all part of the "demo scene" phenomenon, in which Finnish schoolboys compete to create multimedia computer programmes just for the hell of it, to show what they can do. Why, I ask him, weren't you out spraying graffiti, or skateboarding, like other red-blooded boys? "I don't know," he says, shaking his head. "In class there were always three or four people interested in computers. A lot of people found each other through it." Pause. "This is kind of a nerd culture, I have to say." RATHER DISAPPOINTINGLY, Jaakko Rytsola arrives at my hotel on foot. I had hoped for the car. In recent weeks, he and his younger brother Annti have achieved star status in Helsinki as "the Lamborghini Brothers". Five years ago Jaakko and Annti were part of that Finnish "nerd culture". Then they launched their own low-cost, carefully serviced Internet provider, saunalahti.com. And now, aged 27 and 25 respectively, they've moved on, developing a new web provider to cater for the upcoming WAP phone revolution. Their saunalahti.com shares have made them millions, which they've started to spend. Three months ago, Jaakko was in the process of buying a Ferrari Modena when his brother told him he was buying a Lamborghini Diabolo. Piqued, Jaakko bought the Ferrari and the Lamborghini. His is a yellow convertible. Annti's is blue. They have fitted them with DVD players and GPS navigation systems. A spy in the customs department tipped off the press, and for weeks the media debated this new phenomenon. Traditionally conservative Finns think displays of wealth are vulgar. But in this new Nokia -land, was it wrong to ridicule the brothers for their showy wealth? Jaakko wears a pale, post-adolescent goatee under his blue baseball cap. Just returned from Monte Carlo, where he has been racing his new car, he remains a little shocked by the ruckus he and his brother caused. He feels they've helped revolutionise his country's attitude to wealth by driving around the city in their new cars. "I'm proud of the money we have made. We didn't make it from stocks, or from buying property and watching the value go up. We made something that didn't exist before, that made people's lives easier. In Finland, the Internet was cheap because of us. Now people here use the Internet more - because of us. I think now that the Finnish people will grant absolution to the next millionaires," he adds, pausing to check his e- mail on his Nokia Communicator. FINLAND HAS little historical baggage to carry with it. Helsinki is only 450 years old this year - a newcomer among European cities. Finns find it easier to sever links, to evolve new ways of being. And this makes the IT industry love them, too. Over lunch at the Palace Hotel, Kurt Lonnqvist, IBM Nordic's regional manager of Mobile Internet Solutions, gazes out at the liners taking tourists across the Baltic and recalls the 1990s. "They were always surprised, back in headquarters, how we always managed to sell the most expensive stuff here first. Finnish people really want to be the forerunners." Kurt also remembers how the cellphone changed the way his children - now in their twenties - lead their lives. He feels they are much more relaxed than he ever was. "There is nothing this new technology will not change," he enthuses. And IBM and other multinationals are investing in Finland because it is an ideal place to launch and test new technologies. It's so far ahead of the race already. On the beautifully bleak, flat industrial site known as the Arabianranta - where the old Arabia china works stand - Helsinki is planning something that will put the culture even further ahead: the IBM Helsinki Virtual Village. At present it's raw land cluttered with the debris and poisons from the last technological revolution. They've already laid 180km of fibre-optic cable, but above ground, there's little to see. But by 2010 some 8,000 homes will have been built here, in a new community in which every IT possibility is explored. It's a $ 1bn joint venture between the city of Helsinki, IBM, Sonera, the software "architects" Digia and dozens of other companies. Kurt calls it "a living laboratory". Communicating through a dazzling variety of wireless local access networks and hard-wired Internet connections, residents and workers here will use phones, palm PCs, TVs and communicators to interact with each other and with the outside world. Their phones will be their credit cards, front- door keys, tools to turn their lights on, the heating up, or the sauna on - whether they're at home or not. Their phones will also tell them what's going on in the world - and in their neighbourhood. Order a taxi? No need to tell it where you are. It will know. Parents will be able to pinpoint where their children are, simply by tracing their mobile phones. Jari Puhakka, the young chief executive of Digia (which is making the village's software infrastructure), is giddily excited by the pace of change in the country. "I have been living in Finland for close to three years - and this is my seventh mobile phone." Already, he uses his Communicator to organise his golf: five of his friends access his golf diary with their own Communicators to book games. He even uses it to turn on the heater in his car before he gets into it. "I love it!" he says. "The life cycle of these devices - and services - is measured in months already. And we think that the time-to-market frame is going to be compressed further already." The winners in the race for the future will be those who can not only create the technology but predict how people can use it. Finland is proving the perfect testing ground. In Helsinki Virtual Village ("HVV as we say, which is difficult, because it's close to HIV," says Jari), all these technologies can be tested on real people. "The way we define HVV is a Multi Channel Virtual Community Portal Software Architecture and Platform." Jari looks at my eyebrows knotting. "Horrible, I know." As Paavo Haavikko would have it, language is not these guys' strong point. They talk of "PIM" - "Personal Information Management" - or the rather more sinister "MRM" - "Member Relation Management". But if Helsinki is to be our future, the key phrase is "information sharing". For this is the real revolution that the new technologies will bring. They may bring us closer to the information we seek - but will they also make information about us as users available to whoever runs the information networks? They will be able to identify not only what we consume, but where, and at what time we consume it. Helsinki Virtual Village will be the Mecca of information sharing. New residents will tell the system who they are, what they like doing, where they're from, and so on. "One example," says Jari. "You tell it where you were born, and the system responds with who else in the village has been born there, so you can send e-mails to all these people..." Puhakka stresses that "members" (not "customers") will control the flow of information - accepting advertising only for products they're interested in. But he acknowledges that control of information is "sensitive". Another word might be "scary" - but perhaps it is peculiarly British to see a technological paradise such as this as too Brave New World. Can you imagine, say, Manchester Virtual Village? Glasgow Virtual Village? I'm not sure I can. And perhaps that's why, already, we Brits are slipping behind in little ways. Finns I speak to tut-tut and say: "Is it true that until recently in Britain you couldn't send text messages from Vodaphone to Orange?" They react like Victorians discussing some benighted country which hadn't yet discovered the benefits of sewerage. "You can't use your mobile phone on the Metro in London?" (In Helsinki, all the tunnels are wired up.) And they are shocked at the short-sightedness of a government that auctioned off licences for the next generations of mobile phones to the highest bidder - which means that the so-called G3 phones will be more expensive to use than elsewhere. I suspect that British people, confronted with a project like HVV, would be far more suspicious of the motives of the IBMs and the Nokias. We equate technology with Big Brother - with the police surveillance cameras that have sprung up all over our cities. Maybe that's healthy. Or maybe it's denying us our place in the bright future. I started by thinking that technology companies love to invest in Finland mainly because the Finns's love of the future is so unrestrained. But after visiting Helsinki Virtual Village, I wonder if there may be another reason: that Finns are less likely to kick up a fuss. (For a country whose economy is based on the mobile phone there has been very little discussion here about the health scares surrounding the technology.) "It's a little true," agrees Dr Timo Kopomaa when I suggest this theory to him. He reminds me of Finland's brief history: only in 1917 did the Finns achieve independence from Russia. "Perhaps we still have a Tsarist mentality. It's the other side of us being so open - which is the good side." But he warns me not to take the Helsinki Virtual Village project too seriously. He thinks that the project is important, but less because of its concrete reality than because of its virtual reality. By announcing that they are embarking on the project, the city and the companies involved are announcing their faith in the future. "It's very much about the image," says Dr Kopomaa. "It's a vision thing. And I think it's OK in that way." Back at Ariabianranta, Kurt from IBM sympathises with my fears about the information-sharing future. "We have to add value to people's lives, otherwise there is no point." In the far distance, out of the office windows, there are earth movers at work, beginning to clear the site. "And if it's successful here, it will move to the rest of the world." "Imagine," says Puhakka happily. n Top: everyday gadgets in use in Helsinki. Above: Finns at the city's "Cable Book Library", whose workstations are in constant use Right: Jaakko Rytsola, 27-year-old dotcom millionaire and one of Helsinki's "Lamborghini brothers". Top: the ubiquitous Finnish mobile Top: scenes from the "virtual Helsinki"... Sunday Times (London) July 2, 2000 Make sure the price is right Many investors have had their fingers burnt after piling into dotcom stocks. The problem is that few have any idea of how to value these emerging businesses or make sense of the market complexities and forecasts. KPMG can help. The hype and over-excitement about anything based on the internet has left sections of the business community with badly burnt fingers. However, even at a time when the cynics are saying "I told you so", the market for start-up dotcoms is widening once again thanks to the emergence of the mobile net. Yet, despite a growing number of investment opportunities presented by the m-business market, investors must remain prudent. Heather Stevenson, KPMG Corporate Finance's valuations director, says: "The net introduces new dynamics and influencing factors that make the valuation of e-businesses more difficult but the fundamentals remain the same. We must not become complacent about the net - an investor still needs an adequate cash return, which in turn is supported by tried and tested methodology." There is a lesson to be learnt from recent high-profile dotcom flotations. While the media have focused on the personalities of the young entrepreneurs who head these organisations, the value of their companies has fluctuated wildly. Despite this, investors have still flocked to get a piece of the action and in some cases have come away disappointed. Take Lastminute.com, which was founded in 1998 and reported sales of just Pounds 409,000 for the three months to December 31. On March 13, the company was priced for flotation at a market value of Pounds 571m. This quickly soared to Pounds 732m before declining to a low of Pounds 184m on May 22. All too often, private investors simply do not have access to the information that is needed to make a good judgment on the prospects of a company. They have no choice but to trust the sponsor of the flotation to use its knowledge of the company's business plan to provide a sound assessment of valuation. This was the case with Lastminute.com, although to be fair, its mini-prospectus clearly stated that the company might not be profitable for the foreseeable future. Net investors have to focus on future earnings capacity rather than short-term profit generation. Businesses such as Orange and British Sky Broadcasting (40% owned by News Corporation, parent company of The Sunday Times) never made a profit before their flotations but both provided forecasts that looked five years or more into the future to show how value was expected to be created. Having access to the business plan must remain a priority for investors. Stevenson says: "Obviously, we cannot ignore the immense uncertainty and volatility that are part and parcel of any dotcom investment. On the contrary, by using an applied decision tree and options analysis, our valuations are formulated by identifying key risk areas and growth factors. In addition, the fundamental need to review the business plan and the cashflow forecasts is aided immeasurably by the in-depth information that we have access to." The picture becomes further complicated with the advent of the mobile net and m-commerce and the complex relationship between technology and market valuations. When readers bear in mind that two of the world's fastest-growing industries - the net and mobile telecommunications - are converging, it becomes apparent that we are witnessing the birth of the biggest ever globalised market. The net has attracted 31m users in just three years. Net traffic doubles every 90 days and revenues are growing 700% a year. This exponential expansion and the high availability of the internet is causing market expectations to surge even higher, along with estimates of the future value of many businesses. Given the speed at which the market is developing, it is all too easy for investors to get carried away and disregard their historic business experience. Unrealistic forecasts are the millstone around the neck of under- performing investments. "M-commerce is now beginning to be factored into the valuation process and is a good example of how quickly technology is moving," says Stevenson. "It is very important that investors have advisers working with them who have a good understanding of what is happening in the market and can factor these rapidly changing dynamics into the valuation." Underlining the relationship between technology and valuation is the much publicised Pounds 22.5billion paid by five companies for the right to operate advanced mobile services in Britain. Troubled analysts and commentators alike have watched as the share prices in the telecommunications sector have fallen. Sean Collins, head of KPMG's information, communications and entertainment (ICE) practice, says: "The internet and telecommunications will converge in terms of price, service, functionality and user services. The reason companies were so keen to have a licence was because it not only allows their existing businesses to grow but offers access to brand new converged markets." There is some debate over whether the value of the net is being artificially sustained by the developers of telecommunications, the net and applications, or whether it is being driven by increasing consumer and business demands for enhanced information availability and interactivity. However, whatever the answer is, it is a secondary concern to investors who are more interested in actual business valuations. KPMG helps clients to make sense of the market complexities and forecasts, focusing on the key elements such as business concept, people skills and future cash flows. New and advanced valuation tools from KPMG ensure that in this highly volatile market, risk and uncertainty can be assessed and evaluated. Alan Buckle, chief operating officer for KPMG Consulting, Europe, says: "The impact that the net, e- commerce and now m-commerce are having on business is fundamental. All businesses must redefine their relationships with suppliers, customers and employees. They will need help to drive e-changes to maintain their market share. KPMG can draw on its track record with leading businesses and from alliances it has developed with the world's leading technology companies, including Cisco, Compaq and Microsoft." Leicester Mercury June 20, 2000 Business: Media/Comm/IT Eurobet, the online business division of Coral Eurobet plc, one of the leading international providers of betting services, has just unveiled what it believes to be the world's first WAP based sports betting capability. The company believes that the new facility is a significant addition to the range of services that it offers its customers and will become increasingly important as the technology becomes more widely available. It is expected that 59 per cent of all mobile phones will be WAP enabled by the end of 2004 Eurobet.co.uk is Coral Eurobet's UK-based online sports betting service. Launched in March 2000, Eurobet enables customers to place a bet over the Internet. Visitors to the site at www.eurobet.co.uk can find the latest odds, regularly updated, and place bets across all kinds of sports, all around the world. They can use their debit cards to set up a personal account on secure servers. Winnings are credited directly to the customers' Eurobet account. Now WAP phone users, who have already registered on the eurobet.co.uk web site, can use their existing user id and password to access the new Eurobet WAP site at wap.eurobet.co.uk. The site address only needs to be entered as a bookmark once, then users can connect directly through to the server every time they use the service. To ensure the service is simple to use on the small screen of a phone, the WAP site is a simplified version of the web-based service with the same range of sports, events and odds available. SIGNIFICANT VALUE Trevor Beaumont, Managing Director of Eurobet, said: ''The fixed line internet, where we believe we have a leading position in the sports betting market, has already allowed us to add significant value to our business. Sports betting on the Internet is a true e-commerce business and, with the new WAP facility we believe we can also lead the way in m-commerce.'' Jim Noakes, Projects Director, Eurobet, added: ''The ability for our national and international client base to access and use our service whilst on the move by simply using their mobile phone is very convenient for our customers and a significant opportunity for us. "We have developed the technology in-house and we believe we have a significant advantage over our competitors.'' Bob Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Coral Eurobet, said: ''In m-commerce betting we believe we are now in front and we intend to stay there. We are in discussions with a number of operators and other WAP portals and expect to be announcing a number of major partnership deals before long.'' There would seem to be agreement with their words among e-commerce specialists. A spokesman for the Durlacher Research said: ''Mobile betting will become a very interesting application for m-commerce because it is time critical, as with horse races, or it involves a lot of money. ''We are convinced that mobile betting will become a very interesting proposition and a variety of applications will be seen over the next two to three years.'' Mobile Internet Magazine said: "Gambling offers better margins that many other mobile commerce services." Fortune July 10, 2000 M-Commerce: Online Selling's Wireless Future The technologies that change the way we live always depend on other new technologies. The words on this page provide a convenient example, for the magazine was made possible not only by the 15th-century invention of the printing press and movable type but also by medieval improvements in paper, ink, and metallurgy. Most of us remember Gutenberg for his Bible, but underneath that achievement lay the creation of inexpensive rag paper, which took the place of costly vellum, the advent of inks based on oil rather than the water used by scribes, and the discovery of an alloy and molds that made practical the casting of type. This pattern can be seen for the clock, the windmill, the car, the television, the VCR, the pager--and soon for a development called mobile commerce. If the enthusiasts are even partially correct, in the near future many of us will be doing business on the go and by hand--that is, via cell phone and other personal devices, such as digital organizers. Now that electronic commerce is here to stay, we're about to move on to mobile commerce, or m-commerce, which supposedly will enable us to buy everything from anywhere over the Internet without the use of a personal computer. (For more on how that has already begun to happen, see "Online Auctions Lose Their Wires and Take to the Air.") Within three years, more than 200 million cell phones will have Internet access, according to one forecast, and within five years, according to another, more than a quarter of all electronic commerce will take place over the air. Enticed by such projections, almost every company in telecommunications is trying to figure out what m-commerce really is and exploit it. Many of those involved are the global organizations one would expect, from Motorola, BellSouth, and Qualcomm to Ericsson, Nokia, Lucent, and Microsoft. A few smaller companies, however, are focusing on underlying technologies or services, which are essential but not at the center of attention, such as radio-based methods for determining where you're calling from, or software and systems that blend location data with other information. If large numbers of cell phones and mobile organizers are ever to serve as wireless wallets, mobile commerce must clear several hurdles: Uniform security standards need to be established. Shopping with a handheld gadget, particularly comparison shopping, also must become much easier and more useful. For now, few mobile commerce services do more than provide stock quotes, driving directions, or the location of the nearest Starbucks. It's also vital, however, for vendors to be able to know where their customers are, because that knowledge could make possible many handy new services. (One indication of the technology's importance: Qualcomm paid $ 1 billion in January for SnapTrack, which is developing a computer networking system for locating mobile telephones.) Imagine you're driving in an unfamiliar city at noon. Touch a button on your cell phone to let the network know you'd like some lunch, and in a moment it rings with the news that cheeseburgers are 20% off at a restaurant two blocks away. You're provided with turn-by-turn driving directions as well as a digital coupon good for a double order of French fries. Or you've just used your wireless organizer to look up the schedule for a flight to San Francisco when it beeps with a message informing you that changing planes in Chicago would save $ 200, and that seats are available. One private company that is banking on such visions--five-year-old SiRF of San Jose--is already well established. It has licensed its locator circuitry to Ericsson and is working closely with Intel to develop the technology for use in cars. Like most other location systems, SiRF relies on the network of satellites known as the Global Positioning System, or GPS. New players that use other approaches are also emerging. Bypassing the GPS satellite network, for example, Cambridge Positioning Systems of Cambridge, England, computes location by measuring the time required for a signal from a network of ground-based transmitters to reach a mobile receiver and a nearby fixed receiver. Just knowing the location of nearby prospects isn't enough, of course; retailers also need easy means to lure the potential customers. To that end, GeePS.com of Cranbury, N.J., plans to offer a service later this year that will deliver promotions and coupons to devices based on their coordinates. The coupons can be redeemed automatically by using the device itself to pay for the transaction. Similarly, NeoPoint of La Jolla, Calif., a developer of Web phones, has created a wireless service called myAladdin.com that, among other abilities, can monitor information such as airline flights or stock performance and alert a user when a flight is delayed or a stock price drops. At least two companies, ATX Technologies of Irving, Texas, and InfoMove of Kirkland, Wash., are devoted to services for drivers. Working with Nokia, ATX offers content from CNN Mobile. InfoMove integrates GPS, and text-to-speech technologies to create a private-label information service that has been sold to DaimlerChrysler and Paccar, a heavy truck manufacturer. Other companies are trying to give mobile customers the flexibility to shop where they happen not to be. For example, Go2 Systems of Irvine, Calif., is developing a service to provide a directory of nearby commercial services, movie schedules, and weather reports, as well as driving directions, when a mobile subscriber provides an address. A number of companies are producing map databases and other raw content that is useful in location- based services. For example, software from Kivera of Oakland stores and arranges data from others so that it can easily be searched and displayed according to location. Despite all this, for years to come, most of us will use cell phones and digital organizers for conversations and planning our days, not for buying. But eventually the wireless Web will be as large as the wired Web of today, and when that happens, online vendors will connect with mobile millions--once they know where they are. e-World – e-Citizenship The Economist June 24, 2000 E-government is mostly a good thing, but it needs watching WHEN Intel's Andy Grove declared last year that all businesses would have to become e-businesses soon if they wanted to survive, few people disagreed. The fear of new Internet-borne competitors and the sudden transformation of old rivals was almost palpable. Many businessmen were also excited about innovative business models that seemed to dazzle investors. E-government is not driven by such extremes of fear and greed as e-business, but the rewards for success and the penalties of failure are nevertheless real. So what should governments do to prepare? The first thing they need to do is hurry up. If they are not already well on the road to e-government, they should start at once, or other countries and regions will make them look like laggards. Governments form such a crucial part of the business environment that, when all else is equal, firms and skilled people may prefer to go where the benefits of e-government are available. Not only are e-governments far more efficient than the old-fashioned variety, they are also easier to deal with and better liked by their citizens. At a minimum, e-government might consist of nothing more than filling in a few forms on the web. But to move from there to a fully fledged e-government requires profound changes in the culture, the processes and the relationships that define government as an entity. Would-be e-governments need to adopt a four-pronged strategy. The first prong is the establishment of a secure government intranet and central database that reaches across all departments and enables them to work together. The intranet must also have resilient, high-capacity interfaces with public-sector agencies and local and regional government bodies. The second is the delivery of services that are tailored to the needs of citizens, and are accessible via the web in a convenient and secure form. The aim should be to provide a one-stop portal that is always open and caters for all aspects of the relationship between government and citizen. The third is the creation of a government e-marketplace where departments can advertise their requirements, authorised suppliers can bid and post tenders for high-value purchases and public servants can purchase low- value goods quickly, efficiently and at centrally negotiated prices. The final prong is digital democracy. Governments and politicians must use the web to make themselves more transparent and accountable to the voters, evolve new methods of consultation and eventually offer online voting. Implementing e-government is complex and will require not only vision, but also strong political leadership at the highest level. Prime ministers and presidents do not need to know how to write Java code, but they must have the basic familiarity with technology that comes from using computers and the Internet in their daily lives. Bosses whose idea of using e-mail is to get their assistants to provide printouts are ill-equipped to lead the transformation of their firms into e-businesses. They do not know the right questions to ask, and lack credibility with employees. The same applies to senior politicians. Leadership also means that a team has to be put in place within government that has the political clout and the funding to knock departmental heads together, rethink current working practices and impose technology standards. Britain has made a start by appointing an impressive-sounding "e-envoy", Alex Allan. He leads a group of 35 senior officials representing the departments and agencies involved, who optimistically call themselves "The Information Age Government Champions". But the minister responsible, Ian McCartney, attached to an all-purpose department called the Cabinet Office, is rather junior, which raises doubts about the outfit's effectiveness. Singapore, by contrast, has given the job to its Ministry of Finance and the IDA, the agency responsible for IT and communications policy, both of which carry plenty of clout. Keep it simple So where should governments start? An e-government portal can operate on three levels of complexity: first, publishing information and providing links to existing departmental websites; second, establishing a two-way channel for dealing with individual agencies; and third, doing business involving multiple agencies. The best starting point may be to get a fairly simple portal up and running and then add more functions in stages as progress allows. An over-ambitious site that loads pages slowly and fails to deliver on its promise to work across departments and agencies will put users off. Governments would also be well advised not to get carried away with the technology, but to stick to established Internet standards and protocols and to use tried-and-tested packaged applications with as little customisation as possible. Much of what they should aim for sounds obvious: a flexible technology infrastructure that can easily adapt to different amounts of traffic (because successful central government portals are bound to be busy, with unpredictable peaks); a single interface that provides a consistent look and feel for its users; straightforward search and navigation; the widest possible range of getting access to the system, from PC browsers to WAP phones and digital television; and the provision of links between online services and telephone call centres, because many people will still prefer to use the phone to deal with government departments and agencies. E-government projects offer great opportunities for establishing new partnerships with the private sector, for example by developing new funding models and sharing risk with technology vendors. Each government will have to decide for itself how far it wants to go in allowing the private sector to supply public services and to package these with commercial services. But, leaving funding to one side, arrangements of this kind will be essential to bridge a growing skills gap, because the public sector is finding it ever more difficult to attract scarce IT professionals. Careful thought must be given to the regulatory framework for such partnerships. Typically, problems will arise about the way licences are awarded, and over what periods; fair treatment for governments' other commercial partners; and the safeguarding of citizens' privacy. Privacy and security is a hugely important aspect of successful e-government. By giving every citizen a digital signature and maintaining the highest standards of data and privacy protection in its electronic transactions, e-governments will not only increase confidence in the Internet delivery of their own services, but will also provide a stimulus to e-commerce throughout the economy. If they fall down on the job, they risk a damaging erosion of trust. As more and more detailed information about individuals is gathered electronically and passed between agencies, e-governments will also have to allay citizens' understandable fears that Big Brother is snooping on them in cyberspace. Another serious concern is the digital divide, which carries the threat that the least well-off may not have access to the system. At first sight, this suggests that governments should move more slowly, but an even better case can be made for the opposite policy. Because all citizens have to deal with government, whether they like it or not, e-governments can provide incentives for them to make the web their preferred channel for such transactions, thus spurring the adoption of the Internet. In the same way, governments can encourage small businesses that want to supply them to get on to the web. Fully fledged e-government will be neither quick nor easy to achieve -- despite the sometimes extravagant promises of cyber zealots and politicians alike. In that respect, the rules for e-government are different from those for e-business, where it may sometimes be better to be fast than right. Governments have to be more cautious, they must take more care to take people with them, they are more accountable for the money they spend, and the sheer size of their operations dwarfs all but the biggest global companies. That said, for the first time since the establishment of the modern welfare state, there is now a real chance to "re-invent" government -- and make it a great deal better. For tomorrow's e-citizens and e-businesses, the coming e-government revolution is almost wholly good news. It offers the potential for services that are designed for citizens' needs, and available when and how they want them; lower taxes, as increased efficiency cuts the cost of government; more transparent ways of doing business with the different arms of government; a two-way street of consultation and collaboration; a new level of accountability for both elected and unelected officials; and more open and responsive politics. The one important reservation is that vastly more efficient governments will also know vastly more about each and every one of their citizens. The exponential increase in the ability of e-governments to gather, store and mine data about people will raise well-founded worries about privacy and civil liberties. The price of happy e-citizenship will be eternal vigilance. Business Wire June 29, 2000 SmartForce and CBIA Bridge Digital Divide for Connecticut's Disadvantaged SmartForce and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association announced an agreement that will provide computer proficiency training scholarships from the SmartForce e-Learning Foundation (S.E.L.F.) to disadvantaged communities across the state of Connecticut. Part of a collaboration between CBIA and the Office of Workplace Competitiveness, the program aims to bridge the digital divide, the gap between those who have access to technology and those who do not, by increasing access to capital and opportunities in the IT industry. The scholarship program will provide SmartForce e-Learning to people who would otherwise not have access to technology training. With a potential value in excess of $1 million, the in-kind scholarships - the first phase of a three-year program - will impact up to 3,000 students in Connecticut. The partnership marks another installment of a broader e-Learning Foundation initiative to distribute $10 million in e-Learning scholarships. The Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) will initially work with the Community Renewal Team Inc., the largest community action agency in the state, to begin the program in the capitol region. CBIA will then take the program statewide, working with community-based organizations in other areas. These training scholarships will be offered through the CBIA Education Foundation, as part of its School to Career and job training initiatives to prepare a skilled workforce for Connecticut's employers. "Training and retraining people for the exciting career opportunities available, are critical to the growth and prosperity of the state economy," said CBIA President and CEO Kenneth O. Decko. Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland praised the effort. "The SmartForce e-Learning scholarships will give the people of Connecticut an opportunity to prepare for jobs in the burgeoning high tech economy. This partnership is a great example of how the public and private sectors - the Silicon Valley and Connecticut - can support our mutual goal to build a local workforce ready to meet the growing demands of this robust industry." Rowland also cited Mary Ann Hanley from the Office for Workforce Competitiveness, and Bart Halloran, chairman of the CEDA for helping coordinate this agreement. The SmartForce e-Learning Foundation partners with non-profit organizations that have created workforce development programs in their communities. Partner organizations select scholarship recipients, each of which will receive one year of access to SmartForce's comprehensive Internet-based e-Learning environment, including access to SmartForce's premier library of more than 1,200 courses, 24x7 expert mentoring, discussion groups and online seminars. SmartForce's award-winning e-Learning offerings cover a broad array of information technology topics, as well as critical business and workplace skills such as team building, conflict resolution, financial management, and others. The e-Learning Foundation reaches communities throughout the US with its activities and eventually will expand worldwide. "SmartForce recognizes the serious impact the digital divide is making on communities and the IT industry," said Greg Priest, president and CEO of SmartForce. "At SmartForce, we believe it is important to empower people with the knowledge necessary to embrace the digital age. Through the SmartForce e- Learning Foundation, our company has established a way to give people access to better jobs and better lives by providing scholarship grants to agencies and organizations. This partnership reflects our commitment to bridging the digital divide and to creating opportunities for residents of Connecticut and other communities around the world." Company Enhancements/Strategic Directions Business Wire June 26, 2000 click2learn.com First to Support Microsoft Learning Resource Interchange click2learn.com, inc. announced the release of ToolBook II 7.2 Instructor and Assistant, the latest edition of the market leading e-Learning authoring tools and the first to integrate Microsoft's Learning Resource Interchange (LRN) standard. LRN is the first commercial implementation of the Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Content and Management Systems Specification developed by the e-Learning industry and the IMS Global Learning Consortium. LRN is an XML-based schema that defines course content, allowing organizations and e-Learning providers to easily create and manage compatible online learning content. LRN helps customers maximize their investment in e-Learning by enabling a wider range of interoperable content and applications than currently exists today. click2learn.com's ToolBook II 7.2 also supports the AICC Guidelines and Recommendations (AGRs), allowing courses created with ToolBook's native DHTML export to support connectivity to learning management systems supporting AICC, such as the learning management system within click2learn.com's e- Learning Network -- click2learn.manager -- and click2learn.com's enterprise learning management system - - Ingenium. click2learn.com's ToolBook II 7.2 is the industry's only authoring product to support both the LRN and AICC standards. The new ToolBook II 7.2 also integrates PublishExpress, which enables subject matter experts and professional courseware developers to publish courses directly to the click2learn.com e-Learning site and e- Learning Network. Version 7.2 also includes double-byte support for applications exported to DHTML. ToolBook II Assistant 7.2 will be available at the end of July and is priced at $1,495 for first-time purchases or an upgrade price for Assistant 6.5 customers of $495 and an upgrade price of $695 for Assistant 6.0/6.1 customers. Assistant 7.0/7.1 customers with valid support contracts will receive the Assistant 7.2 update in the mail. Assistant 7.0/7.1 customers without a valid support contract can contact their salesperson and purchase the update for $19.95. Discounts are available for quantity purchases and education and government customers. Assistant 7.2 may be purchased directly through click2learn.com or through the click2learn.com network of value-added resellers. For more information about purchasing click2learn.com products and professional services, please contact the company at 800/448-6543 from North America, or 425/462-0501 from outside the United States or from the Internet at www.click2learn.com/sales/. Business Wire July 6, 2000 SmartForce Introduces e-Learning Workshops SmartForce announced it has introduced e-Learning workshops, a new form of interactive e-Learning event that leverages the latest developments in Internet collaboration technologies. The workshops, samples of which can be accessed at no charge at www.smartforce.com, combine streaming media, application sharing, remote application control, whiteboarding and live interactive sessions with other students and faculty over the Internet to create a fully collaborative and supportive environment for learners. The workshops, like SmartForce's SmartSeminars, are live interactive events led by subject matter experts, but are targeted toward smaller groups that can benefit from even more robust collaboration. Participants interact directly with expert presenters and other attendees by asking questions and engaging in conversations. The workshops also feature a variety of leading-edge collaborative capabilities, including document and application sharing, real-time demonstration of software and integrated teleconferencing. Workshop leaders can also demonstrate key software features by "taking control" of a learner's desktop, and take participants on guided Web tours. Canada NewsWire June 20, 2000 InfoCast to Offer Teach.com Courseware as Part of its e-Learning Solution InfoCast Corporation, an e-enabling Application Service Provider (ASP), and Teach.com, a provider of e-learning solutions, announced an agreement that will add Teach.com's full line of courses to InfoCast's e-Learning portfolio. The addition brings over two hundred new, high quality multimedia training courses to InfoCast's already impressive e-Learning curricula, greatly expanding the company's PC and business skills offerings. InfoCast enhances its ability to provide enterprises and educational institutions access to cost-effective, customized e-learning portals and Teach.com's respected web-based training products. Customers will receive a fully tested, ready-for-operation e-Learning solution, and infrastructure-on-demand to facilitate its implementation. InfoCast's scalable, reliable, and effective ASP services and technology will provide users with the best-possible online learning environment. To facilitate and drive the e-Learning experience, InfoCast has developed a powerful, state-of-the-art e- Learning strategy that integrates best-of-breed courseware, a hosted technology platform, live online learning support, learning communities and portal development. This solution is ideal for enterprises, educational institutions and virtual learning organizations. In addition, Teach.com's suite of SmartTrainer(x) learning products can be accessed through InfoCast's Learning Management System (LMS), providing the front-office infrastructure, assessment and tracking tools for e-Learning environments. Adding further to InfoCast's powerful e-Learning technology is the company's Virtual Call Center (VCC) system, which benchmarks a new level of learning support for online learners. Through advanced call- routing features, the application of this robust VCC technology allows calls from learners in the form of voice, e-mail and web chat to be routed to the support person most able to respond to the needs of the learner. The VCC technology promises to increase growth within this market by significantly expanding the real-time live interaction in the Web-based environment. Business Wire June 28, 2000 click2learn.com Develops Online Test Prep Courseware for The Princeton Review click2learn.com, inc. announced the company is developing online test preparation courseware with The Princeton Review, the nation's leading provider of test preparation and college admissions services, to make SAT and GMAT prep courses available online as e-Learning content. Students around the world will now be able to prepare for the SAT and GMAT at anytime, from any computer with an Internet connection. The Princeton Review Online test prep courses will contain multimedia content, computer adaptive assessments and live synchronous workshops to fully prepare the student for these tests. The courses adapt to each individual's strengths and weaknesses in an effort to efficiently and effectively maximize his/her score on the SAT or GMAT. e-Learning courses for the GRE, ACT, and LSAT prep courses will be available by Fall 2000. Business Wire July 3, 2000 Three New Studies Confirm WebCT's Leadership in the Higher Education Market for E-learning A new study by Q2 Brand Intelligence shows that WebCT is the leading course management system in higher education, and finds that WebCT.com and the Math Forum are among the top academically-oriented sites. Two other studies by McGraw-Hill Ryerson and Student Monitor corroborate Q2's findings, confirming WebCT's leadership position in the higher education market for integrated e-learning environments. Q2 Brand Intelligence conducted 1,200 telephone interviews in April and May 2000. To get a multi-level look at the market, Q2 interviewed 400 IT decision makers, 400 faculty, and 400 students at accredited 2- year and 4-year colleges in North America. Q2 found: -- 2,370 out of the 4,309 colleges in North America have used or purchased online learning course tools in the past year. -- 258,685 out of the 994,944 faculty in North America taught online classes in the past year. -- 1,520,000 (10%) of the 15.2 million college students in North America attended online classes in the past year. -- 208,938 of the faculty in North America provided links from their online courses to other resources on the Web and referred students to them. Business Wire July 3, 2000 DigitalThink Garners CIO Web Business 50/50 Award for Online Excellence DigitalThink, Inc., the pioneering e-learning solutions provider to Fortune 1000 companies, has been named a CIO 2000 Web Business 50/50 Award winner for the third year in a row. Sponsored by CIO Magazine, the award program recognizes innovative Web initiatives by organizations around the world. The July 1 issue of CIO honors the top 50 Internet and top 50 Intranet sites that demonstrate a keen ability to blend the technology and design of their Web site with their target audience's requirements. Business Wire July 12, 2000 DigitalThink Enhances Microsoft Official Curriculum --MOC-- to Reach New Customers DigitalThink, Inc., the pioneering e-learning solutions provider to Fortune 1000 companies, announced today the availability of enhanced Web-ready Windows 2000 courseware for its customers, based on Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC). "DigitalThink's courses developed using Microsoft Official Curriculum represent one of the leading efforts by a training partner. These DigitalThink courses contain innovations with interactivity and a new design developed by DigitalThink specifically for this curriculum," said Keith Carlson, chief customer officer of DigitalThink. "DigitalThink's multi award-winning courses are a combination of e-learning expertise, vision and content delivering interactive learning to consumers via the Web." DigitalThink's new offerings include expanded interactivity typical of the e-learning company's courses, and new visual design elements created specifically for the Windows 2000 series. The DigitalThink courseware, based on MOC, is designed to prepare students for Microsoft's Windows 2000 Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification. The curriculum consists of courses for both experienced and inexperienced Windows administrators. Pricing and Availability DigitalThink's "Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 Update Certification Series" is available immediately at www.digitalthink.com. Individual courses are $325 each and the series costs $1,450. Courses average eight hours in length. DigitalThink Courseware DigitalThink offers courses that are true e-learning experiences because they have been designed and developed for the Internet. DigitalThink's instructional designers create courses geared to engage the student in ways that only the Web provides, blending proven teaching techniques with simulations that guide students through typical situations they are likely to encounter. DigitalThink courses average 40% interactivity, requiring students to play an active role in receiving information. Integrated features such as online tutor support and a virtual community of classmates blends the best of the Web with critical person-to- person interaction. Students only need a Web browser and an Internet connection, on any computer, with a 28.8 or faster modem. DigitalThink handles all of the other technology requirements, from e-commerce capabilities and student registration, to 24x7 course delivery, on a completely outsourced basis. PR Newswire July 12, 2000 Saba and E-Gov 2000 Present 1st Annual E-Learning Awards for Leadership and Excellence Saba, premier worldwide providers of software and systems that connect people to learning and E-Gov, producer of the national conference and exposition on electronic government, this week presented the first annual E-Learning Awards for the public sector. The awards ceremony, held July 10 at the National Press Club, honored five organizations in government and higher education that have shown outstanding leadership in E-Learning. The first annual E-Learning Awards were presented to: * Army National Guard for linking 3,200 armories and supporting multimedia computer training for 362,000 citizen soldiers via the world's largest distance learning network; * Department of Labor for launching America's Learning eXchange (ALX), a public-private partnership that is the first-ever searchable Web database of training and education resources; * Internal Revenue Service for introducing a sweeping customer service effort that is transforming both the organization's structure and how it interacts with the American taxpayers; * University of Maryland University College for pioneering courses electronically that have resulted in tens of thousands of online enrollments worldwide each semester; * Veterans Benefits Administration for initiating an e-learning and learning management program to train management, make new hires productive in a shorter time, improve both customer and employee satisfaction; and * Veterans Health Administration for facilitating training data and reporting needs throughout the agency while satisfying legislative requirements that require tracking and reporting of training. Business Wire July 13, 2000 John Bryce Announces e-Learning Initiative John Bryce Training a fully owned subsidiary of Gilat Communications Ltd. (NASDAQ: GICOF), announced an e-learning initiative for hi-tech training. The new initiative will become part of John Bryce's overall activities in the area of re-training for the hi- tech and IT sectors and part of its overall policy to expand its European operations. John Bryce will offer a blended e-learning approach, including live interactive distance learning delivered over the Internet, and self-paced learning, as well as frontal classroom-format training. The new program is expected to position John Bryce as a provider of e-learning in addition to its core capabilities as a training services provides. It makes it possible for John Bryce to expand the range, capacity and reach of its classrooms without having to expand the physical infrastructure of the organization. Eran Lasser, co-CEO of John Bryce Training, notes: "There is a great need in the market for highly qualified IT and other computer professionals. The blended approach will make it possible for more people to acquire and/or upgrade their skills, and as a result of their improved performance, bring real business benefits. Thanks to the increase in enrollment and decreased costs, this new initiative positions us at the forefront of training companies worldwide in the field of e-learning and will help us to more quickly penetrate international markets," says Lasser. Mickey Aviel, Internet Services Manager of John Bryce Training, points out that within the framework of its Distance Learning Services, John Bryce Training offers quality training services, based on (among other things) synchronous (live) learning over the web with active support and the ability to deliver lessons any time, anywhere. "We are bringing distance learning capabilities to the market, based on the most advanced tools available in the industry and on the Internet," Aviel emphasized. The program uses Gilat Communications' LearnLinc platform, and it is a demonstration of the synergy between the recent acquisitions of Gilat and the advantages in integrating content technology and services. John Bryce also plans to expand the operation to include Europe via its new European training ventures. PR Newswire June 21, 2000 KnowledgeNet e-Learning Solutions to be Resold by Hewlett-Packard KnowledgeNet announced an agreement for Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HWP) to resell KnowledgeNet e-learning solutions through HP Complementary Products (HPCP). This agreement extends KnowledgeNet's sales coverage in the IT professional market, and provides HP customers the ability to acquire KnowledgeNet's dynamic e-learning products and associated campus and mentoring services as part of an integrated HP solution. "Hewlett-Packard is proud to make available to its customers certified Cisco training through its association with KnowledgeNet, a Cisco Learning Partner," said Helen Lum, Americas marketing manager for HP Complementary Products. Under the terms of the reseller agreement, HP Complementary Products will offer KnowledgeNet LIVE(SM) and KnowledgeNet EXPRESS(SM) courses in foundational and advanced Cisco training. . The Boston Globe June 29, 2000 THE E-LEARNING EDGE UP AGAINST RIVAL IBM, LEXINGTON-BASED CENTRA TAKES EARLY LEAD IN THE GROWING MARKET FOR INTERNET-BASED EDUCATION SOFTWARE At a New Year's Eve party on the last day of 1994, Lotus Development Corp. executive Leon Navickas finally found someone willing to listen to his idea for a new kind of software. Unfortunately for Lotus, that someone wasn't Navickas's boss. Instead, it was a venture capitalist with money to invest. Today, Navickas runs his own business, Lexington-based Centra Software Inc., which has taken an early lead in the market for Internet-based education software. And despite last month's announcement that Lotus's parent company, IBM Corp., is launching a major drive to dominate the "e-learning" market, Navickas thinks he can keep Centra on top. "I think that IBM-Lotus is fundamentally a services company," said Navickas. "That's their DNA." IBM's new Mindspan Solutions unit, headed by Lotus CEO Al Zollar, offers a broad array of e-learning products and services, with Lotus's LearningSpace software at its core. But the corporate genome at Centra is tuned solely for the task of producing educational software. Navickas thinks it's the best, and he's found a goodly number of customers to agree with him. According to market research from Frost & Sullivan, Centra holds more than half the market for e- learning software, with IBM holding just 6 percent. And Microsoft Corp. has tapped Centra as a business partner, with Microsoft salespeople pushing Centra software in all their key accounts. Satisfied Centra customers include Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino's Pizza LLC, which uses the software to upgrade the skills of 1,000 administrative workers. Paul Messink, Domino's director of intranet development, said he leaned toward buying Lotus LearningSpace because the company already uses Lotus's popular Notes collaborative software system. But workers found the Centra software far easier to use. "We really let this decision be driven by the users rather than by IS [information services executives]," Messink said, "and users certainly preferred the Centra solution." Navickas didn't have e-learning specifically in mind when he dreamed up Centra. He'd spent years working a variety of major Lotus products. Navickas was impressed with the possibilities of Lotus Notes, which allows teams of workers to share documents and collaborate on projects. But Navickas thought it was missing something - a way to let people work together in real time. He wanted software that would let workers send live messages to each other, or edit the same document simultaneously. "Notes wasn't really built with real-time capabilities," said Navickas. And back in 1994, with the Internet little more than a gimmick, the company wasn't too interested in adding them in, he said. Along came New Year's Eve and a sympathetic investor. Navickas set up Centra and got busy producing software that could let people work in real time over corporate networks or the Internet. By late 1996, the company's first product was ready. Symposium software let students work together on a single document; it allowed them to talk to each other over the network, or even over a slow telephone modem connection to the Internet. Centra also came up with Choreography, a program that enabled e-learning instructors to coordinate the activities of class members. With students scattered all over the Internet, and no direct eye contact, an online classroom can collapse into chaos. With Choreography, a teacher can seize control. For instance, the teacher can force students to take turns speaking or tinkering with a class project. "Companies got incredibly excited about this, and they saw the need immediately," said Navickas. Robert Sanregret, vice president of distance learning for Global Knowledge Inc., a North Carolina technical training firm, has been using Centra products for the past year. "Centra is certainly the easiest vendor to recommend to a Fortune 500 company," said Sanregret. Sanregret noted that IBM and Lotus, instead of focusing simply on producing the best e-learning software, are more interested in providing an entire set of educational services. Sanregret figures that its superior software gives Centra the advantage for now; as for the IBM approach, "that'll be a good strategy in about a year and a half," he said. IBM has good reason to play catch up. According to International Data Corp. in Framingham, companies in the Internet learning business took in $1.1 billion last year, and will rake in $11.4 billion in 2003. With its software-only business, Centra will only get a sliver of this market. But IDC analyst Cushing Alexander notes that IBM's approach of offering complete solutions to the world's biggest customers may actually offer an opportunity for Centra. At some of their accounts, IBM Mindspan employees could decide that a client is better off with Centra software rather than Lotus. "They could recommend anybody's solution, theoretically, which could give Centra an opportunity," said Alexander. Navickas can even imagine a day when IBM gives up on Lotus LearningSpace and sells Centra products to all its Mindspan customers. "I think that there may be another morphing of the IBM-Lotus learning operation in the future," he said. "It sort of seems to me that they've tried this before . . . Lotus building their own and then dropping it for best-of-breed products in that market." Perhaps IBM might even acquire closely held Centra, but Navickas said he's not holding his breath. "There's a price for everything, but we're not angling to be bought," he said. "What we're doing now is we're building a large and scalable stand-alone business, on the scale of Notes itself." COMPUTERWORLD (PHILIPPINES) June 30, 2000 Philippines: AMA renting virtual classrooms from HP In line with its technology-based learning strategy, the AMA Education System (AMAES) has started renting virtual classrooms from Hewlett-Packard's online training service called E-Learning-on-Tap (ELoT). ELoT is a hosted e-service that enables organizations to book Web-based virtual classrooms for any kind of training session. Students and instructors can access the virtual classrooms by logging on to an assigned and password-protected URL (uniform resource locator) address. HP officials say AMA is the first school in the country to use the service and the first in the world to apply E-Learning on a wide scale. AMA now offers all its students a special course to familiarize themselves on E-Learning, before the virtual classrooms are used to teach general education subjects such as English and Mathematics, says Rolando S. Dela Cruz, vice president for Academic Affairs at AMAES. AMA's campuses in Makati, Quezon City and East Rizal now have E-Learning laboratories that house 40 PCs each for Makati and Quezon City and 20 PCs for East Rizal. The virtual classes are being led and coordinated by an instructor from the main campus in Quezon City, which also serves as AMA's E-Learning command center. Dela Cruz said the three laboratories, and the ones in the future, are scheduled to go online at the same time. By doing this, one virtual teacher in Quezon City can easily accommmodate 100 students the three campuses combined. In the near future, AMA students can engage in group discussions and collaboration using the HP virtual classrooms, where they can also reach out for additional instructions from non-AMA professors. Future uses of the E-Learning also include online professional counseling and notes sharing, as well as virtual group or one-on-one discussion. The E-Learning also cuts traveling costs for students and instructors, allows for flexible class schedule, and playback-ready lectures for lesson reviews. De La Cruz declines to give the cost of renting the virtual classrooms, but says it is cheaper than for them to put up their own. He also adds that AMA will invest P15 million for the next 10 months for the further deployment of E-Learning. In the meantime, Dela Cruz said six sessions for the special course costs P800, which students eventually won't have to pay when the virtual classrooms become well in place. PR Newswire June 19, 2000 Arizona State University Adopts KnowledgeNet E-Learning Solutions KnowledgeNet, the leader in next generation e-learning, announced today that Arizona State University, the third-largest university in the United States, has licensed KnowledgeNet's e-learning solutions to provide training to the university's faculty, students and staff. Technical and end user courseware in KnowledgeNet's multiple Web-based formats, including KnowledgeNet LIVE(SM), KnowledgeNet EXPRESS(SM), and KnowledgeNet INTERACTIVE(SM), will be available to the ASU community beginning July 1, 2000. "We've been conducting training for several years in the traditional instructor-led format," noted ASU Vice Provost for IT, Dr. William Lewis, "but realized that technology-delivered training solved several problems: our students couldn't always find the three-hour blocks of time demanded by classroom training, and wanted to pursue classes in a time- and place- independent format; classroom space is at a premium; and, finally, we couldn't cost-justify the time commitment to send people offsite to a training provider. "We felt KnowledgeNet was the right choice because their technology is designed from the ground up for web-based delivery, and therefore represents the state-of-the-art in online training," continued Dr. Lewis. "The content is certified by Cisco and Microsoft and KnowledgeNet's ability to deliver impactful, retained learning is unmatched. As an added benefit, the two co-founders are ASU alumni. As ASU moves forward in the roll-out of Microsoft Windows 2000, quality, high-volume, just-in-time training is critical to the success of the university. Also, as faculty expect students to expand their use of productivity tools as part of their academic program, the ability to have the necessary training available when needed is mandatory to help them succeed." Business Wire June 29, 2000 Software Magazine Ranks SABA As One Of the World's Largest Software Companies Saba announced its spot on the Software Magazine's Software 500 list of the world's foremost software providers, featured in the publication's June/July 2000 issue. Saba was ranked 423rd based on calendar 1999 estimated results with software and services revenue of$8 million and revenue growth of 1042%. Saba's fiscal year ends May 31. The company's 2000 results were $18.0 million in total revenue, an increase of 828% from 1.9 million for the year ended May 31, 1999. Saba's inclusion on the Software 500 list reflects its leadership position providing Internet-based infrastructure in the global e-learning market. As of May 31, 2000, more than 2,800,000 people around the world and 30,000 learning offerings were "on Saba." The company, which had its initial public offering on April 7, 2000, is a leading provider of e-learning infrastructure in an industry so large that TRAINING Magazine estimates that the training budget of U.S. enterprises was approximately $63 billion in 1999. The global education budget for businesses is significantly higher. PR Newswire June 26, 2000 Compuware Announces New Dot.Com Knowledge Site Tailored To Individual Customer Requirements Compuware Corporation announced the creation of a new e-learning portal that will meet individual customer learning requirements. Built with UNIFACE, Compuware's enterprise application development and integration environment, the MyUNIFACE.com portal provides a customizable, interactive knowledge center to the UNIFACE community. The depth of information presented, the online coaching facilities and the speed with which customized information can be accessed makes MyUNIFACE.com highly responsive to customers' particular needs. With MyUNIFACE.com, Compuware takes customers' self-sufficiency one step further with customized, personalized e-learning opportunities. This enables UNIFACE developers to assess and improve their knowledge and skills by clicking and learning their way through the most timely and relevant information. Customers are able to increase productivity and reduce time to market of business-critical e-commerce applications. "Hurwitz Group believes that e-learning continues to show its strength and value to the new economy because fast learning often means fast doing, particularly in the IT sector, where there is great demand for skills and continuously updated knowledge," says Elise Olding, Director of Knowledge, e-Learning and Collaboration at Hurwitz Group. "The advantage of e-learning is that it enables delivery in the context of work, so knowledge can be used immediately within the working environment." "MyUNIFACE.com was developed using UNIFACE," explains Arno van Herk, Practices Development Director of Compuware UNIFACE products. "Integration with heterogeneous back-end systems and data sources, both internally and externally, is key to a strong portal offering. UNIFACE's renowned native support for mainstream operating systems and databases is ideally suited to the delivery of scalable, adaptable web solutions. In addition, UNIFACE delivers a range of functionality for front-end portal development allowing developers to provide administration and personalization features, as well as customizable access to a variety of information sources. We have harnessed these capabilities to develop an online knowledge center for our customers that meets their individual information and learning needs." MyUNIFACE.com integrates two Compuware web-based services, FrontLine for UNIFACE (formerly the Pillars of Wisdom technical support application) and UNIFACE@cademy (a training and knowledge application), into one entity containing everything developers need to know about UNIFACE. Enterprise application developers can take control of meeting their own information needs, making it possible for them to decide when they follow training courses, access product documentation or join in with ongoing discussions among both experienced and novice UNIFACE users. MyUNIFACE.com offers its users online, expert-written courses with a results-oriented, collaborative learning experience. This is provided through a Documentation section and a Developers' Club, which fosters learning and knowledge transfer through a meeting room for peer-to-peer communication, plus self- help and online coaching facilities. Coaching is vital to the success of online training because it provides support for students and a means to track their progress. MyUNIFACE.com can be accessed immediately at http://www.myuniface.com . Access to the site is free of charge to UNIFACE customers. Training and coaching services and materials are made available through the purchase of credit points (sold in packs of ten). Each credit point is priced in accordance with local online training rates. Business Wire June 29, 2000 University Access Becomes First E-Learning Company to Provide Online Pre-MBA Foundation Courses to Top Business Schools University Access, an e-learning company, announced the launch of its Pre-MBA Foundation Courses, designed for students looking to develop or reinforce their knowledge of business subjects before they begin graduate-level business study, including work toward an MBA. University Access is the first e-learning business to offer pre-MBA courses online developed in conjunction with top-tier business schools. Students taking the University Access Pre-MBA Foundation Courses not only gain a competitive edge before business school starts, but they also develop valuable skills for their careers. For institutions, the program provides a high-quality foundation curriculum without having to invest faculty time and financial resources for development. The program also helps schools improve the skills of their beginning MBA students, increasing the likelihood of their success. The online pre-MBA courses include business math, accounting, statistics and economics. Each course requires 60 hours of work. Professors who developed the four courses with University Access are: Accounting -- Dr. Roman L. Weil, V. Duane Rath professor of accounting, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Dr. Weil has been a University of Chicago faculty member since 1965 and has taught at such institutions as Stanford University and New York University School of Law. Business Math -- Dr. R. Kipp Martin, professor of operations research and computing technology, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Dr. Martin has been a University of Chicago faculty member for 20 years and is immersed in several research activities. Economics -- Dr. Robert Connolly, associate professor of finance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School. Throughout his teaching career, Dr. Connolly has written several bylined articles for finance-related publications and published multiple research papers. Statistics -- Dr. J. Morgan Jones, associate professor of operations technology and innovation management, and associate professor of information technology and e-commerce, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School. Dr. Jones, who earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Stanford University, is a consultant for several corporations including TOSCO, Management Analysis Center and Burke Marketing Research. Business schools at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill plan to offer the pre-MBA online courses to their students. The schools license the courses from University Access. In return, University Access provides technical support to the students, instructors and schools. "A large percentage of universities offer some sort of pre-MBA experience, but University Access believes that a Web-based format will quickly become the norm. We're excited to be the first e-learning company to meet that marketplace demand," said Jeffrey T. Cobb, managing director of University Access' academic business unit. "More than 100,000 MBAs are awarded annually, and University Access is taking the lead in helping prepare these future business leaders for this challenging and rewarding experience." Using its proprietary technology tools and course production expertise, University Access is uniquely qualified to quickly develop and deliver these kinds of services for its academic partners. Each course is interactive and features several multimedia learning tools and animation. Course developers also took advantage of student input and extensive research into learning techniques and student needs to optimize the learning experience. "University Access developed the Pre-MBA Foundation Courses with the student's needs in mind from the start," said Steve Ogden, director of production for University Access' CourseWorks division. "This outside-in' approach enabled us to produce courses that are effective yet flexible enough to meet the needs of recent undergraduates through seasoned corporate executives." Course demos are available at: http://www.universityaccess.com/demo/graduate/premba. For more information about University Access, visit the company's Website at http://www.universityaccess.com. InformationWeek June 19, 2000 GET SMART -- LOTUS WANTS TO BRING TRAINING AND EXPERTISE TO USERS' DESKTOPS Al Zollar turns with enthusiasm to a whiteboard at the front of a well- appointed conference room lined on one side with windows that look out over the tour boats and crew teams gliding up the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. With a flourish, he draws a graph with an upward-reaching line representing the quickening pace of new technology and business-process adoption, then a nearly flat line depicting the rate at which employees can gain the training and expertise needed to exploit these technologies and processes. Between the two lines lies a yawning gap. "This gap between the rate of change and the rate of learning, and the way it impacts organizations of all sizes, is a problem that someone has got to step up to the plate and solve with technology," he says. "This gap is the opportunity for Lotus." Zollar, five months into his job as president and CEO of Lotus Development Corp., in many ways represents the latest iteration of an 18-year-old company that was one of the first packaged PC software vendors, a former leader in the spreadsheet market, the foremost proponent and developer of groupware technology, and, since 1995, an arm's-length subsidiary of IBM. Zollar, a 23- year IBM veteran, is charged with leading Lotus into its next high-margin opportunity: becoming the "franchise player" in the markets for collaboration, knowledge management, and distributed-learning software. Franchise player. These are Zollar's own words, yet they're also applicable to the role he finds himself thrust into-returning Lotus to pre-eminence in an industry it helped create. With Microsoft, its long-time archrival, making Lotus sweat to keep its Notes/Domino client-server groupware in the lead in the collaboration software market, Lotus is strongly in need of standout technology. Low-key and genial, Zollar is light years removed from Lotus' previous chief executives: the McKinsey- trained and Microsoft-obsessed Jim Manzi, who headed the company from 1986 to 1995; and the dapper, hard-charging Jeff Papows, who left Lotus early this year under a cloud of controversy. Zollar is closer in temperament to Lotus founder Mitch Kapor. And just as Kapor had a flagship technology in Lotus' 1-2-3 spreadsheet program, Zollar is counting on a product now under development to propel the company to the forefront of the database and document-management discipline known as knowledge management. Code-named Raven, it's an integrated system that, when completed later this year, will provide users with three key knowledge-management functions: an expertise locator for identifying people within a company who possess knowledge in a particular area; a content-management system for helping users find data, documents, and other materials; and portal technology to pull these pieces together. The software builds on the collaboration capabilities of messaging and groupware tools, such as Lotus' own Domino server and Notes client, to provide users with access to the personnel and other resources required for a given project via "knowledge windows" in E-mail, calendars, or Web sites. Shaw Pittman, a Washington law firm, hopes to use Raven to replace a rudimentary knowledge- management application and contact database it built on top of Notes four years ago. Cindy Thurston, application development manager at Shaw Pittman-a beta site for Raven-likens the software's expertise locator to "a directory, like a Yahoo of expertise," that offers attorneys an efficient way to find colleagues who specialize in a certain area from the firm's 750 lawyers. "Law firms are a knowledge business," Thurston says. "But law firms are behind consulting firms when it comes to keeping track of their knowledge." Thurston says the Raven technology will help fill that gap. " Lotus' direction on collaboration and knowledge management is the same as ours," she says. That's in line with Zollar's philosophy. Customers who have met with Zollar are impressed with his interest in their needs. "Zollar is a pretty customer- focused person. We're encouraged by what we see so far," says Tony Scott, chief technology officer at General Motors Corp. During a one-hour interview, Zollar uses the phrase "creating value for our customers" several times. Zollar appears to be on solid ground in focusing the company's strategic direction on knowledge management and distributed learning. The worldwide market for knowledge-management software is poised to grow from $515 million this year to $3.5 billion by 2004, according to a recent report by market researcher Ovum. U.S. companies spent more than $3 billion on technology- delivered training last year, according to IDC, a research firm. By the time that number reaches $11.5 billion in 2003, Lotus hopes its Learning Space E- learning software will command a healthy share of the market. To ensure that it does, the vendor last month joined forces with its parent company to create a 4,000- employee business unit, called IBM Mindspan Solutions, to help companies set up online training services. "Knowledge management and distributed learning are getting a tremendous amount of attention within Lotus," says Laura Sanders, a VP of Mindspan Solutions. Though grouped under separate business units, the technologies are inextricably linked, she says. "We view distributed learning as 'knowledge transfer,' a key pillar of knowledge management." Lotus already has incredible mindshare in knowledge management and E- learning, Zollar says; now, "our challenge is to turn that mindshare into market share." Cliff Reeves, appointed to the newly created position of senior VP of knowledge management, is charged with ramping up market share on the knowledge-management front. "It's a concept and a discipline as much as a technology," says Reeves, previously VP of product management for Lotus' messaging and collaboration software. Lotus' biggest hurdle, according to Reeves, is to make knowledge management "practical to assimilate." That means making knowledge-management technology easier to use and less expensive to deploy and manage. Like Zollar, Reeves sees a day when knowledge management becomes as big a business for Lotus as messaging and collaboration are today-if not bigger. " Lotus and IBM are ready to make this a showcase business," he says. That's good, because expectations by customers for Lotus to deliver on the promise of knowledge management are high. Knowledge management "is pervasive in its applicability and capability," says GM's Scott. "It's a platform for solutions. You've got a basic tool, and you can do a lot with it." Scott says GM has just begun looking at the beta version of Raven in its labs, but it's waiting for the final product before it undertakes any companywide projects based on the system. As GM awaits Raven's final release, development groups within the automaker have been looking at other knowledge- management technology. "There are about a half-dozen niche products out there that our folks are looking at," says Scott, mostly for some narrowly focused projects. A number of startups, including FireDrop Inc. and Semio Corp., are angling for a piece of the knowledge-management market. Competitive threats also come from established business-intelligence tool vendors such as Cognos Inc., and document-management software suppliers such as Documentum Inc., that are tailoring their products for knowledge-management projects. And of course, there's Microsoft, which has crafted Exchange 2000 with knowledge management in mind. When it ships this summer, Exchange 2000 will offer new workflow features as well as improved content-indexing and retrieval capabilities. Microsoft also emphasizes that Exchange isn't its only knowledge-management offering. It sees structured data within its SQL Server database and documents created with Microsoft Office, all accessible through its Digital Dashboard portal, as components of its lineup. "We don't see knowledge management as something that a single product can provide," says Stan Sorensen, Microsoft's group product manager for server applications. Credit Suisse First Boston Corp., which chose to standardize on Exchange with Outlook clients over Lotus Notes three years ago, is now using Exchange and Microsoft's Digital Dashboard technology as the foundation of its knowledge-management efforts. Exchange's workflow capabilities will supplant all paper- based processes, including expense tracking and financial reporting, within three months, saving the company millions of dollars annually, says Philip Beville, IT global engineering VP at the New York investment firm. Future knowledge-management projects will use Exchange 2000 as a platform, although managers decline to disclose details. "We consider them to be a strategic advantage," Beville says. Is Zollar worried? "You always have to be looking at Microsoft as a competitor," he says, matter-of- factly. "We'd be foolish to take our eyes off them." Zollar may have a greater worry from within. Raven's original release date was this summer. But the software didn't enter general beta testing until last month, and Reeves says the most likely ship date is early in the fourth quarter. That worries some Lotus customers. The company's knowledge-management technology has the greatest potential for widespread use at GM, Scott says, but he also notes that he would have liked to have seen the product sooner. He says it will take some time for the automaker to figure out how it can best use Raven, and he doesn't expect to be able to begin pilot projects until this summer at the earliest. Lotus has "articulated its direction as well as it can, but my concern is the timing," Scott says. Other customers say Lotus' tardiness in releasing Raven is no big deal. " All vendors are late with products," says Al Candela, groupware engineering VP at Chase Manhattan Corp. in New York. He's eagerly anticipating adding knowledge-management capabilities to the financial institution's core IT functions. "We're obviously interested in getting the right information to the right people to make the right decisions to help the company," he says. " Raven would be a good way of beginning that knowledge-gathering process." Lotus did get the latest release of its LearningSpace application out the door on time. Version 4.0, which shipped last month, has been beefed up with " Web self-directed learning" technology, which allows for self- paced training via the Net. Lotus gained that technology when it acquired Macromedia Inc.'s Pathware software last July. The new release of LearningSpace also offers improved testing and results tracking and reporting capabilities. By combining LearningSpace with IBM's consulting and professional services and hosting infrastructure, Mindspan Solutions is able to deliver end-to-end distributed learning packages that let users take courses live or at their own pace. "We're the only company that can do that," VP Sanders says. It's not the only company that's trying, however. LearningSpace competes against such distributed learning software and service providers as Docent, Hewlett- Packard, Mentergy, and Ninth House Network. But analysts say Sanders' boast is not idle. "It's an extensive solution," says Brandon Hall, founder of E- learning research firm BrandonHall.com, of Mindspan Solutions' software and services. "It's world-class in scope and scalability." Rouse Co., a Columbia, Md., real-estate development and management company, tried out several Web- learning products and services before settling on LearningSpace. The other offerings suffered from technology problems, such as slow download times for course materials, says Joel Manfredo, Rouse's VP and information strategies director. The company, which says it has seen significant savings by using LearningSpace, plans to do most of its training online. It first deployed LearningSpace about a year ago, training more than 600 employees in 70 locations to use a custom-built budgeting and financial forecasting system through its intranet. The company was able to train employees in eight days, rather than the five weeks it would have taken using a traditional classroom approach, Manfredo says. Training employees the old way also would have meant putting 12 instructors on the road for those five weeks; in addition to the expenses they'd incur, their absence would have an impact on Rouse's productivity. The company would also have to eat the costs of the delay in implementing the technology while waiting for all employees to get up to speed. Rouse seems to be proof of Zollar's argument that time-to-training is as important as time-to-market in helping companies stay competitive. And Manfredo is sure he's betting on the right company to keep Rouse competitive. "The most significant piece of choosing Lotus was my comfort in Lotus having a handle on what E-learning is all about, where the industry is going, and that its product would be a leader in that direction," he says. For the moment, Notes and Domino remain at the core of Lotus' product strategy. Despite several years of head-to-head competition from Microsoft Exchange, Notes sales continue to grow. As of the end of 1999, Notes/Domino had 55.3 million installed seats vs. 44.2 million for Exchange, according to the vendors. Boosted by Lotus' midyear shipment of Release 5 of the Notes/Domino system, Notes outsold Exchange in the fourth quarter, 8.5 million seats to 5.5 million, according to market-research firm Messaging Online. "Lotus is still the kingpin in its core area," says James Kobielus, an analyst with the Burton Group, a market- research and consulting firm. "It's still at the top of the groupware and collaboration software market." Notes is a cornerstone technology within many of the world's largest companies, including Chase Manhattan and GM. It's the primary E-mail and collaboration system for more than 100,000 GM employees, Scott says, and the foundation for hundreds of applications. IBM has almost certainly realized a significant return from its $3.5 billion acquisition of Lotus. While IBM doesn't break out Lotus' sales figures, Notes was one of the few bright spots in the vendor's otherwise lackluster first quarter, which ended March 31. IBM's net income rose to just $1.52 billion compared with $1.47 billion in the year-ago quarter, and revenue declined 5%, to $19.3 billion, from a year earlier. But sales of Notes software "grew strongly" during the period, IBM said in its quarterly statement. Zollar's appointment at Lotus is only the latest-albeit the most dramatic- indication of the two companies' converging paths. In the last year, Lotus has worked closely with IBM to leverage potential synergies between their technologies. The companies, for example, are developing links between Domino and IBM's WebSphere Web application server, due later this year. These will let the vendors offer a complete Internet application and E-commerce platform with high-volume transaction, replication, search, and workflow and collaboration capabilities. Raven is expected to include core database technology from IBM's DB2. Later this month, Lotus will ship Mobile Notes client software that runs on IBM's version of the Palm personal digital assistant. IBM and Lotus have been cooperating in a number of other areas-from the launch of the Mindspan Solutions unit, to the joint creation last year of the Knowledge Management Institute, which examines the business and social aspects of knowledge management, to increased cooperation between their sales forces. In an example of the latter, Zollar cites a recently won contract with the U.S. Navy to supply Lotus software for several carrier and battleship groups. Zollar says IBM's sales force, which has good connections in the Pentagon, will help Lotus capitalize on that win throughout the Department of Defense. Could IBM and Lotus become too close? For some, the answer seems to be yes. Papows, Zollar's predecessor, gave as his reason for departing his desire to manage "an independent software company." IBM is already in charge of Lotus' human resources, finance, and administrative operations-and some analysts fear that Lotus' entrepreneurial spirit could be stifled if additional consolidation occurs. "It's no secret they've had a fairly significant brain drain since IBM acquired them," says Larry Hawes, a senior analyst with the Delphi Group. "They've lost a lot of experience, a lot of talent, and a lot of ideas." In his short time as CEO, Zollar already has had to deal with a number of high-level defections, including John Throckmorton, who as executive VP of worldwide development and support oversaw Lotus' development efforts; James Feiger, who as executive VP of worldwide field operations ran Lotus' sales efforts; and Mike Laginski, senior VP for North America. Zollar attributes the turnover to the booming Internet economy rather than to concerns about Lotus' autonomy. "It's an outright war for talent," he says. "And we're engaged in the war just like everyone else." Zollar has worked hard to debunk the idea that Lotus is losing its independence, beginning with his speech at the Lotusphere user group conference in January. Noting that he'd already been asked many times about whether his appointment meant the end of Lotus, he said, "I'm going to answer that for the last time. No, it doesn't." But, of course, Zollar has had to answer the same question many times since. "Changing one person is not going to change the culture of an organization," Zollar insists. "I don't want to change Lotus' high-energy culture-I want to enhance it." Zollar has promoted from within to fill vacant executive posts. But he won't rule out reaching back to IBM to add to his management team. "I want to look for talent wherever I can get it," he says. Lotus customers generally remain upbeat about its role as an IBM subsidiary. "The melding of the two companies has been nothing but positive," says Chase's Candela. He says that new availability and data integrity features in Domino Release 5 were based on transaction log technology from IBM operating systems, for example, and also points out that since IBM took over, Notes and Domino have been ported to the AIX, OS/400, and OS/390 operating systems. That has worked to Lotus' advantage in more than one instance. For example, the ability to have a highly scalable system behind United Airlines Corp.'s MySkyNet portal for 130,000 employees was an "overriding requirement, given the company's geographical spread," says Ajay Singh, research and development director within United's IT group in Elk Grove, Ill. Domino on an S/390 met that requirement; competing products from Microsoft and others couldn't. The airline is constructing the portal based on Domino and Lotus' Sametime instant messaging and collaboration software. Currently being tested by 5,000 employees, the portal will become the primary interface for United workers into the airline's operational applications and other information systems. It will let workers share project plans, hold online meetings and group discussions, and communicate in real time. GM's Scott has mixed feelings. He says being part of IBM has slowed Lotus a bit in reacting to marketplace changes, pointing to the delays with getting out Raven and Notes 5.0. But he admits his fears that Lotus "would lose its aggressiveness and entrepreneurial character haven't come to pass." That edge will be important to maintain as Lotus again tries to shift direction. Rosy projections of market growth have fallen short in the past, and rosy estimates for the potential knowledge-management and distributed- learning markets may prove to be illusory. But Zollar is sure the company is heading in the right direction. The challenge, he says, is to communicate its mission to customers and the rest of the outside world. Adds Zollar, "We need to make our directions clear in terms of our ability to offer value to customers in this rapidly moving new economy." The Irish Times July 14, 2000 Major growth at Smartforce Smartforce, the Irish-founded e-learning company, plans to employ a further 200 people here over the next two years. The firm already employs 500 people in Dublin and is planning massive growth in line with an explosion in the global e-learning market. This week Mr Greg Priest, Smartforce president and chief executive officer, told The Irish Times: "The opportunity that exists in the e-learning market will support billion dollar companies. If we execute effectively we should be one of those companies in a relatively short timeframe." Smartforce is currently generating revenues of $ 200 million annually, and was recently ranked the world's largest e-learning company by International Data Corporation (IDC) and tagged as a "company to watch" in 2000. The company, which now employs 1,300 people worldwide, grew last year at more than twice the average rate of the top 10 companies on the IDC e-learning list. In its last financial year Smartforce's revenues increased by 22 per cent. This return to form borders on the miraculous following a massive share sell-off last October which wiped $ 510 million off the company's market value. The sell-off was triggered by a change of company name and a failure by Internet investors to grasp the thinking behind a shift in corporate strategy. Last October Smartforce changed its name from CBT (Computer Based Training) Systems, and shifted its focus from selling courses on CD or through local area networks, to an Internet based e-learning model where software is accessed electronically. The move meant a change in the business model from customers paying a total sum in advance to rent or lease Smartforce courses over a fixed period, to a "per use" model where companies accessing the Smartforce website pay as they use the software. Smartforce has also been identified by IDC as the eighth largest IT training company in the world. Business Wire June 21, 2000 VCampus Prepares to Deliver Up to One Million Courses Per Month to Meet Projected Demand From Customers VCampus Corporation (Nasdaq: VCMP), an e-Learning Application Service Provider (ASP) that develops, manages and hosts turn-key, web-based learning environments for corporations, academic institutions and government agencies, today announced the introduction of Course Delivery Engine 2000 (CDE 2000), an intuitive, scalable interface that will allow the company to deliver up to one million courses per month. This will amount to a tenfold increase in capacity from last year. CDE 2000 is currently undergoing Quality Assurance (QA) testing, and will be available to customers by the fourth quarter of this year. In preparation for the launch of CDE 2000, VCampus has upgraded and moved its servers to Exodus Communications(TM), Inc., a leading provider of complex Internet hosting. VCampus' capacity for long- term growth and ability to deliver up to one million courses per month will be greatly facilitated by this system upgrade. An open and component-based system based on a previous VCampus courseware engine, CDE 2000 will allow the company to easily add new features and capabilities to its learning platform. Because the engine has a more cohesive and consistent interface, navigation through a course will be more intuitive to users. In addition, instructors will be able to highly customize the look and feel of the course content they create. Like previous releases of the VCampus courseware platform, CDE 2000 is integrated with an Author Assembly and Publishing system that provides user-definable page navigation, learning object component uploads, XML parsing, a glossary, headers and footers, and communication vehicles. In addition, VCampus provides eight hour per day courseware technical help at no charge, as well as monthly training and access to thousands of pre-built templates of Shocked Director and Flash interactive files, which require only text input for use in private courseware. Because these features are available through a standard Web browser, customers do not have to purchase extra software. The VCampus suite is complete with the addition of the VCampus Environment, which enables real-time monitoring of learning object usage and assessment on an individual user or demographically-defined basis. Business Wire June 20, 2000 FutureLink Launches WorkForceIQ.com FutureLink Corp., one of the first application service providers (ASPs), officially launched its WorkForceIQ.com subscription-based corporate training service. The newly live service - announced by FutureLink in May at the Networld+Interop conference and now available for free demo - gives small and mid-sized businesses cost-effective access to more than 1000 courses from various leading e-Learning content developers, as well as advanced employee performance-tracking capabilities. "WorkForceIQ.com allows FutureLink to provide customers with a turnkey business productivity solution," said Glen C. Holmes, president and chief operating officer of FutureLink. "Now that WorkForceIQ.com has gone live, small and medium-sized businesses can access the same e-Learning tools available to major corporations through the convenient, low-cost ASP delivery vehicle." FutureLink's WorkForceIQ.com aggregates more than 1000 interactive courses from a variety of e- Learning content providers, including element K (formerly Ziff-Davis Education), SkillSoft, and Learnframe among others. These courses have been bundled into training tracks that target the skills required for positions within the following job categories: Administration/Support, Marketing/Sales, Management/Human Resources, Accounting/Finance, Customer Service/Help Desk and IT Professional. Each WorkForceIQ.com subscriber has unlimited access to any of the courses offered for his or her particular job function. All courses can be accessed anytime, anywhere and are fully interactive, with simulations, sound and narration. In addition to offering e-Learning content, WorkForceIQ.com incorporates a learner management system from Learnframe that tracks employee performance, progress and compliance. It records each subscriber's progress through courses and supports both pre- and post-course assessment tracking, as well as certification and compliance monitoring and skills gap analysis. The system also offers flexible reporting capabilities that allow training or human resources managers to produce a variety of employee-progress and employee-skills reports. Three subscription levels WorkForceIQ.com offers businesses and individuals three different subscription levels: Basic Skills, Premium Skills or Pay-Per-View. A Basic Skills subscription covers more than 80 courses in software applications, desktop operating systems and business-critical skills that target the fundamental requirements for the job categories noted above. A Premium Skills subscription enhances a Basic Skills subscription with in-depth information libraries targeting essential skills such as time management, customer service, project management and communication, among others. IT certification tracks, such as Microsoft MCSE and Novell CNE, are also available through a Premium Skills subscription. A Pay-Per-View subscription allows a business or individual to purchase any of the more than 1000 courses in the WorkForceIQ.com catalog on a per-transaction basis. For added flexibility, WorkForceIQ.com may also be re-branded with a customer's "look and feel" and integrated into a company Web page or intranet while still hosted and managed at a FutureLink data center. Free demo available A free demonstration of WorkForceIQ.com is now available via the WorkForceIQ home page (www.workforceIQ.com). The demo can be accessed by logging in on the home page using the following information: username: email@example.com password: demo Business Wire July 12, 2000 Saba Added to Russell 2000 and 3000 Saba announced that it has been added to the Russell 2000(R) Index and the Russell 3000(R) Index. PR Newswire June 21, 2000 Global Knowledge Expands Self-Paced E-Learning Offerings With Essentials of TCP/IP Global Knowledge Network, Inc., the world's largest independent IT education company, has introduced a series of self-paced e-learning titles on TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol). Essentials of TCP/IP (ETCP), a multi-volume series, is designed to give students a comprehensive foundation in Internet communications. Presented in clear, understandable terms, ETCP includes the protocol training required for vendor certifications such as Cisco, Nortel, or Microsoft. Essentials of TCP/IP is authored by a team of Global Knowledge certified instructors who have taught thousands of students in classroom environments. ETCP Volume 1: Fundamentals presents the history of TCP/IP, associated protocols, and how they map to OSI layers. Volume 1 also details the difference between TCP and UDP and introduces application layer protocols, subnetting, and an introduction to IP v6. ETCP Volume 2: Troubleshooting describes how to prevent, detect, troubleshoot, and correct TCP/IP network problems before users know there's a problem. Students learn how to identify and correct protocol errors, DNS route problems, application faults, and slow response. ETCP Volume 3: IP Addressing & Subnetting teaches the fundamental concepts of TCP/IP addressing, basic subnetting and more advanced concepts such as supernetting and private addressing. ETCP Volume 4: IP Version 6 covers IP Version 6 concepts and addressing, as well as implementation and migration techniques. Each ETCP training volume contains the latest information required for sales engineers, customer service representatives, network managers, or help desk technicians. Business Wire June 16, 2000 Learn2.com Recognized by Yahoo! Internet Life as One of '50 Most Incredibly Useful Sites' for Third Straight Year Learn2.com, a provider of e-learning solutions, announced today that Yahoo! Internet Life once again has selected the Company's Web site as one of the Internet's "50 Most Incredibly Useful Sites." The magazine's July 2000 issue includes what Yahoo! Internet Life calls "the fourth annual roundup of Web gems - sites that allow you to get things done faster and smarter." Learn2.com is the only e-learning company included the list. Business Wire June 28, 2000 Ninth House Network Launches Program Aimed At Maximizing Employee Effectiveness Ninth House Network(TM) announced the launch of Capturing Brand You(TM), an interactive, experiential and engaging learning program that helps employees develop their own "brand" within the context of organizational objectives, allowing employees to enhance their reputation within the organization while developing their careers. Partnering with best-selling author and speaker Tom Peters, Ninth House Network produced Capturing Brand You to help employees increase their value in the New Economy. This program takes workers through a step-by-step process that helps them identify their strengths and weaknesses, apply what they have learned to company projects, raise their visibility within an organization, and chart a career path to achieve their personal goals. Capturing Brand You leverages Tom Peters' expertise in an engaging, cinematic and interactive learning experience that teaches middle managers and individual employees to identify how they are perceived and build on that reputation among their key customers within the organization by producing high-quality work that will help to drive their organization's long-term success, as well as the success of their own careers. Capturing Brand You teaches the importance of: -- Creating a personal brand within an organization and how a brand promise translates to their reputation; -- Defining their personal customers, including managers and peers; -- Identifying past projects that were motivating, and defining the competencies the employee brought to each project; -- Identifying employees' desired future reputations; -- Developing a detailed plan to achieve the desired goal. Capturing Brand You also helps organizations to develop and motivate employees by promoting an environment that supports continuous professional development. By making available career enhancing programs, companies can strengthen and build a positive corporate culture that attracts and retains talented employees. Additionally, by offering a work environment that best leverages employees' strengths, companies improve the work delivered to internal and external customers and maximize the value of each individual's contribution to the organization. InfoWorld June 19, 2000 Trainersoft builds biz learning apps fast SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEES require continuous career development and growth opportunities. Professionals often cite the chance to learn and tackle new challenges as a key factor to their job satisfaction. By deploying in-house training software, companies can set up a customized training program that is convenient and cost-effective and helps to retain those valuable employees. Companies appear to be taking notice of the advantages of electroniclearning, or e-learning, software. According to a recent report from research company IDC, the corporate e-learning market will rise from $550 million in 1998 to $11.4 billion by 2003. Trainersoft.com, a provider of e-mail, CD-ROM, and LAN-based e-learning software solutions, recently extended its reach to the Web with the release of Trainersoft Professional Edition 6.0. This version supports the ability to create training documents in HTML and offers new features such as wizards, online performance tracking, access management, and reporting functions. Trainersoft 6.0 allows companies to create and deploy customized online e-learning courses at a very low cost. Implementing the tool is a convenient and cost-effective alternative to hiring a professional training consultant. Its closest competitor, Macromedia's Authorware, costs $1,200 more than Trainersoft 6.0 for roughly the same functionality. Version 6.0 includes the tools you need to create compelling online training courses, to distribute courses to employees regardless of location, and to track employees' individual performances. Courses can be accessed via the Web or any of Trainersoft's legacy formats. Most importantly, anyone with basic computer skills and fundamental network knowledge can easily administer each of the seemingly sophisticated tasks. This allows human resources departments to create courses as needed, without having to outsource costly programming operations. In short, I found the Trainersoft software easy to use, comprehensive, and well-designed. Despite some rather strange behaviors, I deemed it quite deserving of its Very Good score. The most notable improvements in Version 6.0 stem from Trainersoft's newly acquired Web acumen. The courses can be accessed using Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer, Versions 4.0 or later. Throughout the program, features designed for the Web are abundant. For example, press the F5 key to convert your training course to multiple HTML pages. You can create rollovers, drop in streaming media, or even incorporate a Web browser in your course with only a few simple mouse operations. Likewise, wizards make many sophisticated tasks easy. For example, a wizard guided me through creating of an executable of my course for distribution via a Web page, a network, or as an e-mail attachment, allowing me to distribute the course to virtually anyone, regardless of connection method or platform. The only difficulty I experienced with Trainersoft came early in my testing. After first installing the application on an 800MHz IBM PC running Windows 98, I was unable to perform any of its advanced features. The problems mysteriously disappeared when I reinstalled it on another system, a 550MHz IBM PC with 512MB of RAM running Windows 2000 Server. From there, things went more smoothly. To test the software, I assumed the role of a corporate manager charged with the duty of creating a training exam. I began by typing 10 questions into a Word document, inserting page breaks, and saving it as an RTF file, as required by Trainersoft 6.0. Trainersoft then created a slide-presentation-style course based on my Word document, consisting of one slide for each of my 10 questions. You can choose from fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, ordered choice, and true-false for your test format. I selected multiple choice, and before I could take my finger off the mouse, four answer buttons appeared. By right-clicking, I could reveal the configuration menu in which all of the logic is stored. There, I was able to add or delete answers, provide scores for each answer, and document the correct and incorrect answers. Advanced features include providing feedback text or audio for users as well as the ability to diminish an answer's point value when users miss on the first (or second) try. I found text editing to be easy, but not as intuitive as with a typical word processor. All of the usual functions were there, just not in the places I expected them. For example, although the Cut, Copy, and Paste buttons were standard, formatting buttons including Font Style, Paragraph Style, and Font Dialog took some getting used to. The next step was to tell Trainersoft which part of the course was a test -- in my case, all but the opening page. The Configure Tests option let me enable or disable test previews, reorder questions, restrict the test to a defined set of users, and present a certificate of completion. I was also able to decide the minimum passing score for my test. The final stage of the training program involved tracking controls, which is perhaps the most important set of features to a company. Scores can be made automatically available to the course administrator in one of three different ways: copied to a directory, e-mailed, or sent to an FTP server. Administrators can then flow this information into a spreadsheet or any ODBC-compliant database that can crunch numbers in order to create comprehensive reports that show the results of your training. The reports can be saved either as executable files or as HTML. Distribution of the reports can be handled via FTP, e-mail, CD-ROM, or the network file server. A Trainersoft wizard makes the distribution process easy by including fields that retain passwords, SMTP server names, and network paths, where applicable. In all, I was very impressed with Trainersoft Professional Edition 6.0. In particular, this solution earns its value by disguising advanced programming functions in a non-technical user interface, enabling any employee to write training software with no help from IT or third-party consultants. For companies that currently outsource creation of employee training applications, moving to Trainersoft 6.0 could reduce the training budget considerably. For those that currently do not utilize online learning, it can easily help improve employee skill level and job satisfaction. PR Newswire July 10, 2000 Global Knowledge Releases Self-Paced e-Learning On Essentials of Telecommunications Global Knowledge Network, Inc. has created a new series of self-paced e-learning titles on Essentials of Telecommunications (ET). A five-volume series, ET is designed to help teach students about telecommunication systems for voice and data, including systems structures, component functions, and services. The first of the series, ET Volume 1 -- Voice Transmission, helps students to master the basics of voice communications and make knowledge-based, cost-effective decisions to address telecommunication needs. ET Volume 2 -- Data Transmission details the structure, functions, and service options for telecommunications systems that handle data transmission. ET Volume 3 -- Voice-Over IP provides real- world options for integrating voice and data communication needs. Students will explore and analyze cost vs. call-quality issues and study the key standards and technologies that make voice-over IP a reality. ET Volume 4 -- Digital Subscriber defines Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) and describes how to implement sound DSL solutions for telecommuting, branch office, campus, or intra-building networking needs. Students will discover the power of DSL to fuel applications like video-on-demand, voice-over IP, and virtual private network implementations. ET Volume 5 -- Wireless reviews the technologies available in today's mobile communications market and how to use them to meet current and future needs for wireless voice and data networks. For more information about Essentials of Telecommunications self-paced e-Learning over the web, visit http://www.mindfire.com/wire . Business Wire June 27, 2000 Cognitive Arts and Harvard Business School Publishing Partner To Develop First Web-based Pre- matriculation Courses For Harvard Business School Students Cognitive Arts, the leading designer and developer of e-learning solutions for the education and corporate training markets, and Harvard Business School Publishing (HBSP), today announced that they have completed the development of a Web-delivered, pre-matriculation course in financial accounting. In order to ensure a baseline of knowledge for all entering MBA students, Harvard Business School decided to offer the students a superior online experience to learn financial accounting foundations before beginning the academic program. A second course in introductory finance will be completed this month. In 1998, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), approximately 770,000 higher education students enrolled in online courses; this is expected to increase to 2.2 million in 2002. And the use of Web- based corporate learning is increasing at an estimated 80% per year. Business Wire June 27, 2000, Tuesday New Horizons Identified as World's Revenue Growth Leader for IT Training New Horizons Computer Learning Centers (Nasdaq: NEWH) has been ranked by International Data Corp. (IDC) as the world leader in revenue growth of training companies with more than $200 million in annual sales. New Horizons' growth rate in 1999 was 21.8 percent, which was the highest of any IT training provider listed among IDC's top 10 companies. With more than $435 million in revenues in 1999, an increase of $78 million over 1998 revenues, New Horizons was the only company listed with revenues more than $200 million and a growth rate of more than 20 percent in 1999. In addition to being the world leader for revenue growth, New Horizons was identified by IDC as the third largest IT training company in the world, up from the position of fourth largest in 1998 when its revenues were $357 million. Partnerships Business Wire July 11, 2000 EDS and DigitalThink Form Global Strategic Alliance for E-Learning EDS and DigitalThink, Inc. today announced a global strategic alliance that will allow corporations and governments to deliver training solutions to their knowledge workers in a quick and cost effective way, using the Internet and any standard Web browser. The comprehensive relationship includes a commitment by EDS to deliver$100 million in revenue to DigitalThink, while at the same time increasing the sales opportunity for EDS'consulting and integration services. In a separate agreement, EDS has agreed to purchase $50 million of DigitalThink e-learning solutions in the next five years for deployment to EDS employees worldwide. The U.S. corporate market for e-learning is currently $2.2. billion and will exceed $11 billion by 2003, according to IDC estimates. "The e-learning market has a very promising future, particularly in the services component, and will show dramatic growth over the next five years," said Ellen Julian, IDC analyst and noted e-learning expert. Under the terms of the agreement, EDS will earn warrants as it delivers new third-party customer e- learning contracts and revenues to DigitalThink, both in the U.S. and internationally. The full warrant for 4.5 percent of DigitalThink's outstanding stock, exercisable at$29 per share, will be earned as EDS delivers customers totaling $100 million in worldwide revenue during the five-year period. Business Wire June 19, 2000 click2learn.com Partners with KnowHow to Distribute Leading Sales Training Courses click2learn.com, inc. and KnowHow Inc., the market leader in online sales training, announced a partnership to distribute online sales training courses through click2learn.com's e-Learning network. Organizations using an e-Learning site through click2learn.com can now purchase KnowHow's high- impact sales training courses which are designed to improve sales performance and help businesses compete in the global marketplace. "By 2005, online sales training is expected to account for $2 billion of the total $12 billion corporate, e- learning market," said Kevin Oakes, President & CEO of click2learn.com, inc. "KnowHow's expertise in building and maintaining top-notch sales skills, combined with their partnerships with the most recognized names in the sales training industry, has enabled them to create leading web-delivered sales training content. KnowHow's content is a strong addition to our growing e-Learning network." KnowHow's courses apply a proprietary, fast-track learning methodology called HyperLearning(TM). This sophisticated performance-based tactic is proven to substantially increase a learner's information retention, content knowledge and problem solving skills. HyperLearning(TM) has been used at some of the top companies in the world, including Hewlett-Packard, Warner-Lambert, Deluxe and IBM. This challenge- based methodology dramatically reduces training time and costs, while substantially increasing the amount of information that can be recalled and applied on-the-job. Learners must earn a passing score on each course they encounter. click2learn.com's eLearning Network's sales offering includes topics such as: qualifying customers, pre- call planning, overcoming objections and negotiation. Additional higher-level topics will include psychology of selling and sales management. Course titles include Overcoming Price Resistance, Mastering the Art of Qualifying Buyers, The Power of Pre-call Planning and Coaching for Sales Success. Special course packages are appropriate for new hires, power selling, sales management and others. Courses are available at www.click2learn.com. Universal News Services June 16, 2000 VERCOMNET SELECTS LUVIT AS EXCLUSIVE E-LEARNING PARTNER VercomNet BV, the Netherlands based business community organiser and the Swedish software company LUVIT AB (publ) have signed a strategic alliance agreement, which aims to provide VercomNet's members with highly qualitative online education material. The online courses will be provided through the use of LUVIT e-learning software, and will be developed by the 7,000 experts in 80 countries that are associated to VercomNet's growing number of global business communities. The agreement holds an initial value of 1,000,000 USD. Business Wire June 22, 2000 Siebel Systems Selects DigitalThink to Build and Provide E-Learning Solutions DigitalThink, Inc. announced an agreement whereby DigitalThink will become an e-learning Content Partner for Siebel Systems, Inc. According to the agreement, DigitalThink and Siebel Systems will enter a partnership to develop three new e-learning courses that will be released later this year for Siebel Systems customers, partners and employees. All courses will be sold exclusively by the Siebel sales force and channel partners, and will be fully integrated into the Siebel University portal. The contract represents 58 hours of interactive, tutor supported e-learning courseware and will include the following topics: Enterprise Selling Process(TM) sales methodologies and positioning Siebel eBusiness 2000 products. PR Newswire June 27, 2000 Med On Web Enhances Its Service Offering By Creating An E-Learning Center For Physicians Through Partnership With HealthStream Med On Web, the first and leading Electronic Administrative Services Organization (EASO) announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with HealthStream, the leading e- learning provider for healthcare organizations and professionals, to create an e-learning center for Med On Web's physician members. Physicians using Med On Web's comprehensive, integrated administrative and financial services now will be able to enroll in the e-learning center and receive continuing medical education (CME) courses and credits through a co-branded site. Med On Web (www.medonweb.com) provides a total outsourcing solution to the administrative and financial needs of medical practices utilizing innovative technologies. The service offering covers the complete cycle from transcription of patient notes to claims payment within 72 hours. In addition to its core service offering, Med On Web offers complimentary services and resources including online medical supplies, prescription management services and career resources. HealthStream's (www.healthstream.com) proprietary technology platform currently houses one of the largest online continuing medical education libraries for medical professionals. There are over 1,200 hours of CME available for Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Pediatric physicians, including material from nationally recognized health institutions such as The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Duke University Medical Center, Scripps Clinic, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. PR Newswire June 21, 2000 Eduprise Teams With WBT to Provide Strategic e-learning Services Eduprise, the leading provider of e-Learning services for online education, and WBT, the leading provider of B2B e-Learning management solutions, announced that Eduprise will provide and resell value- added services to the WBT product solution. The partnership will bring Eduprise's comprehensive e- Learning services and WBT's leading e-Learning infrastructure software, TopClass(TM), to corporate and higher education customers. Under the terms of the agreement, Eduprise will develop and provide application hosting and custom service packages for WBT's products. Eduprise will provide all of the services required for corporations to adopt e-Learning across the extended enterprise. These include organizational assessment, strategy development, learning management system hosting, administration, 24x7 help desk support, instructor development, course conversion and program evaluation services. Eduprise will be reselling the TopClass software and also offering it on an ASP basis. Business Wire June 20, 2000 SmartForce and TurboLinux Team Up to Provide e-Learning Seminars on Linux Solutions SmartForce and TurboLinux, Inc., a leader in Linux software clustering, announced that they will collaborate on the delivery of Linux seminars. The live, interactive SmartSeminars will feature expert speakers from TurboLinux and compelling Linux training content. SmartForce's collaborative elements such as streaming media, slide presentations, live Q&A sessions, and message boards will provide a supportive and engaging learning experience. Audience members can submit questions, respond to polls and engage in chats with TurboLinux's expert Linux presenter and other attendees. The purpose of the Linux seminar series is to increase the awareness and understanding of open-source technology while at the same time creating a dynamic, well-informed learning community. As the world's largest e-Learning company, SmartForce is again meeting the demand for effective, integrated and collaborative solutions with its SmartSeminars. PR Newswire July 12, 2000 Pensare Partners With e-Business Expert to Produce New Applied e-Learning Modules Pensare, Inc., a provider of e-Learning solutions, announced that Jeff Sampler, Ph.D., a leading authority on new business models for the digital age, has partnered with the Company to develop proprietary tools and content for new applied e-Learning modules. The new e-Learning tools and content will be added to Pensare's online eCommerce program and will cover e-Business fundamentals and strategy as well as the "digital readiness" of corporations. Sampler is a well-known consultant on eCommerce strategy to global companies such as PWC-Europe, Nokia and Pearson. He is also an associate professor of information management and strategy at the London Business School and a visiting faculty member at the Sloan School at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a principal researcher for the Center for Research in Information Management and I:Lab at London Business School, he conducts studies on the Internet as a driving force in the transformation of many industries, as well as how the development of small start-up firms are altering the pace of innovation. He co- authored a Fortune magazine cover story in December 1998 ("The E-Corporation."). Sampler earned his B.S. degree at Texas A&M, his MBA at SMU, and his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. Business Wire July 11, 2000 E-Learning Leaders Offer Next Generation Training Solution Based On Cisco Technology TMG Corporation, WBT and Centra announced a partnership to provide customers with a "total training solution" including asynchronous and synchronous e-learning platforms and rich media/custom courseware based on Cisco networking technology. By bringing together the leading providers of e-learning courseware and delivery technology in one turnkey solution, customers will now be able to implement scalable Web- based learning environments that include high bandwidth media like TV-quality video delivered directly to employee, partner and customer desktops. The solution includes WBT's TopClass(TM) learning management system, Centra Symposium(TM), Cisco's content networking technology and TMG Corporation's custom courseware. TopClass provides the software infrastructure to manage this solution, enabling the creation and delivery of knowledge in a scalable and trackable environment. Centra Symposium augments traditional classroom training by providing a powerful, easy-to-use, and reliable live virtual classroom facility. TMG's courseware, which utilizes MPEG, RealMedia, QuickTime, WMA or Shockwave files, will be delivered using Cisco technology, which enables enterprises to overcome bandwidth issues and manage delivery of media to one, hundreds or thousands of desktop learners. Business Wire July 12, 2000 WebCT.com Announces Four New Technology Alliances WebCT announced alliances with four major collaborative tools providers. Launched in January, WebCT.com is the first higher education destination site that offers both teaching and learning resources in discipline-specific communities across course and institutional boundaries. HorizonLive.com, SRI International, TeamWave.com and Virtual Ink Corporation, are all leaders in the field of collaborative tools, using breakthrough technology to improve online interaction and communication. By incorporating the collaboration tools offered by these providers, WebCT will extend the resources of the e-Learning Hub. Through voice and video HorizonLive.com supplies users with compelling alternatives to traditional classroom training. HorizonLive.com connects geographically dispersed individuals via the Internet allowing real-time and recorded presentations in an interactive, seminar-like atmosphere. Bob Clyatt, CEO of HorizonLive states, "By integrating the HorizonLive systems with WebCT, faculty are able to teach and collaborate in a meaningful distance learning environment, combining the intuitive and pedagogically sound HorizonLive virtual classroom with WebCT's award-winning Course Management System. Together these systems enhance student-teacher communication, expand and complement classroom instruction online, increase accessibility to teaching assistants and help attract and retain motivated systems." SRI's TAPPED IN team shares WebCT's dedication to helping educators understand and use emerging Internet technology. TAPPED IN is a Web-based virtual community environment that supports synchronous and asynchronous communication, Web page and text document sharing, whiteboards, transcript capture and other capabilities that facilitate collaboration and information sharing. The environment is designed around the familiar metaphor of a conference center with private rooms for individual groups and open areas for public gatherings and events. TAPPED IN and WebCT Your Way together offer a suite of learning environments where instructors and students of the teaching profession can meet and learn from one another at any time. Virtual Ink's mimio(TM), a new class of Internet appliance, instantly turns an everyday whiteboard into a digital tool that captures handwritten, color drawings and text as real-time data. mimio makes it easy for WebCT users to augment their online classes with notes from their traditional whiteboards. StuffInCommon from TeamWave.com is designed to support online communities and to help them grow and thrive. StuffInCommon tools facilitate virtual office hours and student room solutions, and can be linked to Virtual Ink's white board with seamless integration. The collaborative tools such as video broadcasting and virtual whiteboards provided by these companies will enhance WebCT.com's Community forum discussions and presentations and provide more ways for instructors to deliver the classroom experience over the Internet. PR Newswire June 26, 2000 KnowledgeNet and Mentor Technologies Join Forces To Enhance Training Options for Network Engineers Mentor Technologies Group, Inc. and KnowledgeNet announced a joint agreement to provide Information Technology (IT) professionals with an enhanced e-learning suite that includes access to self- paced, online training labs for Cisco networking technology. Mentor Technologies is the creator of the revolutionary vLab(R) technology, the first web-based learning system providing IT professionals with 24x7 access to real networking hardware and software. KnowledgeNet is a pioneer in next generation e-learning solutions in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. The combination of live, Internet-based training classes and hands-on labs to live networking devices represents a powerful learning model for IT professionals. The labs will be available as an enhancement to the KnowledgeNet LIVE(SM) Cisco ICND course offering beginning July 2000. vLab is the only Cisco-authorized remote lab technology that gives network engineers hands-on access to real Cisco equipment over the Internet. Based on research which shows that students learn best by doing, vLab takes learning beyond text book theory into the real world of network problem-solving. The labs place students into a real, live network dedicated exclusively to IT skills enhancement without the risk of crashing a corporate network. Business Wire June 27, 2000 bigchalk.com and Blackboard Partner to Provide Professional Development to the K-12 Community bigchalk.com (www.bigchalk.com), a K-12 online learning destination, and Blackboard Inc. (www.blackboard.com), an Internet infrastructure company for e-Learning, announced that they have formed a partnership in which Blackboard's Blackboard 5 e-Learning software platform will power professional development services for the bigchalk.com Community. As a result of this partnership, educators will be able to use Blackboard's technologies to develop both curriculum products for their students and for their own professional development. Teachers today are in constant need of targeted coursework in a variety of subject areas. It is bigchalk.com's objective to fill the broad spectrum of information and learning needs, for teachers and the K- 12 community at large, by enabling teachers to easily access the best professional development tools. The alliance with Blackboard reflects the company's strategy of partnering with premiere information and service providers and will enhance bigchalk's growing suite of professional development tools. Blackboard's platform will now be available to bigchalk's core customer base of 40,000 schools nationwide. Business Wire June 26, 2000 WebCT And Houghton Mifflin Announce Strategic Alliance WebCT and Houghton Mifflin, a publisher of instructional materials for the college market, announced the formation of a strategic alliance to deliver Houghton Mifflin college content via WebCT's course management software. The alliance will strengthen each company's position in the higher education online learning marketplace by combining Houghton Mifflin's rich content with WebCT's powerful Web-based platform. This year, Houghton Mifflin's College Division will create more than thirty WebCT e-Learning Resource Packs designed to complement and supplement the division's market-leading textbooks. The e- Learning Resource Packs will contain materials from both textbooks and supplemental materials and be delivered through WebCT's leading Web-based learning software platform to the higher education marketplace. WebCT's course management software consists of more than thirty tools designed to increase learning using the World Wide Web. These tools allow students and faculty the benefits of testing, self-quizzing, group presentations, study sessions, and instructor's comments all on the Web. Business Wire June 19, 2000 GeneEd and Cambridge Healthtech Institute announce a worldwide distribution partnership to provide Advanced e-Learning solutions to the Life Science community GeneEd, Inc., a rapidly growing company specializing in on-line e-Learning for the life science industry, announced a major agreement granting Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI) an authorized worldwide distributorship for GeneEd's web-based e-Learning courseware. GeneEd's CEO, Sunil Maulik, said, "The timing for the introduction of this Bioinformatics course is perfect. Many people have expressed interest in an on-line course that would provide detailed education for bioinformatics specialists. We see such a course as filling a real need for continuing education, and as a complementary experience to CHI conferences even when a conference is not scheduled. Through this strategic relationship with CHI, GeneEd will provide its products and services to address this unmet need. GeneEd's web-based courseware will enable CHI to extend its reach to a broader audience beyond that currently participating in its conferences." Under terms of the agreement, GeneEd will provide its unique, patented courseware for CHI to offer the life sciences market via the CHI web site (www.healthtech.com). CHI will also distribute GeneEd courses through conference promotions and allow GeneEd access to its distinguished faculty of speakers. GeneEd's on-line courseware will be tied to themes presented at CHI's live conferences. The Bioinformatics e-Learning course introduced this week represents the first in a series of professional courses that GeneEd and CHI expect to develop and distribute. According to Phillips Kuhl, President of Cambridge Healthtech,"bioinformatics is experiencing an incredible surge of growth, as more and more organizations struggle to convert huge amounts of new genomic data into knowledge. There are simply not enough well-trained bioinformatics experts to keep up with demand, and this situation will only get worse as many of the leading academicians in the field have been lured into commercial ventures. As a result, the need for on-line training that can enhance the capabilities of new hires or others with limited experience in this segment is crucial for avoiding a huge bottleneck. I see this course, and the overall arrangement between CHI and GeneEd as both a valuable service to the industry and a major commercial opportunity." Business Wire June 28, 2000 DoctorSurf.com Joins Forces With HealthStream to Offer Continuing Medical Education Via Website DoctorSurf.com, the complete Internet medical resource for physicians, today announced it has formed a strategic partnership with HealthStream, Inc. to provide a continuing medical education (CME) program for member physicians at www.DoctorSurf.com. This partnership allows physicians to log on to the DoctorSurf.com CME Center to take continuing medical education courses and earn course credits. HealthStream's proprietary technology platform houses one of the largest online continuing medical education libraries for medical professionals. Currently, there are more than 1,100 hours of continuing medical education available for family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine and pediatric physicians. PR Newswire June 28, 2000 University of Washington Selects Lguide.com as Portal for all E-learning Courses The University of Washington announced today that it has chosen Lguide.com as its first Internet portal partner for distance learning, ensuring that interested adults and students will have access to world-class courses and professors regardless of their geographical location. Lguide.com, the leading Internet provider of reviews and information about e-learning, will provide a new University Courses section which will include a detailed catalog of courses offered by the nation's top universities. Lguide.com staff will work closely with leading universities to create a common, searchable catalog. "This is a natural extension of Lguide.com's commitment to helping our customers find the best e- learning experiences available," said Chris Hedrick, Lguide.com President and CEO. "We are honored to be associated with one of the finest universities in the world. We share a common goal of opening opportunities for lifelong learning to everyone -- anywhere, anytime." Lguide.com's University Courses section will feature detailed course descriptions, course prerequisites and syllabi, information about required materials such as textbooks, professional and biographical information about course instructors, and student evaluations. PR Newswire June 28, 2000 SCT and WebCT Finalize Exclusive Arrangement to Extend Market Leadership in E-Learning to the Higher Education Market SCT, a provider of e-commerce solutions for the enterprise, announced that it has entered into an arrangement to exclusively market the WebCT(TM) e-learning tools and e-learning hub to SCT's client base in higher education for a period of three years. It is anticipated that existing SCT Learning Suite customers will migrate to the WebCT learning platform. SCT sold its learning creation tools to WebCT as part of the agreement. SCT invested $10 million in WebCT. For the tools, exclusivity, and cash investment, SCT received an equity stake in WebCT of less than 10%. In addition to this equity interest, SCT could earn additional equity in WebCT through performance-based compensation. In May, SCT, WebCT and Campus Pipeline, Inc.(TM), which provides an integrated Web platform for higher education, revealed that they will work together to provide, maintain and support the first unified campus community online. Through this alliance, the three companies expect to merge online learning with on-campus learning, creating a true end-to-end system that is personalized to deliver a full range of administrative services, campus intranet offerings, distance learning resources, community tools and Internet content from a single login. PR Newswire July 10, 2000 SkillSoft and Progressive Solutions Corporation in Partner Agreement To Provide Soft Skills Training Programs SkillSoft Corp. (Nasdaq: SKIL), a provider of enterprise-wide soft skills e-Learning solutions on the Web, announced a channel partnership with Progressive Solutions Corporation, Needham, MA. Under the one-year agreement, Progressive Solutions will integrate SkillSoft's on-line training courses to provide e- Learning solutions to state training organizations and other Fortune 500 customers. Progressive Solutions, a full-service consulting organization, focuses on building innovative and technical knowledge-based solutions. In addition to its traditional hard-skills Information Technology training courses, Progressive Solutions can now offer additional value-added services, based on SkillSoft Web-based soft ("people-to-people") skills training. The partnership with SkillSoft allows Progressive Solutions to leverage existing relationships with clients to provide more full-service solutions to clientele state- and nationwide. In one continuing program in the coming year, SkillSoft courses will be delivered by Progressive Solutions to licensed users in the Massachusetts Dept. of Employment and Training in curricular areas such as leadership, coaching, customer service, and management. PR Newswire July 11, 2000 Learnframe(TM) and HorizonLive(TM) Make Live Training More Effective! Learnframe and HorizonLive.com, Inc., a provider of live and on-demand interactive group learning, announced a partnership that enables corporations that use Learnframe's Pinnacle Learning Manager(TM) (PLM) to put their e-learning and training sessions online and live by utilizing HorizonLive software. The numerous clients that use Learnframe's PLM to provide the infrastructure for corporate training can now educate their employees live and online in a fully interactive environment. HorizonLive 2.0 enables companies to cast an online training session to staff throughout the country, regardless of location. Learnframe offers a robust learning management system, a web-based delivery system, and a vast library of learning materials in all formats. Learnframe's technology, including the PLM, has the unequalled ability to automatically integrate with other e-Learning applications and software programs, as well as courseware, regardless of source. Now, thanks to this partnership of HorizonLive and the PLM all initiatives can be live and online. InfoWorld Daily News July 11, 2000 EDS and DigitalThink partner on online learning EDS and DigitalThink announced that the two companies have formed a partnership to deliver e-learning courses online to customers. Plano, Texas-based EDS, which provides e-business and IT services to companies worldwide, will commit $100 million in revenue to DigitalThink. EDS also has agreed to purchase $50 million of DigitalThink's e-learning applications for use by its own employees. DigitalThink, based in San Francisco, hosts online courses that teach a variety of skills, from sales tutorials to Java classes. DigitalThink previously has provided Web-hosted courses for Charles Schwab and Circuit City. "The alliance with EDS adds credibility not only to DigitalThink, but to the entire e-learning industry," said DigitalThink President and CEO Peter Goettner. "This shows that the Internet can be used for more than selling goods online. Companies can save money using e-learning solutions because employee training is presently not as efficient as it can be," Goettner said. According to estimates from IDC, in Framingham, Mass., the U.S. corporate market for e-learning is currently $2.2 billion and will exceed $11 billion by 2003. Business Wire June 19, 2000 eMind.com and iPipeline.com Create New Online Learning Destination for Insurance Agents eMind.com LLC, a business-to-business e-learning provider, today announced a deal with iPipeline.com to build an online education arm to iPipeline's insurance portal. Under the terms of the deal, eMind.com will be the exclusive provider of online continuing education services to the 100,000 insurance agents who tap into iPipeline.com for insurance forms and policy writing assistance. For the insurance agent, this means access to a comprehensive roster of accredited and customized course programs, tracking and grading services and proctoring systems that allow professionals to complete their CE requirements over the Internet. "With the addition of eMind.com's new e-learning site, our agents now have access to everything they need in one place - from e-learning solutions to licensing forms," said Bill Atlee, CEO of iPipeline.com. "Most importantly, our insurance agents will have access to top of the line courses and current information that will keep them on the cutting edge." eMind.com's insurance library offers more than 50 accredited courses in both life/health and property/casualty disciplines. The courses are approved for credit in 40 of the 45 states that permit distance learning. Due to eMind.com's unique online proctoring capabilities, the CE courses satisfy the most stringent state requirements for exam administration. Financial Times London Edition; Financial Times July 10, 2000 INSIDE TRACK 260 BUSINESS EDUCATION: Tuck School in venture with e-learning specialist NEWS FROM CAMPUS California-based University Access, the e-learning specialist, has joined with the Tuck School at Dartmouth College to deliver the school's Bridge programme online, writes Della Bradshaw. Tuck's Bridge programme is a 30-day summer programme for new non-business graduates who want to move into management. One of the biggest supporters of the programme, which is run at Tuck and at Templeton College, Oxford has been management consultants McKinsey. The online programme will be offered throughout the year, beginning in November. It will be open to company-sponsored applicants and other suitably qualified students. The deal gives University Access a further top-tier business school partner in its efforts to become a dominant player in the e-learning market for business education. London Business School, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Marshall School at the University of Southern California are already partners. University Access's major competition is UNext, based in Chicago, which has Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, Carnegie-Mellon and the London School of Economics as partners. University Access: www.universityaccess.com Business Wire July 6, 2000 DigiTerra, WebCT Join Forces to Create Enterprise-Wide Internet Solution for Higher Education Institutions DigiTerra, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIBER, Inc. (NYSE:CBR), and WebCT, a leader in the e- learning market, are teaming up to provide a robust offering to higher education institutions seeking to provide academic instruction over the web and web-enhanced instruction in traditional courses. WebCT and DigiTerra have dedicated higher education business units and strive to provide easily available and affordable, quality solutions to the market. The alliance will deliver enterprise-wide solutions focused on the implementation of WebCT's product and integration of DigiTerra's back-end solutions, including PeopleSoft, SAP, Oracle and Agresso, providing the methodology for higher education institutions to enhance distance learning services. DigiTerra, a leading enterprise applications implementor and integrator providing end-to-end e-business solutions for the middle market, complements WebCT's products with its leading-edge experience as a provider of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) consulting services to higher education customers. Acquisitions Business Wire July 6, 2000 DigitalThink Announces Acquisition of Arista Knowledge Systems DigitalThink, Inc. announced the acquisition of Arista Knowledge Systems. Privately held Arista Knowledge Systems, based in Alameda, California, has been dedicated to the development of a next- generation learning management system (LMS). Arista's flagship LMS will be fully integrated into DigitalThink's e-learning architecture to provide customers with a scalable, completely Web-based solution for the management of e-learning and knowledge distribution throughout an enterprise. Like DigitalThink, Arista was founded as an Internet company dedicated to an outsourced, ASP model of business services delivery. "Arista Knowledge Systems has been developing an Internet-based LMS that leap-frogs over existing models of learning management today," said Pete Goettner, president and CEO of DigitalThink, who will lead the combined companies. "DigitalThink has been committed from day one to developing and offering the most complete end-to-end e-learning solution available, and our acquisition of Arista significantly advances the learning management capabilities we can offer to our customers." DigitalThink has an e-learning platform that powers the development and delivery of award-winning courseware designed to meet the key business objectives of Fortune 1000 companies. With the integration of the DigitalThink and Arista platforms, DigitalThink customers will be able to: -- Control the planning and execution of all learning initiatives in large and complex organizations. -- Centrally manage all third party online learning and knowledge content. -- Increase executive visibility into the skill gaps that may impact business performance, and the actions being undertaken to build knowledge and gain measurable results. As part of the acquisition, DigitalThink adds Arista's highly skilled team, which brings valuable engineering, marketing and sales capabilities, LMS/e-learning domain expertise, and visionary insight to DigitalThink's growing employee base of 300 people worldwide. DigitalThink will account for this transaction using purchase accounting. Based on Wednesday's closing price, this transaction represents a purchase price of approximately $20 million. Business Wire July 5, 2000 HealthStream to Acquire Education Design, Inc. HealthStream, Inc., a provider of e-learning solutions to healthcare organizations and professionals, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Education Design, Inc. (EDI). Based in Denver, EDI is a services provider for live educational events that are supported by the medical device industry. This acquisition accelerates HealthStream's penetration into the medical device industry and provides opportunities for HealthStream to Web-enable EDI's service lines. EDI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). The acquisition is expected to be accounted for as an asset purchase. The transaction values EDI at $4 million, with $3 million paid in cash and the remaining consideration paid in shares of HealthStream stock. In 1999, EDI generated approximately $3 million in revenues. Before the effects of depreciation and amortization, HealthStream expects that the acquisition will be non-dilutive to operating results for 2000 and accretive in 2001. For more than 18 years, EDI has provided educational services to medical device companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Stryker, Medtronic, 3M, Allergan, and Smith and Nephew. EDI's services include developing educational programs, registering healthcare professionals for live events, issuing and tracking continuing education (CE) credits and training medical device sales representatives. In 1999, EDI provided services for 230 live educational programs, registered more than 82,500 healthcare professionals, issued more than 325,000 CE credits and trained 3,000 sales representatives. All employees of EDI will join HealthStream, remaining in EDI's Denver location. Fred Perner, president of EDI, will assume the role of director of operations and market development, with responsibility for sales, marketing and operations for the medical device industry segment. Mr. Perner's extensive background working in the medical industry includes 12 years as vice president of marketing and business development within the Bristol-Myers Squibb organization. PR Newswire July 6, 2000 Forum and FT Knowledge Combine to Create Leading Corporate Training and E-Learning Company FT Knowledge, Pearson plc's business education and management development operation, today announced that it will acquire The Forum Corporation, one of America's top corporate training companies, for $90 million. The merger of FT Knowledge and Forum will create one of the world's leading corporate training and e-Learning companies, delivering significant revenue synergies and a greatly enhanced service for customers. The combined business will command greater international reach and be able to deliver a much more comprehensive range of online and offline learning and training programs to both individuals and corporations. It will offer a full range of accredited courses and qualifications (in partnership with a number of top business schools and professional bodies) across a wider range of business related subjects and be at the forefront of the rapidly growing e-Learning market. Commenting on the merger, Pippa Wicks, CEO of FT Knowledge, said: "In the knowledge economy, the drive to learn new skills is one of the key factors that determines the success of individuals and companies. This increasing demand for highly skilled workers makes it a great time to be in corporate training and management development. Forum is a very successful training organization and it makes a superb fit with FT Knowledge. Together, we have the scale, reach, content and technology to create one of the very best corporate training and e-Learning companies." John Humphrey, chairman and CEO of Forum, added: "The brands, products and services and capabilities of the combined organizations, together with the technology and content resources of Pearson, means that we can offer our clients unbeatable solutions. We at Forum are absolutely delighted to be working together with FT Knowledge to capture the exciting opportunities of the rapidly developing learning market." Forum creates and implements learning strategies and corporate training programs to over 130 of the Fortune 500 companies in leadership, management, sales, customer service and brand development. A growing number of US corporations are looking to "outsource" the management of all their training needs and Forum is the leading company in this market. It delivers many of its programs online and is developing insightforum, a web-enabled training program that enables staff managing customer relations to learn as an integral part of their day-to-day work. In the year ended April 30, 2000, Forum sales were approximately $74 million. FT Knowledge specializes in business, management development and finance programs for individuals and corporations. It is working with leading academic institutions to deliver a range of online executive management courses and business and finance qualifications. This year, the combined business is expected to have annual pro forma sales of over $110 million. The merger of Forum and FT Knowledge will create a combined business that will be in a strong position to capitalize on the growing demand, from both corporations and individuals, for learning solutions and training programs in executive development, sales, customer service, management, leadership and finance. In the US alone, IDC projects that the size of the corporate e- Learning market will increase from $1 billion in 1999 to over $11 billion in 2003. The major benefits of the merger are: -- Forum's strong US-based business, combined with FT Knowledge's market leadership in Europe, and the strong presence both companies have in Asia, creates a truly international business education and corporate training company. -- Forum's focus on the corporate learning market fits well with FT Knowledge's strengths in creating, marketing and supporting degree programs and accredited courses for individuals and corporations. Together with FT Knowledge's leading position in the provision of financial training to the investment and banking communities, this generates major opportunities to cross-sell products from a deeper, richer range of content to a much wider client base. -- Forum's ability to meet the needs of corporations looking to "outsource" their training needs will be strengthened by the greater product range, extensive accreditation services and international reach that FT Knowledge brings. -- Combining Forum's e-learning programs with FT Knowledge's own online presence will accelerate the development of new Internet products that serve the rapidly growing corporate and distance learning markets. -- These online products will also enrich the Business Education channel of Pearson's Learning Network, which aims to be the premier source of educational support spanning the entire career of a business professional. Professional resources, including certification programs, career and executive consultation, subscription services and a wide range of hard and digital goods will be marketed and sold through the Learning Network. Pippa Wicks will be CEO of the combined company. John Humphrey will chair the combined group's International Advisory Board and play a key role in the integration of the two businesses. The acquisition is subject to the approval of Forum shareholders and regulatory approval. Universal News Services July 10, 2000 SPC Training B.V. of The Netherlands Completes Merger GlobalLearningSystems.com (GLS.com)(TM) and SPC Training B.V.(TM) finalised a merger that creates a unique, truly global, corporate E-learning total solutions company. Industry analysts see the move as a major step in the creation of a Web-based international corporate education and training model led by GlobalLearningSystems.com initiatives. The merger represents the next step in GlobalLearningSystems.com's "Earning Through Learning"(TM) strategy to acquire already successful total solution learning companies. GLS.com is building an international corporate education company with focus on the Internet and new media, including video; CD-ROM, I-DVD, satellite, and related media performance improvement corporate education systems. Based in Amsterdam, SPC Training is a leader in information technology (IT) training. The company has 157 employees, based at various locations throughout Europe, serving 400 companies. SPC Training teaches computer technologies from the desktop to complex network systems certifications. SPC is an important member of the ETG (European Training Group) alliance. ETG is an alliance of seven information technology (IT) training and E-learning services companies. ETG has training centres throughout Europe providing multi-language programs in various formats to large global corporations. "The GlobalLearningSystems.com acquisition of SPC Training represents the creation of a new global model for doing corporate E-Learning. SPC's exceptional management team and employee base has served the European market for more than 14 years and GLS.com will leverage that expertise world-wide," stated James J. Martell, Jr., GLS.com's chairman and co-CEO. "SPC and ETG clients include Philips, Unilever, Xerox, Dutch Telecom, EDS and others. The SPC and GLS.com merger means those clients will now have access to all of GLS.com's companies that are creating innovative systems, both technical and technique-based, to develop a total solutions company culture. We are working with our clients to help employees learn how to learn in the evolving communications-decade," commented GLS.com President and co-CEO Dr. Bernard Luskin. Dr. Luskin has been instrumental in creating a truly global E-learning business model. Before joining GLS.com, he was the former world-wide head of Philips Interactive Media, with corporate headquarters in both the U.S. and the Netherlands. Dr. Luskin established multi-national alliances as an internationally recognised educator and media psychologist. In addition to the announced acquisition of SPC, GLS.com has signed additional letters of intent with an undisclosed number of leading United States companies now providing comprehensive E-learning solutions to Fortune 2000 and multi-national companies. These mergers are in the works. GLS.com recently received up to a US Dollars 35 million infusion of capital from Hampshire Equity Partners, Emigrant Capital, Residentie and ParCom Ventures to fuel the growth of GlobalLearningSystems.com as a category leader in corporate education. Universal News Services June 16, 2000 INSITE ESTABLISHED ON CONTINENT WITH ACQUISITION OF CONSULTING FIRM MTSI Sweden's biggest pure e-learning company Insite has acquired the Geneva-based consulting company MTSI, which is active in strategic implementation and training in a number of European countries. With this Insite becomes a complete and competent supplier of interactive education in the international market. The head office of MTSI is in Geneva, Switzerland, and the company employs some twenty or so people in its offices in Switzerland, Sweden, Spain and Italy. MTSI is active in the strategic implementation and education. The acquisition of MTSI has been accomplished with a new issue of shares and a smaller portion of cash. In recent months Insite AB has grown very rapidly in Sweden and the company now has offices in four different places: Gothenburg, Bollnds, Sdffle and Stockholm, the head office being in Gothenburg. Insite thus becomes one of Sweden's largest interactive education companies and the country's largest pure e- learning company. With the acquisition of MTSI, Insite gains a foothold in the international market via MTSI's network of European contacts. In addition Insite acquires a high level of strategic expertise in the implementation and training, which will be a valuable complement to Insite's previous competence in development and delivery of interactive education. PR Newswire June 26, 2000 Pensare Expands Premier Business Education Content Through Acquisition Of eMentoring.com Pensare Inc. announced the acquisition of eMentoring.com, a leading provider of modular online education. Through eMentoring.com, Pensare expands its line of world-class business education offerings to include online programs from business university professors in the fields of Global Management and Global Business Ethics. The particular programs will feature professors from leading graduate schools of business, including Kirk O. Hanson, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business for over 20 years. Hanson had contributed to eMentoring's course content, which will be transformed into new Pensare programs. The new courses will include topics on global marketing, economics and strategy; entry into global environments; and global ethics, including Internet ethics. "This merger is a great opportunity for Pensare and eMentoring to collectively bring best-of-breed courses on Global Management and Global Business Ethics to the business world," said Hanson. Company Contracts Business Wire June 28, 2000 SmartForce Lands Multi-Year e-Learning Contract With Siemens Medical Systems, Inc. SmartForce announced a major multi-year e-Learning agreement with Siemens Medical Systems, Inc. The contract, which establishes e-Learning for nearly half of Siemens Medical Systems' 4,500 U.S. employees, signifies a new relationship between the two companies, and will substantially increase Siemens' workforce training capabilities in e-Business, information technology, and business software. Initially, SmartForce will deliver the Siemens e-Learning solution via its Intranet system known as Campus. Users will have access to the MySmartForce application infrastructure, as well as to SmartMentoring, the company's online support function which features live, on-demand, 24x7 e-Learning assistance from certified teaching professionals. In a second phase slated for introduction later this year, SmartForce will directly host courseware for Siemens employees from the SmartForce Web site. Via SmartForce courseware, Siemens Medical Systems employees will gain basic and advanced training in Microsoft Office, SAP enterprise resource planning software, project management, and a variety of IT certification programs. PR Newswire June 27, 2000 Three-Year Agreement With National Nephrology Associates Represents Expansion Of HealthStream's e-Learning Model Into Dialysis Industry HealthStream, Inc. announced a definitive agreement to provide e-learning services to all National Nephrology Associates (NNA) clinics and employees. Under the terms of the agreement, NNA is subscribing to HealthStream's e-learning services for its 1,200 employees for a period of three years. NNA, a privately-held company, based in Nashville, TN, is one of the largest providers of dialysis services in the United States, with 52 dialysis clinics that it owns or manages. HealthStream's e-learning services for NNA will be implemented over the next 90 days and include online courses, automated record-keeping, reporting, and administration for its dialysis technicians. Business Wire June 29, 2000 Major New York City Hospital Chooses Learn2.com E-learning Solutions Learn2.com announced an agreement with a leading Level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital in New York City, to provide Learn2.com e-learning to all hospital employees. Under the terms of the agreement, Learn2.com will provide engaging, multimedia courseware for hospital employees through a co-branded Learn2University Web site that will be hosted by Learn2.com. Employees will access the online courses using co-branded Learn2.com Smart Cards that have been programmed for a wide variety of courses including soft skills, end user application training, programming, and general information technology training. The Learn2.com Smart Card provides a physical link to e-learning. The card, which is sized to fit in a standard wallet, provides users with the information they need to directly access Learn2.com online courseware. The Learn2.com Smart Card includes an encoded serial number and unique URL, which represents a specific Learn2.com online courseware library, customized for the company or employee, and instructions to access the courseware at work, at home, or on the road. Business Wire June 21, 2000 Learn2.com Announces Alliance With Compaq Learn2.com announced it has partnered with Compaq Computer Corporation to offer e-learning to Compaq's current and prospective consumer customers. Compaq has chosen Learn2.com multimedia online learning as part of a plan to provide customers with the information and assistance they need to get the most from their Compaq Presario Internet PCs. The multi-tiered agreement includes a custom library of multimedia content, deliverable over the Internet, that will be distributed on co-branded Learn2.com Smart Cards. Consumers can purchase Compaq Presario On-line University Library courses when they order Presario computers over the phone, on Compaq's consumer Web site and in retail stores. Compaq Presario On-line University Library includes popular titles from the Learn2.com Microsoft Office, Programming and Web Development, Soft Skills and End-user desktop libraries. In addition, Compaq plans to employ Learn2.com custom content and patented StreamMaker(TM) and LearningAgent(TM) technology for Web tours and tutorials on the Compaq Web site. PR Newswire June 29, 2000 Ford Motor Company (US) Buys into SOLSTRA for Further Three Years UK-based Futuremedia PLC (Nasdaq: FMDAY), a provider of integrated e-Learning solutions, today announced that The Ford Design Institute (FDI) of Ford Motor Company based in Dearborn, Michigan, USA, has agreed to extend its current 20,000 learner/user Solstra licence for another three years. The Futuremedia and Ford teams have worked closely over the last two years to produce a Solstra Learning Management System that positions FDI perfectly for a substantial planned increase in usage over the coming months. Futuremedia sees the order extension, agreed five months before expiry of the original, as evidence of a successful working relationship. The extension of the licence now allows Ford Motor Company training management to ramp up the deployment and provision of on-line support for Ford engineers involved in the Ford Technical Education Program (FTEP) and Assessment of Prior Experience & Learning (APEL). Peter Norris, Futuremedia Account Director for Ford Motor Company, commented: "The contract renewal indicates the seriousness with which Ford takes e-Learning within its various business units. It also reinforces the company's ongoing commitment to providing fast, effective and relevant training to its personnel, wherever and whenever it is required." Canadian Corporate Newswire July 5, 2000 WebCT Announces New Consortium Licensing Agreement With Over 30 Post Secondary Institutions In Ontario WebCT announced that it has signed a province-wide site licensing agreement for over 30 post secondary institutions in Ontario, offering these institutions the option to access WebCT's course management system. The Office for Partnership for Advanced Skills (OPAS) and the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) coordinated this arrangement. Today's announcement increases the number of provinces and states participating in consortium licensing agreements with WebCT to 10. Other consortia include Alberta and British Columbia in Canada, as well as Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, the Virtual College of Texas, and West Virginia in the U.S. Business Wire June 28, 2000 LearnLinc Selects NetManage SupportNow SDK for Live Online Learning Applications NetManage, Inc. (Nasdaq:NETM), a supplier of eBusiness access and application integration solutions, announced that the LearnLinc Division of Mentergy, Inc. has selected NetManage's SupportNow(TM) Software Developers Kit (SDK) as the underlying collaboration engine for its LearnLinc virtual classroom. SupportNow provides LearnLinc's customers with high levels of scalability and the ability to collaborate over dial-up modems. Mentergy, Inc. is a Gilat Communications, Ltd. e-learning company formed by Gilat's acquisition of LearnLinc Corporation and Allen Communication. The SupportNow SDK allows two or more LearnLinc users to work together in a virtual classroom enabling students and instructors to work on the same application or view the same desktop simultaneously. A live instructor leads and controls a class of students located in distant areas using audio conferencing. Interactive learning tools include instructor/student floor control, class coordination, breakout groups, record/playback, synchronized courseware, application sharing, whiteboard, text chat, instant student progress verification with polling, Q&A, and feedback. Firewall friendly LearnLinc classes can be delivered over the public Internet, private intranets, and local networks. ASIA PULSE June 21, 2000 PHILIPPINES BHI UNIT, CANADA S INFOCAST SIGN AGREEMENT Infocast Asia Ltd, a unit of Boulevard Holdings Inc (BHI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Infocast Corp (IFCC), a premier e-enabling Application Service Provider (ASP) based in Toronto, Canada. Under the MOU Infocast Asia Ltd has exclusive rights to develop, operate and market IFCC's Licensed Technology to a predetermined geographic region consisting of China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan. In effect, Infocast Asia Ltd. will become the exclusive distributor of IFCC's industry -leading products and services. IFCC will also retain a minority equity interest in Infocast Asia Ltd. IFCC offers proprietary applications and "infrastructure on demand" to small and midsize business and affinity groups. The Company's ASP model enables customers to pay for applications on a "per use" basis like a publicly utility thereby reducing in-house information technology costs. Proprietary offerings, which include virtual Call Center (VCC) an e-Learning application, telework, custom-portal technologies coupled with the best- breed third party applications for customers care, data warehousing and e-commerce are hosted on Sun Microsystems servers and deployed through AT&T's global digital network. Because of its broad array of proprietary offerings, and its ability to adapt to meet customer requirements, IFCC is well-positioned to capture a significant share of the emerging ASP market. Infocast Asia intends to forge partnerships with local telecommunications companies to accelerate the penetration of IFCC's business offerings, providing organizations in the five countries mentioned access to Infocast's cost effective advanced information technology (IT) solutions. This recent move is till in line with BHI's previously disclosed intent to refocus its business strategies and concentrate on revenue opportunities from its Internet-related ventures. Infocast Asia Ltd. will generate revenues through hosted applications, virtual center services, e-learning deployments, and teleworking services. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that overall worldwide spending on ASP services will grow $ 296M last year to $ 8.7 billion in 2004 resulting in 92 percent compound annual growth rate. A key competitive advantage for an ASP will be ability to provide a set of cost-effective and readily deployable solutions to their clients. Infocast offers a variety of these e-Enabling services and solutions. Infocast Asia Ltd will target small and medium sized business (30-1000 desktops), affinity groups and network marketers. In North America, IDC estimates that there are about 25 million desk tops. At $ 200 per desktop per month, this market could represent over $ 60 billion annually. Infocast Asia's virtual call center offering will allow businesses to acquire, replace or add to traditional call centers on a pay- per-use model. IDC estimates that the call center outsourcing market in North America alone, is valued at $ 12 billion today and is growing at 24% annually. PR Newswire July 6, 2000 PrimeLearning.com(TM) Adds A Powerful New Component to Its eLearning System Through an Alliance with Learnframe Learnframe, Inc., a leading developer of eLearning infrastructure technologies, announced that PrimeLearning.com(TM), a leading international provider of corporate eLearning solutions has chosen to integrate Learnframe's Pinnacle Learning Manager(TM) (PLM) product with PrimeLearning.com's(TM) training solutions. PLM electronically tracks and reports on learners' progress through each curriculum and provides corresponding test results, thus enabling PrimeLearning.com(TM) to manage its Internet-based training and corresponding data from one central database -- a feature that will help PrimeLearning.com's(TM) customers manage their employee training programs and determine quantifiable returns on their eLearning investments more effectively. PrimeLearning.com(TM) has been aggressively aligning with best-of breed content and technology providers to enhance its Internet-based learning solutions. As the training industry's leading learning management system, Learnframe's Pinnacle Learning Manager(TM) is a natural addition as PrimeLearning.com(TM) strengthens its presence in the eLearning marketplace. "We are pleased PrimeLearning.com(TM) chose us to assist with its grand efforts to further the success of eLearning in the corporate environment," said Ron Sanders, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development. National Post (formerly The Financial Post) July 13, 2000 E-learning startup grabs big U.S. contract: Deal expected to add up to $4.5M in revenue in 2000 One of Canada's fastest-growing Internet software startup companies, located in a ragtag collection of office space above a chiropractor's office and in a former Persian rug store near downtown Toronto, has landed a major contract with one of North America's most prominent online learning course providers. ISOPIA Interactive Network Inc., a privately held Canadian leader in learning management software, has just announced a multi-million-dollar development and long-term licensing contract with Element K (formerly Ziff Davis Education). These two partners will design a customized package for Element K's learning management services, including elementk.com, training.com and LearnItOnline.com. 'This is one of the largest e-learning contracts in the world,' Omid Hodaie, chief executive of ISOPIA, said yesterday. 'And for us it is a very significant message from a recognized industry leader.' Mr. Hodaie said the contract should add between $3-million and $4.5-million in revenue in 2000, and that will grow as the contract is managed over the next five years. ISOPIA was founded in 1998 and the software that has become the foundation of its eLearning management system was developed by Payman Hodaie, Omid's brother, a PhD computer programming student from McMaster University who is currently the company's chief technology officer. The Internet-based technology software developed by ISOPIA enables companies to train and manage an entire work force online with multiple delivery modes -- Web-based, classroom and CD-ROM. Using Enterprise Java Bean software architecture, ISOPIA has created ILMS, integrated learning management software that is capable of accommodating millions of online users on a single system; LearnTone, an applications service provider for companies with limited Internet technology resources or with constantly updated information; and IsoMedia, which converts existing CD-ROM and classroom courses into interactive online courses, and also creates new courses from scratch. Bruce Barnes, chief executive of Element K, said the deal came about 'after an extensive review of learning management systems. We selected ISOPIA's ILMS software as the platform on which we will build our LMS capabilities because of the extraordinary adaptability and massive scalability of its advanced architecture.' Spurred by this partnership and by the combination of an exploding industry and a significant investment by a U.S. merchant bank investment, the ISOPIA team is developing a strong presence in the emerging e- learning marketplace. Growth has caused employee numbers to soar more than 200% in the past four months, to 110. The company has plans to go public in the future. PR Newswire June 27, 2000 T.H.E. Institute Selects CampusStream E-Learning Hosting Service T.H.E. Institute, the professional development division of T.H.E. Journal, announced today at the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in Atlanta the selection of CampusStream(TM), the e- Learning subsidiary of VTEL(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: VTEL), as their primary hosting provider for more than 20 online courses being developed for release this fall. T.H.E. Institute offers courses for both continuing education and graduate credit, covering a variety of topics, including technology skill development, technology integration, enhanced teaching techniques and leadership. Using CampusStream's courseware and multimedia enhancements, the agreement provides hosting and distribution of course content, together with access to T.H.E. Institute's online mentoring support. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. E-learning conferences The Irish Times July 14, 2000 Conference pays tribute to State's early adoption of e-learning Ireland was thrust to the fore of the global electronic learning industry this week when 300 international industry delegates gathered in Dublin's Burlington Hotel for Europe's first e-learning seminar. According to the host, Mr Elliott Masie, founder of US technology and learning think-tank, the Masie Center, Ireland was a natural choice to stage the event because of its early role in the development of e- learning. In recognition of the Government's role in driving the e-learning phenomenon, the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, was presented with the Masie Center's "e-Learning Pioneer Award 2000". Presenting the award, Mr Masie said: "Ireland has birthed many of the key companies that have grown into international leaders in the learning component of the Digital Age. It has become the world's leading producer of online learning content for IT and is building both the technologies and skills to advance the vision of learning anywhere, anytime." Two Irish-founded companies, Smartforce and WBT Systems, which are at the forefront of the e- learning market, were the main sponsors of the Dublin event. E-learning is an exploding market, and recent figures from International Data Corporation (IDC) estimate the annual market value, including Internet and intranet courses, will grow from $ 4 billion (E4.21 billion) to $ 15 billion worldwide in the four years end 2002. E-learning is described as the use of networking technology - primarily the Internet - to design, deliver and support learning for the end user. As companies become more global, time and location constraints have made employing only instructor- led, classroom-based training less feasible. Corporate Internet-based learning is the biggest growth area within the e-learning sector. This week's event was about assessing the state of the e-learning market, particularly in Europe, and addressing some of the major issues facing the industry. A panel discussion featured senior representatives from the world's biggest e-learning companies, including Click2Learn, Smartforce, IBM e-Learning, NetG, WBT Systems and HP Education Services. All of the speakers acknowledged considerable recent growth in the European market - it now accounts for 10 per cent of Click2Learn's revenues and 55 per cent of WBT's revenues. While Nordic countries have been very quick to adopt e-learning, Mr Chris Cottam, general manager for Europe of HP Education Services, says many companies have previously just engaged in experimental pilot work and people are only ready to implement completely integrated learning programmes now. On the business model side, flexible pricing and chargeback programmes are proving very popular. The recent US trend, where e-learning companies are offering training courses on an outsourced - or application service provider - basis is also appealing to organisations which simply want to lease the necessary software and have it continuously updated remotely. Time to market emerged as the biggest driver for organisations embracing e-learning for their employees. The average training department can take up to 18 weeks to develop a training course; e-learning software vendors can dramatically reduce this. Mr Richard Oakes, chief executive officer of Click2Learn, said his company could deploy customised courses in 10 days. Where it was previously widely held that English would serve as the base language for learning applications, Mr Greg Priest, president and chief operating officer of Smartforce, says this is no longer the case. E-learning is also being recognised as a core business element, with a lot of organisations forming cross-functional committees to investigate how it can best be deployed. All of the panel attendees acknowledged the progress of SCORM - a US military driven movement to encourage e-learning vendors to standardise their products for users. Concerns were expressed that if a company invested large amounts in its e-learning software and the vendor went out of business the company might have to go and start all over again with a new vendor. Pressure is being exerted by SCORM to ensure learning modules can inter-operate where necessary. All of the panellists agreed the customer market was still very unclear about what it wanted when it came to implementing an e-learning strategy. More commitment needed to be given at senior level to implement a cross-company strategy, which had a clearly-defined learning objective tied to the business's goals. Despite the rate of growth of the e-learning industry, the learner experience is still found lacking. Language and bandwidth issues are proving critical here. All agreed the industry would be greatly helped by the arrival of audio and video-streaming technologies which would allow for more meaningful "synchronous" training where students and tutors interacted in real time through virtual online seminars. Business Wire June 29, 2000 E-Learning Seminar Reveals Strategies For Success At a recent e-learning briefing in New York City hosted by Frontline Group - "When Success Matters - How to Make E-Learning Work" - participants discovered that successful e-learning encompasses much more than technology. Sheila Paxton, Frontline Group's executive vice president for instructional design, technology and deployment and the president of the Frontline Technology Center, told the audience that the best e-learning programs don't stop with online courses. Effective training blends the highly interactive e-learning and traditional training methods, including instructor led-training, self-paced workbooks, threaded discussions and application groups. Successful programs are supported by management, reward important e-learning behaviors and incorporate performance support tools, such as mentoring and supervisory coaching. To learn more about how to make e-learning work, anyone can take the free e-learning demo on the Frontline Group Web site at www.frontline-group.com. Frontline Shares Three Big Es' Of New Economy At Forbes CEO Forum Empowerment, environment and e-learning are the "three Es" of the new economy, Frontline CEO Marguerite Sallee told a roundtable discussion at the 2000 Forbes CEO Forum. "Hiring and retaining the best people is beginning to look like the NFL free agency," Sallee said. "But in many ways, money is less important. Increasingly, people want the ability to contribute to their company's future and experience learning that prepares them to compete in the rapidly changing business world." M2 PRESSWIRE June 30, 2000 WOLCE There will be a strong emphasis on online and other 'hi-tech' delivery methods for open learning materials from the 110 or so exhibitors at this year's World Open Learning Conference and Exhibition (WOLCE). Among those demonstrating the latest open learning materials and delivery technologies are: Netdecisions, which is launching an online career management service: squarenation.com. According to Lawrence Holsworth, of Netdecisions: "This service includes a learning portal, along with recruitment and career management information." Prime Learning, a Limerick-based company with branches in the USA and Surrey, which is offering a range of 'soft' skills learning materials delivered via the Internet. These learning materials have been developed in association with a number of companies including Xerox and Gower Publications. Prime Learning's Gitte Helms said: "Unlike many current online soft skills programs which have been re-engineered from CD-ROM based materials, all of Prime Learning's materials have been specifically developed for Internet delivery." Interwise, an Israel-based company with European offices in Switzerland, which will be demonstrating its Millennium E-learning platform which allows students in any location around the world to interact in a 'virtual classroom' based learning session. Ellis Hayward which, with GBP 6m investment from Barclays, is launching a subsidiary company - called Academee - to develop online management development and call centre courseware. According to Angie Trotter, of Ellis Hayward: "Our first Academee products include Institute of Management accredited courseware and an online marketing course - called e-marketing - for the Institute of Marketing. We are promoting Academee not only in the UK but also in France and Germany and, in time, expect to combine both traditional and e-learning approaches to create a powerful training portfolio." blueU.com, the e-learning solutions provider named in April as one of the top five e-learning sites on the Internet, is demonstrating its extensive range of 153 IT-related skills courses and 250 business and professional skills courses. TADS, the Shaftesbury-based video and multimedia producer, which will have on display its new two DVD disc version of 'The Creative Manager' open learning course; while fellow producers Fenman and Video Arts also promise to have DVD based products on display at WOLCE. Business Wire June 27, 2000 Revolution in E-Learning! Giant Steps Toward Future Learning Environment At The Department of Defense! Representatives from over 100 companies and organizations attended the first in a series of Department of Defense Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Plugfests, held June 19-23, 2000, in Alexandria, VA. The 250 conference participants represented over 100 different education, training and learning software developers, and content providers from the U. S. military, industry, and academia as well as representatives from international standards organizations. One extraordinary event that made this conference truly noteworthy was the agreement by the three major standards bodies (Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Global Learning Consortium), that they would work together to establish a common standard for e-learning. This agreement paves the way for the creation of the future e-learning environment -- with the power to distribute high-quality knowledge resources globally, across organizational boundaries. The event, which brought together the early innovators, visionaries and risk-takers in the field of e- learning, was hosted by the ADL Co-Laboratory, in Alexandria VA. The weeklong Plugfest focused on the Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM) Version 1.0, and provided beta-compliance testing for content models and learning management systems. The SCORM provides a foundation for how the Department of Defense, the federal government, the commercial and academic worlds can use learning and communication technologies to build, and operate in, the future learning environment. The SCORM is the set of specifications and guidelines that allows technology-based learning content and courseware, to achieve the vision of "providing access to the highest quality education and training, tailored to individual needs, delivered cost-effectively, anywhere and anytime." The Plugfest and the ADL Co-Lab provided participants with a forum for sharing their experiences in converting instructional products to comply with the SCORM. Plugfest participants were able to demonstrate, for the first time, that interoperable and reusable learning content is no longer a conceptual dream -- it is a reality. The Plugfest participants demonstrated serious commitment to SCORM compliance. Industry representatives indicated that their products could begin to incorporate the SCORM specification within days or weeks. On the final days of the Plugfest, participants had the opportunity to experiment with multiple learning management systems, learning objects, and content repositories implementing the SCORM guidelines produced by different organizations. In the exciting climax of the first Plugfest, the enthusiastic participants were able to demonstrate for themselves the ADL objective of achieving interoperability and reuse of learning tools and content across multiple platforms and sources. Plenary sessions featured detailed briefings on the SCORM's status and updates, presented by organizations such as the AICC, IMS, IEEE Learning Object Metadata (LOM) Subcommittee. Panel discussions focused on integrating and coordinating future SCORM standards efforts. A highlight of the Plugfest and an important breakthrough for ADL was the agreement of these three major standards bodies that they would establish common joint standards for advanced distributed learning. This is a monumental achievement for the architects of the future global learning environment. The ADL SCORM is the first piece in an overarching strategy to create common standards that will enable high quality learning tools and content to be developed, distributed, and managed more efficiently and effectively that previously imagined possible -- tailoring knowledge to individual needs, and distributing it anytime and anywhere it is needed. The ADL Co-Labs were established to foster collaborative development and refinement of common tools, standards and prototypes across government, academia, and the private sector. The Co-Labs are actively seeking partnerships for advancing the state of research in the learning technology field with the ultimate goal of significantly increasing human performance. The Department of Labor and the National Guard are participating as full partners in the ADL Co-Labs. Elliott Masie in his most recent TechLearn Trends e-newsletter issued the following caveat concerning claims of SCORM compliance. "You will hear a large number of SCORM "ready" claims...the process of being "certified" is still ahead of us... what is critical right now is for organizations to get involved in the discussion and for vendors to work with the SCORM model and test software to move this process forward, ...ultimately, being compliant with standards will not provide a competitive advantage, but will be assumed!" Many commercial developers and technology firms, as well as academic partners, are supporting the release and are actively participating in its refinement and evolution. The ADL Co-Labs will host Plugfest events three times this year. The next Plugfest is scheduled for August 2-4, 2000, at the Educational Co-Lab located at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, held in conjunction with the 16th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning. A third Plugfest will be hosted by the Joint ADL Co-Lab in Orlando, Florida, November 27-30, 2000, during the Annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). PR Newswire June 26, 2000 Mobile Commerce Conference and Expo Announces Conference Program; New Event Focuses On Wireless E-business Applications CMP Media Inc., producers of the Mobile Commerce Conference and Expo (http://www.mccexpo.com) in New York, announced their exciting and innovative conference program for the inaugural event. This new event will focus on cutting-edge mobile commerce applications and services that are the future of the mobile communications industry, and the next phase in the E-business revolution. The first Mobile Commerce Conference and Expo will debut at the Financial Technology Expo, October 3-5, 2000, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The show will bring together device manufacturers and wireless solution providers with top IT/IS decision-makers from a variety of industries including finance, retail, marketing and other sectors involved in the deployment of M-commerce applications and services. The dynamic conference program will for the first time aim to bring together the key players who are shaping today's E-business solutions, with those from the wireless services, handheld devices, and most importantly the retail, financial, travel and entertainment and other key industries who will be first to rollout the new mobile commerce applications. The conference program classified into two topic tracks -- Business and Technology -- is a combination of educational sessions, panels and case studies that are essential for all business professionals utilizing wireless technologies. "The conference program is unique because it focuses on the end-game," says Monica Vila, vice president, CMP Media Inc. "The program is designed to provide up-to-the minute briefings that will educate and inspire attendees on how they can develop lucrative opportunities through the use of mobile and wireless technologies." Each track will feature 10 sessions on current issues such as Mobile Commerce Trends and Practices, Shopping Without Wires, Wireless Advertising, Wireless Application Protocols and Other Standardization Issues, M-commerce Application Design, Security and M-commerce, M-commerce Device Trends, Speech Recognition and Global M-commerce developments. A special M-commerce Industry Summit: Who Should Be the Gateway to the Wireless Internet? -- will be a featured highlight at the event. A highly visible panel from the wireless providers, the Internet portals, commerce infrastructure players, as well as the entertainment, retail and other vertical industries will discuss which whether one mega gateway will emerge for Mobile Commerce customers to access these new services, and what has to happen now to make successful M-commerce a reality, sooner than later. BroadVision, Inc. (Nasdaq: BVSN, Neuer Markt: BDN) a leader in personalized E-business applications, and Cellmania.com, a leading mobile commerce solutions provider, will serve as the Strategic Flagship Co- Sponsors of the event. Many companies will be showcasing the most sophisticated and up-to-date mobile and wireless products and solutions on the exhibit floor. Vendors will display wireless devices including: cellular phones, PDAs, pagers, scanners, handheld computers and notebooks, all with Internet browsers and e-mail capabilities. They will also display vertical and broad-based technologies that include: e-commerce applications, software and middle-ware providers, wireless components, voice recognition software, location software, user interface designers, network carriers, and operating system vendors. The show will also attract such vendors as wireless service providers, industry advertising agencies, and consulting firms. Financials and Quarterly Earnings Reports Business Wire July 12, 2000 SmartForce Reports Strong Second Quarter 2000 Results SmartForce announced strong financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2000. SmartForce reported revenues of $36.4 million for the quarter, which significantly exceeded analysts' estimates. The Company reported a net loss of $7.6 million, or $0.15 per share, before amortization of intangible assets, beating the First Call consensus estimate of $0.17 per share and showing a 25% sequential improvement over a net loss before amortization of intangible assets of $0.20 per share in the first quarter. On a reported basis, the Company reported a net loss for the second quarter of $9.9 million, or $0.19 per share. The strong results for the quarter were fueled by the continued rapid customer adoption of SmartForce e- Learning, the Company's integrated, Internet-based e-Learning solution. The adoption of SmartForce e- Learning continued to be strong in the Company's core North American corporate business. Of the contract value added during the quarter in this business area, approximately two-thirds was attributable to contracts for SmartForce e-Learning. For the Company's business as a whole, a majority of the contract value generated during the quarter was attributable to e-Learning contracts. In addition, the Company significantly expanded the international reach of SmartForce e-Learning, signing major agreements to extend its solutions to the Spanish-speaking world and Malaysia. These initiatives, made in alliance with powerful distribution partners, create entirely new opportunities for SmartForce in rapidly developing markets. While the United States has been the focus of much of the early activity in e-Learning, the potential for growth internationally is also substantial. With approximately $60 million in 1999 revenues outside the United States, and SmartForce's existing sales presence in 35 countries throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and elsewhere, SmartForce has emerged as the world's largest e-Learning company, with a global reach that is unparalleled in the industry. "Our results clearly demonstrate our leading position in the e-Learning market, a position that prompted IDC to recognize us as the world's largest e-Learning company," said Greg Priest, SmartForce's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Customers continue to adopt SmartForce e-Learning at rates far in excess of our original expectations, allowing us to generate a substantial backlog as the base for future business growth. At the same time, we are capitalizing on opportunities to further extend e-Learning around the world. Leadership in a B2B Internet business requires scale, resources and market reach. We believe that we have assembled the ingredients necessary to build a powerful, lasting Internet education franchise." The results reflect the Company's second full quarter of operations under its Internet rental model, in which revenues under e-Learning agreements are recognized ratably over the term of the agreements. For that six month period ended June 30, 2000, the Company's revenues were $64.9 million. Net loss for the six months ended June 30, before amortization of acquired intangibles, was $17.7 million, or $0.35 per share. On a reported basis, the Company recorded a net loss for the six months ended June 30, 2000 of $21.6 million, or$0.43 per share. SmartForce also continued its progress toward its goal of building a major base of subscribers to SmartForce e-Learning. The Company has approximately 550,000 subscribers, an 83% increase over the 300,000 subscribers reported with the Company's results for the first quarter of 2000. Additional Highlights SmartForce announced the following additional milestones in the second quarter: -- SmartForce announced the introduction of e-Learning workshops that leverage the latest developments in Internet collaboration technologies including integrated teleconferencing, streaming media, real-time application sharing, and live interactive sessions with other students and faculty over the Internet. -- SmartForce announced a multi-year e-Learning agreement with Siemens Medical Systems, Inc. to establish e-Learning for U.S. Siemens Medical Systems' employees. -- SmartForce announced that it has been ranked as the world's largest e-Learning company by International Data Corporation (IDC). -- SmartForce announced it has partnered with Linuxcare and Turbolinux to collaborate on the delivery of online seminars covering Linux and open-source software. -- SmartForce announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Humana Inc., a major healthcare provider, to provide e-Learning for as many as 5,000 Humana employees. -- SmartForce announced a partnership with Capella University to provide content for Capella University's undergraduate information technology courses and degree program. SmartForce also has taken a minority equity stake in Capella University's privately held parent company, Capella Education Company. -- SmartForce announced a multi-year $1 million agreement with Tampa-based kforce Consulting to provide e-Learning solutions. -- SmartForce announced a partnership with business simulation developer Strategic Management Group, Inc. to integrate SMG's real-world simulations with SmartForce's e-Learning courseware with real- world systems. -- SmartForce and Intraware, Inc. announced a partnership under which Intraware will offer e-Learning as a part of every IT software system purchase. -- SmartForce announced that it has expanded its relationship with Robert Half International (RHI) by entering into a multi-year agreement to provide e-Learning to 6,300 RHI employees and temporary and consulting professionals. -- SmartForce acquired Learning Productions, a developer of Internet-based role play business simulations covering sales and customer service, as well as Advanced Educational Systems (AES), a provider of e-Testing services that allow companies to implement secure, proctored certification and compliance testing over the Internet. -- SmartForce unveiled its e-Learning object strategy, which allows any learning event to be broken down into its component parts, and incorporated into any e-Learning solution. PR Newswire June 29, 2000 Intraware Achieves Record First Quarter Revenues of $41.5 Million Intraware, Inc. (Nasdaq: ITRA), an IT e-marketplace for web-based software and services, today announced record revenues of $41.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2001 ended May 31, 2000, an increase of more than 150% over revenues of $16.5 million reported in the corresponding quarter a year ago. First quarter revenues increased 15% over the prior record revenues of $36.1 million reported in the immediately preceding quarter ended February 29, 2000. First quarter services and technology revenues increased to $5.0 million as a result of strong demand for Intraware's suite of Internet-based services for IT professionals. Services and technology revenues grew by 53% over the record levels achieved in the fourth quarter of last year and by 96% over the first quarter a year ago. Net loss was $11.8 million or $0.46 per share in the quarter ended May 31, 2000, compared to a net loss of $4.6 million or $0.20 per share in the prior year's first quarter. Net loss for the immediately preceding quarter ended February 29, 2000 was $11.2 million or $0.45 per share. Excluding the stock-based compensation charge and expenses and amortization related to acquisitions, the net loss was $10.1 million or $0.40 per share for the quarter ended May 31, 2000, compared to a net loss of $3.8 million or $0.16 per share for the same quarter a year earlier and a net loss of $9.0 million or $0.36 per share for the quarter ended February 29, 2000. Deferred revenues at the end of the first quarter increased $4.9 million to $36.2 million from $31.3 million at the end of FY2000. Business Wire June 19, 2000 Cenquest Raises $8.25 Million in Second Round of Funding Cenquest, an e-learning company that delivers accredited, Web-based business courses and graduate degrees from respected universities, today announced it has secured its second round of financing, totaling$8.25 million. The money will be used for sales and marketing, as the company continues its international launch by targeting Europe. First round investors Sevin Rosen Funds, based in Palo, Alto, CA; and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, of San Francisco, led the new round. They were joined by Venture Partners, based in Zurich, Switzerland, and Dain Rauscher Wessels, with offices in Minneapolis, MN and Dallas, TX. "The success of this funding round speaks to the strength of Cenquest's business strategy," said LaVonne Reimer Young, president and CEO of Cenquest. "Cenquest has established its niche in the $3 billion e- learning market by offering accredited courses that are easy and accessible for busy professionals to get the kind of education they need to compete in today's business environment. E-learning has become a world- wide phenomenon, and participation by Venture Partners in our second round validates that." "We looked at many different e-learning companies and we continue to be impressed with Cenquest's business model," said Steve Domenik, senior partner of Sevin Rosen Funds. "By partnering with established and respected universities, Cenquest is setting itself apart from the crowd. They have already established relationships in Latin America Asia and are in a perfect position to make great inroads into Europe." To take advantage of trends in Europe, Cenquest recently named Jean-Claude Peterschmidtt to Cenquest's advisory board. Mr. Peterschmidtt previously served as the European Vice President of Digital Equipment Corporation, and was chairman of its European Board of Directors. "There is a hunger in Europe for the kind of graduate-level education that American colleges and universities offer," said Peterschmidtt. "Cenquest is able to deliver the kinds of courses that will help technology professionals succeed, no matter where they live in the world." PR Newswire July 7, 2000 Englishtown.com Secures $16 Million In First-Round Financing From Atlas Venture Englishtown.com, the leading online English-language site with 500,000 members worldwide and the only site offering real time online voice and writing lessons, announced today that it has received $16 million in first-round financing from Atlas Venture. In addition, Englishtown.com announced the formation of its board, with the appointments of George M. C. Fisher, Chairman of Eastman Kodak; David B.Yoffie, professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School; Ron Nordin, Senior Principal at Atlas Venture; and a fourth anonymous appointee. "E-learning is a multibillion dollar business, and Englishtown has already proven itself to be a leader in changing the way the world learns English as a second language," said Ron Nordin of Atlas Venture. "We strongly believe in Englishtown.com's ability to sustain growth and to continue its lead in both the B2B and B2C e-learning markets." "The need for English-language instruction is more urgent than ever in today's global economy," said Philip Hult, Englishtown.com Chief Executive Officer. "At the same time, an e-learning revolution has just begun and Englishtown.com is perfectly positioned to take advantage of both of these massive trends. We plan to continue being the leading site where businesses and consumers learn English." Englishtown.com provides University-certified online English-language instruction to hundreds of thousands of students in over 100 countries. Live, teacher-led voice and text chat for all levels of General and Business English are offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Englishtown.com. Private lessons, daily email lessons and a daily online magazine customize the English-language service to meet each student's individual needs. To encourage learning and interaction between students across the world, free contests, games, and English-related resources are featured on the Englishtown Web site. Certification and Specialized Courseware Business Wire June 27, 2000 click2learn.com and SAIC Team to Launch Terrorism Response Training on the Internet click2learn.com, inc. and Science Applications International Corporation's Emergency Medical Training and Preparedness Division announced the availability of chemical and biological terrorism response training on the Internet. Starting immediately, emergency responders can obtain training on medical responses to chemical and biological terrorism through Train4Life.com, SAIC's new e-Learning web site. Train4Life.com is powered by click2learn.com's e-Learning Network and provides SAIC customers with instant web-based access to online courses and tests on emergency response topics, such as Anthrax and Nerve Agents. The new courses have also been added to click2learn.com's e-Learning Network course catalog, and can be accessed through the click2learn.com e-Learning portal and through numerous custom- configured e-Learning sites used to provide e-Learning within corporations, e-businesses, and professional portals. "With Internet technology, emergency responders and health care providers now can benefit from training classes formerly available only to selected students of specific government training programs," said Larry Harris, SAIC Train4Life.com manager. "These specialized chemical and biological incident training classes are within the reach of anyone with Internet access including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, doctors, nurses, firefighters and law enforcement officials." Business Wire July 11, 2000, Tuesday Information Management Group Partners with click2learn.com to Offer Web-based MCSE and MCSD Microsoft Certification Training click2learn.com, inc. and The Information Management Group announced a partnership to offer IMG's Web-based Microsoft IT certification training at click2learn.com. Through click2learn.com's e-Learning Network, individuals and organizations can sign up for Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) online certification training classes that will enhance their programming and networking skills and will prepare them for testing for the Microsoft Certified Professional program. Through IMGUniversity.com, IMG offers the most comprehensive Microsoft certified developer and network training available on the Web, combining the convenience and cost-effectiveness of self-study with the immediacy and learning-effectiveness of instructor-led training. "Microsoft online certification is important to enhancing the programming and networking skills of IT professionals within our client base," said Kevin Oakes, President and CEO of click2learn.com. "IMG's track record for providing superior Microsoft certified training is well-established, and we feel adding their e- Learning and instructor-led training to our e-Learning network will be incredibly valuable to the IT professionals who are preparing for testing for the Microsoft Certified Professional program." InformationWeek June 19, 2000 E-Learning Targets Sensitive Legal Issues -- CCH OFFERS ONLINE COURSE ON PREVENTION OF WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT Although IT-related content continues to dominate the E-learning arena, workplace legal topics such as sexual-harassment prevention are gaining a foothold. The most recent entrant into the market for workplace-compliance-related E- learning is CCH Inc., which earlier this month introduced an online course on sexual-harassment prevention. The company plans to unveil additional courses that cover issues such as prevention of workplace violence. Other vendors offering compliance courses include Provant, SkillSoft, and Youachieve.com. The best online courses for fostering a safe and respectful work environment are those-such as CCH's- that include a learning-management system, says Jim Ayube, senior analyst at the Aberdeen Group. Management systems, for example, can help supervisors track which employees have completed the training. That documentation can be helpful if a company becomes involved in a sexual-harassment case. In the 1998 case of Burlington Industries vs. Ellerth, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling indicated that employers could minimize their liability in harassment cases by proving the company exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassing behavior. USA Group, an Indianapolis guarantor of student loans, has been using SkillSoft's sexual-harassment awareness E-learning series since December. " There are user records, so I can produce a quarterly report to let people know who has completed which course," says Elaine Voci, director of corporate learning and development. The first 1,000 trainees were managers, and the remaining 2,000 employees will receive training within two years, she says. The CCH course starts at $1,495 for 150 people. Business Wire June 27, 2000 NETg Brings Advanced e-Learning To jCert Program NETg, a global e-Learning leader, announced it has aligned with The jCert Initiative, a non-profit organization formed by IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Sybase, BEA and iPlanet E- Commerce Solutions, a Sun-Netscape Alliance, to establish and promote industry standards for the certification of Enterprise Developers using Java(TM) technology. As a jCert participant, NETg will develop e-Learning courses to help Java professionals prepare for various jCert-endorsed certification exams. NETg's initial courses will address the Java Certified Programmer, Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and Enterprise Connectivity exams. These exams are recognized by all vendors participating in the jCert Initiative and validate that candidates have the Java foundation skills necessary to progress to the product- specific exams of the vendor of their choice. NETg jCert courses will become available starting December, 2000. Identified by IDC as the fastest growing e-Learning company, NETg's global market influence will result in jCert training being readily available to a broad base of technology professionals. "The intent of jCert is to provide a ready supply of trained Java technology developers to meet the explosive demand for enterprise applications in the rapidly expanding e-commerce market, " said Oma Sewhdat, president of jCert. "NETg's existing partnerships with global corporations, educational institutions and the federal government will help expand the opportunity for a greater number of technology professionals to gain the skills necessary to pursue jCert certification." NETg plans to introduce a total of 14 courses that support jCert certification, one of the largest offerings of jCert training in the industry. Business Wire June 28, 2000 The Royal College of Physicians of London Selects Medschool.com as Its Online Educational Partner Medschool.com, a leading e-learning company bringing medical school quality education to healthcare professionals and organizations worldwide, announced that it has signed an agreement with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) of London to develop a pilot program for online, case-based learning modules for the continuing medical education (CME) requirements of its members. Beginning in 2001, all general physicians practicing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be required to complete CME programmes. This marks the first time in the 500-year history of the RCP that the organization has partnered with an outside educational company to develop CME materials. Under the terms of the agreement, authors chosen by the RCP (London) will create content that will be delivered via Medschool.com's proprietary e-learning platform. Medschool.com's technology will enable physicians themselves to monitor their own progress with the programme against their peers. This CME pilot, which launches in July 2000, will be co-managed by Medschool.com's offices in Santa Monica, Calif. and Oxford, UK. As part of the new revalidation system for physicians, they will be required to demonstrate that they have undertaken broad-based CME activities during the year. Although CME in the UK is well-established, the electronic provision of learning programmes is a new and emerging market. The Irish Times July 10, 2000 RCSI launches world's first online training programme for surgeons The world's first online surgical training programme comes into service this month at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). BeST, or electronic Basic Surgical Training, is a virtual university, enabling trainee surgeons to access a flexible training programme on the Internet no matter where they are in the world; 24 hours a day - 365 days a year. The development represents a multi-million pound investment by the RCSI, which is responsible for the surgical training of doctors in Ireland. The technology is provided by Intuition, an e-learning specialist company. The RCSI recognises the service demands made on surgical trainees, according to the dean of postgraduate studies at RCSI, Mr Oscar Traynor. "Therefore BeST is available online so that trainees can study when it suits their schedule and their study plan." BeST was designed specifically to focus the attention of the trainees on learning and not on technology, he added. It is packaged as an extensive 18-module syllabus and is aimed at helping trainees pass the general professional surgical examinations. RCSI surgical trainees will also begin to use BeST from this month. The multi-media content includes visual and interactive training, tutorials and test simulations, real-life case studies, access to the RCSI's library, interactive bulletin board and feedback from tutors. The development of BeST uses the latest in web technology in its multimedia presentation of content, but is simple to access and use, noted Mr Michael Horgan, RCSI deputy chief executive. "It requires a standard PC and works with the standard web browsers. It also uses the most popular animation software. This ensures there are no technical barriers to getting online, getting active and getting focused on learning." The RCSI insists the initiative fits appropriately with its aim to promote the highest standards in practice and science of surgery - the college conducts a variety of training and examination programmes for surgeons from Ireland and overseas, while Intuition is a world leader in e-learning and operates over 150 major e- learning web sites in 50 countries worldwide. Business Wire June 20, 2000 CyberStateU.com Offers Industry's First Web-based Linux Professional Institute Certification Training CyberStateU.com (www.CyberStateU.com), the first company to deliver technical certification training via the Internet, today announced the availability of its web-based Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) Level-1 program for IT professionals. The new e-learning track will prepare students for the Linux Professional Institute's (LPI) rigorous LPIC Level-1 certification exams. Backed by the leaders in the rapidly growing Linux market, LPIC is quickly emerging as the dominant open-source certification program and the de-facto benchmark for Linux skills. The CyberStateU.com Linux e-learning curriculum maps directly to the certification objectives established by LPI. CyberStateU.com is the first company to offer Linux training that has been specifically created to prepare students for certification. CyberStateU.com's unique educational methodology, the Synergy Learning System, offers students unparalleled quality and flexibility in preparing for certification. The LPIC Level 1 exams are performance- based and assess a candidate's proficiency in basic Linux administration, troubleshooting and support. "We are excited to see CyberStateU.com rolling out the first online training class targeted at LPI's certification exams," said Dan York, president of the LPI board of directors. "This represents a major milestone in the support for LPI and reaffirms our belief that candidates should have many methods of preparing for our exams. CyberStateU.com has developed an e-learning solution that will enable students to prepare for the LPIC exams from anywhere in the world." While the LPIC is widely recognized as a premier network certification title, there is a shortage of professionals who possess the skills necessary to hold this title. CyberStateU.com will increase the number of skilled Linux professionals by providing a solution that is available anywhere, anytime, and at a reasonable price. The LPIC Level 1 training program, which is comprised of two courses, is available from CyberStateU.com for only US $995. "Our Linux e-learning program prepares participants to be fully certified at the LPIC Level-1. Once students successfully complete our LPIC Level 1 program, they have the foundation for supporting a Linux environment, including the ability to install, configure and network a Linux workstation, and perform regular maintenance tasks," said David James Clarke, IV, V.P. of curriculum development. "CyberStateU.com's approach to Web-based learning is unique in that it integrates a real-world hands-on lab environment rather than a simulated environment. Real world experience is a critical success factor in passing LPI's rigorous exams." Regional Reports – Asia, India, and Australia New Straits Times - Computimes (Malaysia) June 19, 2000 Pros and cons of e-learning THE advantages of electronic learning (e-learning) over the traditional chalk-and-talk method of delivering lessons have been widely reported. Such advantages are of help to students, teachers and schools in overcoming problems being faced in the learning-teaching process. In the United States, for example, Internet-based learning has been successfully used to deliver education at primary and secondary school levels. So does this mean it will work in our school system? What is the role of e-learning in schools? Does e- learning play a significant role to upgrade the educational system in Malaysia? It will to a certain extent provide a solution to the problems being faced by the Education Ministry, according to Professor Dr Chiam Heng Keng of Universiti Malaya. E-learning, she says, will help address major perennial problems such as overcrowded classrooms, teachers with low pedagogical efficacy, shortage of teachers, and lack of facilities as well as the rise in social and disciplinary problems. The advantages: With e-learning, the limitations of physical space and overcrowded classrooms are no longer a problem as students do not have to attend schools to acquire knowledge. "When the classroom does not have to be within the four walls of an institution called 'school', it gives students the flexibility to learn from anywhere they desire, be it at home, in a classroom or at a cybercafe," Chiam says. "Such learning flexibility can, I believe, overcome the truancy problem in schools which currently ranks the highest on the list of disciplinary problems." Another advantage of e-learning is self-paced learning, which can help reduce the frustrations that result from different levels of ability and experiences. This, in turn, can further reduce disruptions and indiscipline in the classroom. "When the subject matter or content a learner wishes to master can be obtained on demand, schools can do away with the fixed timetable for learning. Misbehaviour which arises from lack of interest in a particular subject can be contained and this will mean less disruptions in the classroom," Chiam says. She adds that for academically weak students, the e-learning method is a boon as they are able to learn at their own pace and no longer subjected to criticisms about their weaknesses. They can now ask questions online without feeling embarrassed. The computer is infinitely patient and non-judgmental, thus motivating students to continue. Chiam believes that the problem of teachers with low pedagogical efficacy and shortage of teachers in certain subjects can be solved with the e-learning method. With the technology available, it is possible to bring together good teachers who have the gift in pedagogy and sound knowledge of their subjects to reach the whole school population in the country. Often, facilities and competence of teachers are cited as the reasons for students staying away from science subjects. E-learning, Chiam says, can provide the answer in attracting students to science subjects rather than the arts. "In addition to having access to quality teachers in science and mathematics, virtual laboratories can provide students the facilities to attain the scientific knowledge and skills without fear of damaging the equipment or hazards. Such laboratories allow students to practise to perfection. With such online facilities, all students can gain hands-on experience and learn by trial and error," she explains. The disadvantages: For e-learning to be effective, students need to be disciplined and able to work independently. A certain level of reading ability is also required, according to Chiam. "With highly motivated, intelligent and competitive students, content on demand can be an effective means of learning, Unfortunately, we do not have many students who are disciplined enough to draw up their own schedule and follow it through. For indisciplined students, the flexibility offered by e-learning can be dentrimental owing to their relative immaturity and inexperience." She says e-learning may also create more problems, with the danger of students accessing unsuitable Web sites and pornographic materials. E-learning, she adds, also does not provide the flexibility in presentations that is available in the traditional classroom in which the teacher is able to explain a lesson in various ways so that the students can understand. Chiam points out that though it seems an attractive option to learn from home, human interaction is limited with e-learning which can lower social competence. The future: Based on the current situation in smart schools, computer ownership and Internet connections, there is still a long way to go before e-learning can be utilised effectively in this country. Currently, Malaysia ranks 34th in terms of computers per 1,000 people and 35th in terms of Internet connection. In the smart schools, Chiam sees the lack of computer facilities and adequate teacher preparation as a hindrance to effective e-learning. The technology will only be as effective as the people using it and teaching children to use it. "If we are to prepare our children for the digital world, it is important to equip them with the ability to source for information, to critically evaluate the information, to make decisions and to solve problems. With the existing facilities in smart schools, it is impossible to provide students with the opportunituies to acquire these skills," she says. If e-learning is deemed to be the best solution, Chiam urges the authorities concerned to employ lateral thinking to overcome the hurdle in integrating e-learning in our educational system. She also cautions that a new trend and technology such as e-learning does not necessarily indicate an improvement or advancement. Business Wire July 12, 2000 SmartForce to Launch e-Learning Solutions in Malaysia SmartForce announced the launch of its e-Learning solutions in Malaysia. Precision Portal, a newly created company, will become SmartForce's exclusive Malaysian distributor under a four-year, $1 million distribution agreement. The relationship will enable Precision Portal to sell, market and support SmartForce e-Learning offerings. Though computer-based training has been used in Malaysia over recent years, this is the first e-Learning offering to hit the country. Furthermore, the introduction of SmartForce e-Learning falls directly in line with the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative, the Malaysian government's effort to promote greater access to Internet services, which has identified e-Learning as critical to the country's e-Learning services infrastructure. The scope of the alliance includes marketing campaigns, selling and technical support of comprehensive e-Learning solutions. SmartForce and Precision Portal will collaborate on the sale of e-Business and technical content ranging from interactive courses, multimedia seminars, 24x7 access to subject matter experts, advanced simulation and assessment capabilities. SmartForce's Internet-based learning infrastructure will provide highly effective learning solutions that offer more flexibility than instructor-led training and more collaboration and interactivity than computer- based training. Both companies are committed to delivering e-Learning solutions to customers looking to dramatically increase the effectiveness of their training programs, reduce costs, and improve return on investment when implementing enterprise-wide training. The agreement with Precision Portal, which has a marketing alliance with three of the largest and leading Malaysian companies, will give SmartForce a competitive advantage in the Malaysian market. The companies supporting Precision Portal in this alliance include: TRI Celcom -- The largest mobile phone operator in Malaysia with a current market share of 1.2 million active users, as well as one of Malaysia's largest Internet service providers. Telekom Sales and Service Malaysia -- Malaysia's national telecommunications company. IT In-Touch -- A subsidiary company of the International Islamic University of Malaysia. It plays a major role in IT training in Malaysia with over 40 training centers. Business Wire July 12, 2000 FutureLink and China's Go4it Team Up to Deliver E-Learning Solution to Chinese Enterprise Managers FutureLink Corp., an application service providers (ASP), and Go4it.com.cn, China's leading learning and enabling center for the e-enterprise, today announced they will partner to deliver e-Learning solutions to Chinese enterprise managers. FutureLink and Go4it have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperative Agreement (MOU) that includes various objectives regarding content development and delivery, marketing initiatives and other special programs. The MOU, which the companies signed recently, include the following elements regarding the relationship between FutureLink and Go4it: -- Go4it has chosen FutureLink as a preferred partner to promote FutureLink licensed content on the Go4It e-Learning site to corporate and university audiences in China -- FutureLink has chosen Go4it as its e-Learning partner in China. -- FutureLink will provide Go4it with non-exclusive rights to use FutureLink proprietary and licensed content. -- Go4it will assist in localization and customization of the content for the China market. -- FutureLink will become a subject matter expert for Go4it, in such areas as application service provisioning and performance enhancement. "We're pleased to work with Go4it to introduce our turnkey e-Learning solution and low-cost ASP delivery vehicle to the Chinese marketplace," said Glen C. Holmes, president and chief operating officer, FutureLink. "By working with Go4it to bring e-Learning solutions to China, we have the opportunity to provide the best in leading-edge learning technologies to the largest concentrated audience of learners in the world." FutureLink recently launched its e-Learning initiative, WorkForceIQ.com, which offers customers an enterprise wide learning solution on a monthly subscription basis. WorkForceIQ.com aggregates more than 1000 interactive courses from a variety of e-Learning content providers, including element K, SkillSoft and NETg, among others. WorkForceIQ.com is powered by an enterprise-class Learner Management System (LMS) from Learnframe, Inc. These courses have been bundled into training packages that target the essential skills required for critical corporate positions. "Our objective is to capitalize on FutureLink's strength in delivering subscription-based corporate training services," said Greg Shea, founder and chairman of Go4it. "By teaming with FutureLink, Go4it will be in a position to deliver a broad spectrum of content very efficiently to our large audience of Chinese enterprise managers." The initial e-Learning content will be targeted to senior managers focused on introducing e-commerce and e-business strategy. Both companies will be working closely to produce Chinese language offerings starting in October 2000. FutureLink will also help identify leading edge delivery systems and content. FutureLink will then host its e-Learning services in a local data center in China. New Straits Times (Malaysia) June 27, 2000 Questions raised about e-learning' WHEN the topic of discussion at a conference is "e-learning" in highereducation and the experts ask more questions than they answer, theaudience get nervous. The prefix "e" for electronic then becomes the target for puns, alteredto mean the optimistic "e"xcellent and "e"nergetic to a despairing"e"nough and a wailing "eeeee..." learning. The serious definition: e-learning brings together electronic media,information and communication technology (ICT) and digital content toenable accessible, available and effective learning. If anyone wonders what the fuss is about, just take a look at childrenworking on computers. Even the shy and timid comes alive, unafraid toclick the mouse to explore and discover. Whether playing games or doing research for a school assignment, suchrapt attention is what teachers strive for but seldom achieve in theclassroom. The younger generation has an obvious knack for things electronic butthe problem is that their elders - parents, teachers and policy-makers -worry what is too much or too little. They fully realise technology can never supplant the teacher's role inthe classroom but its immense capabilities need to be harnessed to meetthe ever growing number of education seekers. This need has caused nations to reformulate education policies adaptedto the technology revolution. Thus, the smart schools and now theelectronic universities. The recent "Malaysian International Conference and Exhibition onElectronic Learning 2000" conference organised by Meteor Sdn Bhd madeclear the urgency of getting on the technology bandwagon. Twenty-two per cent of Malaysians aged 17 to 23 are in higher education compared to 70 in the United States and 60 in Japan. It is estimated that by 2005, the total Malaysian population in this age group will grow to 3.5 million, with about 1.05 million enrolled in higher education. Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Johari Mat said Malaysia needs to use technology in education to offset the cost of building new schools, colleges and universities. Johari said: "Our approaches to teaching, preparing contents and delivering learning materials need to be adjusted according to this technology. "The classroom is no more a static physical set-up but a rather dynamic existence which could be reached from anywhere in the globe. "The virtual classroom is the art of today, and the role of the teacher as the learning facilitator is becoming more apparent." His optimism on the advantages of the Internet and IT-enabled modes of delivery as the answer to the Ministry's aim of democratisation of education is understandable. In "e-schools" and "e-universities" lie the hope that creative and innovative knowledge workers will emerge as nation builders who are masters of their own life-long learning. The sobering thought is how will ICT change what goes on in overcrowded classrooms that have long been the lot of the lone teacher struggling to cope? Once the unquestioned expert and the only person who talks in the classroom, much more will be expected of a teacher when his role expands to that of a facilitator. Since 1998, the Ministry has trained more than 983 teachers for the smart schools and at least 10,800 by 2002 in the hope of changing the mindset of teachers. But it's more than just learning to use the Internet and computers as an aid to information access and communication but learning to manage more inquisitive "techno-savvy" students. Teachers will need to learn how to organise small groups, encourage students to collaborate, to share knowledge, to enrich their learning and assess their progress. Meteor chairman Tan Sri Abdullah Sanusi Ahmad said: "We are not talking about just computers in schools and colleges for students to type their term papers or complete computer programme assignments. "E-learning is when the students and the teachers use the computer with the power of networking, communication and collaborating technology to enhance the delivery of content." There is need for, Johari says, a "learning-to-learn" curriculum to foster skills to seek information, think critically, communicate effectively and work as a team. Are teachers ready for this, considering the tradition of "teaching-to-test" in the education system which would relegate technology to that of a tool for more test drills? This would defeat the purpose and more than one speaker throughout the two-day conference stressed the need to focus on teacher training and the teaching and learning process. While the computer helps the child to absorb more information at a faster pace, he still needs the teacher to help assimilate and understand complex matters. Previous experience has shown that the computer does not discriminate and as the user controls his own pace, low achievers benefit while the above average are not held back. If the aim of e-learning is to free teachers from classroom routine, there is need to ensure they make use of the time to know students on a more personal level. The contention that overemphasis on examinations curb original thinking and creativity could be made worse with the overdependence on technology in the classroom. Will Malaysian teachers be willing to overcome age-old classroom restrictions to allow greater interaction that would stimulate a flow of ideas and original problem solving? Sapura Systems Sdn Bhd senior consultant Vasudevan Subrahmanyam posed a list of questions as a caution to those who want to jump onto the technology bandwagon. "In the unlikely event that personnel are available, have we considered the organisational skills and processes required to coordinate these specialists as a seam-less team? "Are academics ready to work in teams? Are current performance management tools designed to support these new ways of working? "The answers to these questions may cause some to lose heart and perhaps see the path to e-learning as an impossibly difficult one," he said. Another speaker with a lot of questions was Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Zawawi Ismail who asked: "Are we ready for change?" He says: "We have no choice but to be ready for change. We must change not for the sake of change alone but for the sake of our future." New Straits Times (Malaysia) June 27, 2000 Children fuelling Internet explosion IT has to be more than a coincidence when more than one speaker at the "e-learning 2000" conference shared observations on their children's antics with computers and the Internet. The amazement of these "expert" parents at the speed and ease their children pick up computer skills is a serious reminder that issues discussed will greatly impact the young. In the United States, children are fuelling the Internet explosion with the number of two- to 17-year-olds logging into cyberspace having tripled since 1997. A recent survey showed more than 25 million children in the US are on the Internet, up from eight million in 1997 and projected to explode another 70 per cent by 2005. Apparently, children are the main reason parents buy a computer and gain Internet access as they believe it is an important tool for learning and development. By contrast, many Malaysian parents, especially in the rural areas, have yet to grasp the urgency of having a computer in the home or to view the Internet as an education tool. The problem lies with the misperception that their children will end up playing computer games and seeking unhealthy pursuits through the Internet. That was the view of one father, Musa Ismail, until he finally gave in to his children's plea for a computer when eldest son Hafiz entered secondary school. It was a decision Musa would never regret making because Hafiz got over the initial computer games mania and began dabbling in computer programming. Hafiz began exploring the "magic" of the Internet to come up with his vocalised translator web browser to translate English words into Bahasa Malaysia. It was beyond Hafiz and his father's dreams, but his project won an Intel third-place award in computer science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Detroit, Michigan, the United States. The prize was US$1,000 (RM3,800) and the award was a first for Malaysia and this shy 16-year-old from Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Datuk Harun stood his own among the 1,224 finalists from 40 countries. Hafiz is proud to have made Malaysia and Bahasa Malaysia known to his new friends, and he hopes his win would be an inspiration to other students that Malaysia Boleh. There could be many more Hafizs in Malaysian kindergartens, schools and universities who need to be given a chance to familiarise themselves with the Internet. In terms of Internet access per 1,000, Malaysia is ranked 35th by the World Competitiveness Yearbook 1999 with 1.93 compared to 107.51 in Finland and 87.15 in the US. In his own list of questions, Mimos Berhad chief operating officer Dr Mohamed Awang Lah asked if too much time was being spent on multimedia development rather than the "plain" Internet. He says the Internet would be an avenue for schoolchildren to be more creative without costing too much money as much of the software was available in open source online. The access to licensed software in open source should be made known to teachers, whom Awang Lah believes need to be kept informed for them to teach students effectively. His questions - "Are we focusing too much on students rather than teachers?" followed by a grim "Have we forgotten about inducing tacit knowledge?" - were food for thought. Professor Chiam Heng Keng of Universiti Malaya's Department of Pedagogy and Educational Psychology sees the positive side of e-learning where timetables are dispensed with. On the plus side of e-learning, she said, misbehaviour which arose from the lack of interest in some subjects could be contained through self-paced learning. This could reduce frustrations that result from different levels of ability and experiences and could further reduce disruptions and indiscipline in the classroom. While e-learning could cure problems such as overcrowded classrooms, incompetent teachers, inadequate laboratory facilities and learning problems, it could also bring in new ones, says Chiam. "Content on demand can only work if students are disciplined and able to work independently. Unfortunately, many of our students do not have a strong enough will to draw up their own schedule and follow through. "Secondly, in a traditional classroom, the teacher often has to explain a text in several ways for students to comprehend it. This flexibility is not available in e-learning. "It is also difficult to be optimistic that e-learning can deter students from misdemeanour. If anything else, e-learning may create more problems. "The danger of children accessing pornography and hate web sites is well-known. Also, in the search for materials, students are at their peril of being misinformed. "Owing to their relative immaturity, knowledge and experience, it is difficult for them to discern truth from lies, and information from disinformation." She said the flexibility of e-learning would be most effective for highly motivated, intelligent and competitive students but would be detrimental otherwise. Parents and teachers have to be willing to work together to instil a sense of right and wrong so that the child's conscience pricks whenever they enter forbidden zones. While parents rush to buy computers and gain access to the Internet, it pays to remember that school for most children is still a place to meet their friends, says Chiam. BUSINESSWORLD (PHILIPPINES) June 22, 2000 School offering distance education using Hewlett-Packard e-services AMA Education System (AMAES) is offering distance education in three of its campuses in Luzon, using the virtual classroom infrastructure of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP). AMAES officials said the Web-based learning courses would initially be offered to BS Information Technology students who major in Electronic Commerce. Electronic Commerce is a new program that AMA introduced in May, the start of the first trimester. However, other Computer Science majors may also enroll in an e-learning course to learn more about the technology. HP Philippines Corp. and AMAES earlier forged an agreement allowing AMAES to offer distance education courses using HP's E-Learning-on-tap (ELOT) infrastructure. ELOT is an online distance training service, and an example of HP's e-services strategy. The HP virtual classroom is like a traditional classroom where students and teacher can interact and collaborate but through the Internet. AMAES executive vice-president Manuel F. Abad said in a new conference that e-learning is AMAES's answer to improving access to quality instruction without building the information technology (IT) infrastructure. With the e-learning infrastructure being provided by HP, AMAES can concentrate on developing the content, he added. AMAES is a system of computer schools offering vocational-technical and degree courses in IT. Lately, it has expanded its degree offerings to other disciplines like the social sciences and the humanities. About 90% of AMAES students are still pursuing IT courses. AMAES includes the AMA Computer Colleges, the AMA Computer Learning Centers and AMA Telecommunications Learning Centers. Mr. Abad said the e-learning courses will initially be available in AMA College's campuses in Quezon City, Makati City and East Rizal. Eventually, AMA plans to offer distance learning for non-IT courses, said Mr. Abad. "Eventually, learning will go electronic," he said. "This will allow us to expand our market without expanding our infrastructure. There will be no need to build buildings and this will lower the cost of education. Distance learning will be the new means to deliver the demands of the times and the economy." HP Philippines trained some AMA faculty members to administer the e-learning program. A demonstration of this capability was held at yesterday's press conference. Business Times (Singapore) July 3, 2000 Brace for boom in e-learning soon The market for IT training will cross US$ 2.5b by 2004 in the Asia-Pacific region alone THERE'S a new game in town: e-learning, or offering training over the Internet. Riding on the boom in the Net, the market for electronic learning -and training -is just about ready to take off with cyberspeed. According to estimates from International Data Corp (IDC), the e-learning segment will boom at 93.7 per cent a year between now and 2004, when it will cross US$ 235 million (S$ 406 million) in the Asia- Pacific region alone. That's the tip of the iceberg. Given that the Internet knows no borders, the three parties in the e-learning game -content suppliers, software enablers, and delivery providers -are gearing up to train millions of fresh students, mid-level executives and top-end managers, globally. The global market for e-learning is expected to cross US$ 2 billion by 2004. E-learning forms roughly 10 per cent of the total market for IT training. Thus, in the Asia-Pacific region alone, the total market for IT training will cross US$ 2.5 billion by 2004, from about US$ 981 million last year, IDC says. These are still conservative estimates, since they measure only IT courses. However, almost any training that doesn't need actual physical manipulation (such as car driving, swimming or sports training) can be delivered using IT. Thus, the potential market for all training or orientation courses delivered via IT will be significantly higher. There are basically three delivery mechanisms possible: via CBTs (computer based training), via LANs (local area networks), or via the Internet. CBTs can be offered in floppy disks or CD-ROMs; LAN training via corporate networks through a central server; and Internet-delivered training can come from any source and be delivered to any recipient anywhere on earth. And e-training is what makes the vendors salivate. Take two examples, for instance: * Huge populace: In the Asia-Pacific alone, more than 21.7 million IT workers need to be hired if the projected IT growth in the region is to be achieved. You cannot pack such huge masses of people into classrooms with hundreds of thousands of instructors pumping knowledge in remote locations. The Internet is the only choice -it is cheap, fast, effective, efficient, and ubiquitous. * Huge markets: Given the rapid pace of change in technology, even the existing pool of technical talent needs continual training just to keep up. Take datacommunications, for instance. IDC's newest report says the Asia-Pacific market for datacom equipment alone will cross US$ 9 billion by 2004, growing at 23 per cent a year between now and then. Just one sub-category -remote access market -will more than quadruple in the next five years in the region -to cross US$ 1.4 billion by 2004. It is not just the market that's growing -the technology is too. Some of the routers and switches that were present three years ago are no longer manufactured now; even in the PC space, microprocessors, memory chips, storage devices and modems have gone through revolutionary changes. Only the keyboard, mouse and monitor have been relatively unchanged. So, a fresh engineer graduating from most of Asia's educational institutions risks being obsolete before he gets his degree. In this scenario, continual training is the only answer. It is good that Singapore has given training and skills upgrading high priority so far. But, as the training demands become more compelling -and as competition ramps up to fill the rising demand -it might be worthwhile taking a fresh look at this sector to see what more we could do to win a bigger chunk of the global e-training pie. Business Times (Singapore) June 26, 2000 Boom in e-learning in Asia now Market for IT training will cross US$ 2.5b by 2004; e-learning to grow 93% a year through 2004 THE market for IT training will cross US$ 2.5 billion (S$ 4.3 billion) in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) by 2004, from about US$ 981 last year, according to a new report just released by researcher International Data Corp (IDC). The biggest growth will come from the e-learning (or learning over the Internet) segment, which is slated to grow at a massive 93.7 per cent a year between now and 2004, when it will reach US$ 235 million, IDC said. "More than 21.7 million IT workers need to be hired if the projected IT industry growth is to be achieved," said Sujoy Sen, senior analyst with IDC's Asia-Pacific services research. "The management of worker attrition will become the most important strategic area of competition in the IT industry in future." India currently represents 21 per cent (US$ 216 million) of the total spending on IT training in the region. India will continue to lead till 2004, reaching a revenue of US$ 695 million by 2004. "That is because India currently accounts for 60 per cent of the total Asia-Pacific demand for IT professionals," Mr Sen said. Training channels will also shift significantly between now and 2004. Currently, ILT (instructor-led training) accounts for 87 per cent of the total delivery media in the region. "By 2004, we expect this to drop to 74 per cent as ILT is challenged by the Internet, LANs and CD-ROMs as alternative mediums of delivery," IDC said. The use of the Net as a delivery method is gaining more prominence: e-learning will grow at 94 per cent a year between 1999 and 2004 to reach US$ 235 million by then. "This growth will be mainly driven by Australia, which will account for almost 50 per cent of the e- learning market in the Asia-Pacific region by 2004," Mr Sen added. Business Wire June 22, 2000 Deakin Australia Selects WBT to Deliver TopClass e-Learning to Over 50,000 Users WBT, the leading provider of B2B e-Learning management solutions, announced today that Deakin Australia has selected the company's TopClass(TM) as the platform for delivery of on-line learning to its customers in Australia and the Asia Pacific area. Deakin Australia offers a managed service to train employees of large corporations, governments, professional associations, and institutions. The company is the largest Australian provider of learning and part of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. "Learning via the Internet is rapidly becoming an essential part of our offerings," said Kevin Fuller, Deakin Australia's CEO. "To satisfy the rapid increase in demand from our customers, it is essential to ramp up our online operations fast. WBT's web-based e-Learning technology enables us to create and deliver training more effectively and more efficiently than any alternative. It also permits us to track the entire learning process so we can provide certification services and feedback to our customers." "We welcome Deakin to our expanding list of global companies requiring the very best in e-Learning technology," said Peter Zotto, CEO of WBT. "Their large scale efforts are an ideal match for TopClass' scalable architecture and powerful, world-class infrastructure. WBT will be providing Deakin with the foundation software for this process as well as a broad range of professional services to enable their organization to meet its aggressive implementation schedule." Financial Times London Edition; Financial Times July 10, 2000 Education for busy executives Fast-track executives in Asia, who wish to broaden their management education, but are unwilling to interrupt their careers can take advantage of a new programme designed by Thunderbird School in co- operation with Acer Group, the PC manufacturer. The Master in International Management programme for executives in Asia is open to employees from all companies and industries, with the first module beginning in October. "We are receiving application requests from major industries within Taiwan, as well as from countries in the greater Asia region," says the director of the programme Marie Guarino. Faculty from Thunderbird will supervise the programme which will be divided into 10 modules over a 13-month period. Each module will consist of two parts - an in-class session and an e-learning session. The in-class sessions run for six days and are mainly at the Acer's learning centre, Aspire Academy in Taipei, Taiwan. Two modules will be held at Thunderbird's Glendale campus in Arizona. The e-learning sessions will comprise research, self-study and distance learning technology using computer-based interactive communication. Ms Guarino, director of the programme, says the distance learning element will "enhance and extend" faculty presence. "An important Thunderbird core competence is personal interaction between professors and students. This curriculum allows for personal connection with faculty during the in-class session," she says. "During the distance learning sessions students and faculty build on that personal culture of learning by using enhanced technology to access course information and Thunderbird electronic resources and to communicate interactively with other participants." Thunderbird: www.t-bird.edu ASIA COMPUTER WEEKLY June 26, 2000 E-learning comes to the fore IT managers have to grapple with delivering training electronically even as they deal with staff shortages over the next four years. The issue was discussed by research firm IDC at a recent breakfast forum in Singapore. Sujoy Sen, senior analyst, IT Services Research, IDC Asia/Pacific, revealed that the IT training market is projected to grow from US$981 million today to a value of US$2.5 billion by the year 2004 in the Asia- Pacific excluding Japan, with technology-based training gaining a 23% marketshare by 2004 against 74% share for instructor-led training. "The traditional brick-and-mortar vendors are still dominant, they are increasingly adopting e-learning as part of the training proposition, observed Sen. He also noted that vendor-based certification "is a hot ticket to getting a green card in the US". "Hot" vendors to watch will include Informatics and NIIT/Aptech, "the largest training provider in the Asia-Pacific", followed by Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and Cisco, he said, while "warm" vendors include SmartForce and NetG, ahead of IBM, HP, Sun, Training Partners, and Global Knowledge Network. According to Sen, "turbulent content areas" that will rake in the highest margins include customer relationship management, electronic supply chain management, Internet security, Web server software, middleware and Linux. Interest will be highest in Greater China, with an expected CAGR of 25% in the IT training market by 2004; India with a CAGR of 26%, and Korea with 28% CAGR. However, early adoption of e-learning will come from Australia and New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, said Sen, though he also noted that there are inhibitors such as infrastructure limitations and lack of localised content. THE HINDU July 4, 2000 Can e-learning bridge literacy gaps? This is the age of online learning. Like e-commerce, e-learning is assuming a reality stature, though its likely form and evolution as of now remains unclear. The dot.com culture has come to drive the agenda in the field of education, allowing also for a lot of speculation about the restructuring of learning in the days to come. There is an explosion of activity over the past few years that cuts across geographical, traditional and conceptual barriers. Now is the time for India to play a role in the global economy by revamping its education system at all levels. Though it may not be right to expect quick panaceas for decades of mismanagement of the education system, there is every reason and hope that the IT revolution can play a positive role in this direction. A multi- pronged approach which focusses on developing the student potential, the human resource, which is available in plenty in India, as a parallel goal of the education system can solve the literacy inadequacy to a large extent. The Internet or the World Wide Web promises delivery of the content of education to willing students, regardless of their place of study. This itself is a challenging offer which seems to beckon a magic wand towards India's literacy starved youngsters. Some may say, "Is it not like the French queen's solution of offering cakes to the starving millions when they had no bread"? To them and to ourselves we have to say that we are ready to take the bull by the horns and try to surmount the hurdles that come in the way. How is it possible to provide internet access to all? How do we educate the children and staff to become computer savvy? What is it that the web offers? If study through the web is an extension of distance learning, how do we harness the space in the web for this purpose? Who are the people who are to play a role in this revolution? The next set of questions focusses on the cost of these programmes. Simultaneously, how is one to develop a foolproof system which can assess education delivery? Business guru Peter Drucker has predicted that by 2020 the residential universities with their campuses would have disappeared and may become only an educational tourist potential. The shift in emphasis from teacher to learner, with the latter as customer is catching on in this digital age. The connected world is full of shoppers and very soon students will shop for the best buys from e-learning supermarkets. Schools and universities should be able to provide e-courses on the shelves. How can schools with solid buildings, lectures and schedules gear themselves to this kind of change and reinvent themselves as centres of e- learning with necessary infrastructure and learning packages with skilled staff? Some feel it is easier to run on the same wheels rather than venture into this world of IT. Some are diffident and do not know where to begin. The first step is to realise that a collaborative effort is needed between the educational content of our system and the technological transformations of today so that the knowledge expertise of the schools can be made available to a new range of end users. It calls for proper packaging and distribution system. The motto is thinking education first, then enabling technology. There are many private providers of education such as NIIT and APTECH who have already exploited the advantages of the web and offer courses online or through multi-media and CDs. e- Gurucool.com created by the Delhi-based 'Learning Universe' opened its Chennai chapter recently and this comprehensive education portal on career and education for students "attempts to bridge the gap between classroom-knowledge and the demands of the real world". Such portals with technical expertise should integrate with traditional mainstream education in a spirit of co-operation rather than competition. The question of providing enough bandwith to help all learners have access to Internet is important.This calls for extensive and expansive infrastructure development. There is to be a continuous process of a leapfrogging race between new content and new capacity. Such tie-ups can not only improve quality of the content of educational programmes but also ensure prompt delivery of the same to the end users. Teachers should have access to the technology in a two way configurable manner and manage loads of information. They should be taught to control the vast amount of information and help learners navigate and learn. So content development needs the support of infrastructure to enable it to be stored and be made available whenever needed. An integrated private network for schools to make it hang together and secure the actual learning grid is important. Another misconception that has to be questioned is whether new technologies allow teaching to be improved cost effectively. Investment in infrastructure should be justified as cost effective in improving the teaching/learning situation. The role of educational research has to be properly focussed and should make strong and substantial links between rapid technological changes and improvements in learning and teaching. From right questions to right answers and right interpretations of findings in this present context of flux and change should be the motto. All research in this area should get back to the right people, especially teachers who can transmit it effectively to students. But for this to happen, it should reach governments and authorities to influence policies, which in turn can initiate practice. Internet is a tool and not a means to an end. It must be adapted to different forms of effective teaching. In this context, the role of education planners, like governments, schools both private and state owned, and the ministry concerned, that is those people who can initiate reforms in this area becomes very crucial. These people have to wake up to the opportunities around and respond imaginatively to work a feasible change. This can lead to a system of networked delivered teaching and learning. The upheavel in this area is yet to occur in spite of the integrated infrastructure of satellite and computer technologies which allows transmission of video and data resources. These are dreams of wishful thinking, but the world wouldn't have progressed so far, had not our predeccessors dreamt great dreams. Financial support can be sought from business and corporate houses to make schools become web-enabled. We also hear instances of alumni in and out of the country willing to sponsor web- enabled projects. The AUKBC centre for Internet technologies in Anna University was possible by the philanthropic gesture of an alumnus K.B. Chandrasekhar which has enabled the university to connect with other institutions through the web. Media carries reports of other such gestures by NRIs and alumni to their almamater which can be used for this purpose. All such areas can be tapped for the badly needed resources. Despite the threats and opportunities in this area of borderless education, there have been instances of successful online learning experiences. Liverpool media students had an opportunity to attend an online class conducted by Steven Speilberg when this director discussed current projects and the implication of the new media. Students too had occasion to interact with him. Such cyberclasses can provide a realistic and stimulating demonstration of the potential of the cyber seminar which harnesses the broadband internet access technologies such as digital subscriber line. Collaborative ventures between the university and big television groups with backing from funding groups can help produce multimedia packages. The internet invites the new generation to use it for transactions and for learning. But the information in the web cannot replace the teacher in the classroom. Students do depend on face to face human contact in spite of effective electronic conferencing and web based courses. The role of teachers as enabling students to learn has now to be expanded to be able to decide the curriculum, and transfer it into the web status. They have to respond to the changes round the corner, have to keep themselves abreast and decide the best curriculum for their learners. Their ability to devise tests and grading systems is also to be harnessed. They will have to put course materials on the web, conduct online tests and grade students. The method of delivery is more motivational, guidance based and advisory. They can build their courses into multimedia kits and CDs. E-textbooks, e-magazines are also bound to catch up. But the traditional books are also not to be displaced. Websites can provide information of what books carry. They can lead learners to sources of information. Teachers and students should be oriented to look at the web as an information provider. A student may have downloaded a lot of stuff from the website which becomes meaningful only when he is able to process it and make it his own. This calls for creativity from teachers and students as well. Selectivity, and the ability to sift what is necessary from what is unwanted is also to be developed. The most important requisite is the motivation factor which should prevail from top to bottom, from the people who are responsible for education to be made available through the teachers who transmit it to the learners who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the system. Since all providers of education need to be "quality assessed" and the learners assured of their degrees as authentic and recognised, the accreditation paradigm has to be developed. A major change which assimilates only the relevant and time-tested features of the earlier system but reinvents a new one that is challenging and satisfying has to be forged. Assessment techniques must be able to measure and certify learning and competency. Issues like hours of work, classrooms, teacher-student ratio, may not be as important as whether true learning has occured. Twinning programmes, dual degrees, multiple degrees are all possible in this radical atmosphere which is overtaking us. In this upsurge, the role of the media lies in creating the awareness of the potential and challenges of the world wide web to all concerned and to ignite their positive and creative response. Regional Reports – Europe M2 PRESSWIRE June 29, 2000 easycando chosen for major European e-Learning partnership UK-based Futuremedia PLC announced a major order for the easycando e-Learning portal infrastructure. The $250,000 order to develop the AcademiaGlobal.com portal, includes the provision of e- Learning expertise and ongoing support for the first year. In addition to this, easycando will also benefit from revenue sharing on sales of content and services. AcademiaGlobal.com is a major European learning joint venture between Tracy International and state-owned Portuguese Telecom. Its objective is to become the de facto learning portal for the Portuguese-speaking world, which has the fifth largest language presence on the Internet. To be launched at the end of July, AcademiaGlobal.com will be linked to the easycando.com main site, providing easycando visitors and customers with access to comprehensive Portuguese-specific resources. At the same time, AcademiaGlobal.com visitors and customers will have access to English-specific resources. These connections are key to establishing easycando as the globally networked e-Learning marketplace. AcademiaGlobal.com will also benefit from the powerful web-based capabilities of Centra, a solution that has been integrated into the easycando infrastructure. Centra allows workgroups to collaborate in real time over the Internet, helping to promote learning and knowledge sharing. Pedro Esteves, Senior Partner at Tracy International, said of this major deal: "We selected easycando as our partner based on the operational expertise and flexibility of the easycando infrastructure. We were particularly impressed with its speed and ability to localise easycando into Portuguese, and the partnership approach taken by easycando. We anticipate an ongoing relationship in the development of a common e- Learning marketplace." Elliott Masie, President of the MASIE Center, a U.S.-based e-Learning think tank, recently made the following observations on the Portuguese government's ambitions for e-Learning during a visit to the first e- Learning conference in Portugal, sponsored by AcademiaGlobal in Lisbon: * e-Learning has the ability to provide learning to a broader range of citizens, throughout their lives and regardless of location and can provide strategic training to fill skill gaps in the labour market. * It can provide access to international expertise with a localisation of both language and context. * Portuguese expertise in the provision of subject matter becomes available and exportable to the global economy, thus allowing exploitation of collaborative technology to link learners throughout Portugal and Portuguese speaking countries. The Irish Times July 14, 2000 Delegates told look hard at localising all courses Addressing the assembled delegates at this week's European e-learning seminar in Dublin, industry expert Mr Elliott Masie said the e-learning industry needed to look harder at localising its courses into multiple languages, and speeding up the introduction of video and audio learning in real time. "Until content is available in the native language, your e-learning programme won't take off in that country. Traditionally all learning has been verbal - visual text-based learning is not a natural way to learn. This has to change," Mr Masie said. He said the biggest growth opportunity for e-learning would be through integration with e-business. "The opportunity for customer e-learning is 100 times greater than employee e-learning. The number one reason people return to e-commerce sites is to learn something new. The biggest growth area for e- learning is through integration with e-business." Mr Masie said retailers Eddie Bauer and L L Bean in the US had already invested up to $ 20 million building e-learning into their sites, and Walt Disney's new website would carry an e-learning support feature on every page. He added a key driving factor for e-learning will increasingly be the ability to turn out company-wide products on demand. He cited the case of Time Warner when it failed to prepare its customer service unit for details of its merger with AOL. Customer service agents were swamped with queries about subscriptions but had not been given details of the arrangement. "Organisations want to have e-learning structures in place to educate everyone about what to do the minute a move is made," Mr Masie said. However, location and culture should not be written off for company-wide e-learning implementations, he added. "In some countries if you don't get sent somewhere to learn it is not viewed as a reward," says Mr Masie, president of the Masie Center in the US "The highest probability an employee will attend a training course is if they are located in the company headquarters. The further away an employee is located from head office the, less likely it is they will receive training." Despite all the hype surrounding computer-based training, most employees don't want to take a learning programme at their desks. Research conducted by the Masie Center among 2,474 learning and training professionals found up to 53 per cent would choose to take part in an e-learning activity in a conference room, learning cubicle or at home, instead of at their desktops. Half said learning at the desktop was "distracting", but the same number also said they would be happy to schedule the process during normal working hours. Business Wire June 19, 2000 IQSOFT Co. and John Bryce Ltd. Establish New IT Training—e-Learning Center in Hungary John Bryce Training, a subsidiary of Gilat Communications Ltd. announced that it has reached an agreement to establish a leading IT Training center in Hungary with IQSOFT Co. Ltd., a member of KFKI Computer Systems Co. Ltd Group, a dominant Hungarian systems integrator and software house. The IQSOFT - John Bryce Training Center, based on John Bryce Training's "blended e-Learning Model" will combine live virtual classrooms by Mentergy, Inc. (formerly LearnLinc Corporation) with self- paced, web-based training and traditional training in the classroom. The program is based on John Bryce Training's Be-IT-Pro program. IQSOFT Intelligent Software Computer Technology Development, Manufacturing and Trading Co. Ltd., is a software house with expertise in database management and object oriented technology solutions for large organizations. The new company will service KFKI Group's large installed client base, and will implement the John Bryce Training "Blended-e-learning" model in a wide range of re-training programs for individuals who are seeking to become IT professionals. Eran Lasser, John Bryce Training's Joint General Manager stated: "With our unique approach towards a blended e-learning model, students have the best opportunity to advance and develop at their own pace, while still receiving the additional benefits of traditional classroom-based training. By combining the power of the Internet with our best instructors and methodologies, we help our students to acquire more in-depth training while still getting into the market in a shorter time." Business Journal-Portland June 16, 2000 Cenquest finds the dough to ramp up European strategy Give Cenquest credit: The e-learning pioneer clearly knows how to penetrate an untapped market. Portland-based Cenquest announced last week it has secured some $ 8.25 million in venture-capital funds, including a huge chunk from the noted Swiss outfit Venture Partners. The money will go toward increasing Cenquest's presence in Europe, which industry experts say sustains a potentially huge e-learning market. Toward that end, Jean-Claude Peterschmitt, former chairman of Digital Equipment Corp.'s European board of directors, has joined Cenquest's advisory board. "It's a great opportunity to carve out the next continent we're chasing," said LaVonne Reimer Young, Cenquest's president and CEO. "The Venture Partners firm is very well-connected in Europe to some of the leading universities, as well as some of the major European employers and offices of multinational corporations. It's really an exciting move for us." Cenquest offers more than 100 modules of fully interactive educational material, dividing all courses into single-credit units. It earns revenue by splitting enrollment-based fees with its four partner colleges. Reimer Young said Venture Partners "seems to be involved in most of the major deals that get funded in Europe. I would rate them as a top-tier [financier]." The firm does a lot of work with etrieve, a Portland- based wireless communications provider; Cenquest advisory board member Scott Gibson holds a similar position with etrieve. Other VCs contributing to Cenquest's second funding round include San Francisco-based Hummer Winblad, Palo Alto-based Sevin Rosen and Minneapolis-based Dam Rauscher Wessels. A year ago, Hummer Winbiad and Sevin Rosen contributed to Cenquest's first VC round in which it collected $ 45 million. Cenquest is continuing its hectic operational phase. In its first year, the company focused on building its scalable product development model and its technology infrastructure. In the last four months, it has added an e-commerce site and an "e-learning center," both based on its own proprietary technology platforms. "The next big stage is building up our marketing and sales functions and then, as I said, going into Europe," Reimer Young said. Industry researchers believe Europe's e-learning ground is at least as fertile as North America's. The e- learning software market here is exploding: Technology researcher Kinetic Information estimates today's U.S. market at $ 2 billion. International Data Corp. said the industry will grow to $ 5.5 billion in 2002 and $ 11.4 billion in 2003--up from $ 550 million in 1998. Europe, noted Reimer Young, is attractive because it already accepts the distance-learning concept. INSEAD University, in the UK, is considered "the granddaddy of all distance learning initiatives," said Reimer Young. Cenquest already carries a strong international presence. Before entering its second VC round, it signed deals with companies in southeast Asia and Latin America, as well as Europe. Through its partnership with the University of Adelaide in Australia, it's made huge inroads with companies in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. Reimer Young said a formal launch into those markets should take place this fall. Regional Reports – Latin America Business Wire July 12, 2000 SmartForce Extends the Reach of Its e-Learning Solutions to Latin America and Spain SmartForce announced it has signed a $4.5 million agreement with Sistemas CBT, a Grupo CEPRA company, to market, distribute and support SmartForce e-Learning solutions in Mexico, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Guatemala. This partnership also positions Sistemas CBT as SmartForce's exclusive provider of Spanish language SmartMentoring services for Microsoft Certification training in Latin America, Spain and the United States. Sistemas CBT, a leader in the Mexican IT training industry, will promote the entire range of SmartForce e-Learning solutions, including SmartCourses, SmartMentoring, and SmartSeminars, as well as assessment, tracking and testing capabilities. This is a significant expansion of a partnership that has been in place since 1998 and will focus on the second largest language market in the world, consisting of more than 330 million people in 28 countries. In a recent IDC report entitled, "Language Preferences on the Web," Spanish was identified as the fourth most important language for doing business on the Internet. SmartForce e-Learning enables global companies to train their employees faster and in a cost-effective manner, empowering users to learn anywhere, anytime. Sistemas CBT will play a pivotal role in the strategy to expand SmartForce e-Learning into Spanish-speaking markets by offering online SmartMentoring entirely in Spanish. "SmartForce has proven once again why it is and will continue to be the largest worldwide provider of e- Learning solutions," said Valentin Gonzalez, president and CEO of Sistemas CBT. "We have spent the last two years successfully implementing computer-based training for companies throughout Mexico. With this agreement, we will be able to extend Sistemas CBT's reach beyond Mexico and provide localized e- Learning solutions to customers in all of the Spanish language markets, worldwide." "SmartForce is excited to join Sistemas CBT in bringing the power of e-Learning to the Spanish- speaking world," said SmartForce CEO Greg Priest. "This partnership extends our vision of a fully interconnected, scalable, e-Learning infrastructure designed to prepare the global workforce to compete in the New Economy, while providing us with an extraordinary opportunity to further extend our reach into Latin America and Spain. Additionally, we will be able to address the training needs of the 30 million Spanish speaking individuals in the United States and provide enhanced services to our multi-national, corporate customers with training audiences in Spanish speaking markets."
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