WORKING CONFERENCE
 
 
ELECTRONIC COMMERCE
in the Framework of
Mediterranean Countries’
Development
 
 
ABSTRACTS
   
 
HORIZONTAL ISSUES IN
ELECTRONIC COMMERCE
 
  1. Next Stop on the Information Superhighway: The Open Information Society
  2. Deploying Diversity
 
 
Next Stop on the Information Superhighway:
The Open Information Society
 
Prof. Niv Ahituv
The Marko and Lucie Chaoul Chair for Research in Information Evaluation,
Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, Israel
 

The time will come when the cost of protecting information will rise so high, and computer networks will proliferate so widely, that individuals and organizations will for the most part give up the effort to protect their private databases.  By then, electronic information will be accessible to everybody, be it an individual, a firm or a government.  This eventuality will mark a new era for society -- the open information era.  After accommodating to this change, society will become an open information society (OIS).

The lecture explains why an open information society is inevitable and how this stage of development will be reached.  In particular, the implications for business processes and management are discussed.  The claim presented is that shared information may lead business to one of two extremities:  global monopolies or much more creative and sophisticated management.  As far as relationships between individuals and organizations are concerned, the OIS may generate either a new feudalism, in which the organization fully controls its employees ("1984" augmented with information technology) or better and improved processes of recruitment and human communications.
 
 
 

Deploying Diversity
 
Prof. Bill Wadge and M. C. Schraefel
Computer Science Department, University of Victoria, Canada

 
It seems obvious at first site that there are serious obstacles to the deployment of electronic commerce in the Mediterranean region.

For one thing, most of the Mediterranean countries are considered somewhat behind in information technology. Even the most advanced states of central Europe are lagging behind North America in terms of Internet connectivity and use of the Web (as Bill Gates recently reminded us all).

Secondly, the Mediterranean region, though geographically compact, is one of the most diverse areas in the world - in terms of languages, cultures, education systems and national boundaries. By contrast, North America is politically united by the free trade agreements and by the dominance of a single language, English, and a single culture, US.

These appearances, however, are somewhat misleading. For one thing, the technological lead of the United States is relatively recent, and may not necessarily be that long lived. Europe (and the UK in particular) led in the development of computing machinery for literally centuries: from Pascal's first hand calculator, through Babbage's engines, up to the Colossus (the first electronic digital computer) and the EDVAC (the first stored program computer). The Web itself is a European invention. Of course the Web was quickly appropriated by the US software giants, but its European origin could be a sign that the American grip on information technology is starting to weaken.

Even more important, I think, is the fact that the evolving Web technology could favor regions like the Mediterranean. I want to suggest that the move to electronic commerce will not only make it easier to overcome the obstacles encountered in a diverse region, but that it will make it possible for these regions to make use of some fundamental advantages inherent in diversity itself.

There is no doubt that diversity can be very difficult and expensive to handle using traditional physical (i.e. print) media. Consider the work involved in preparing even a brochure for distribution in the Mediterranean region. Even if we only take language into account, we have to prepare and layout a different edition for each language, and decide how many of each to produce. If in addition we want to take other dimensions into account, for example, the readers gender, social class, profession, level of technical expertise, or geographic location, we could be faced with literally thousands of different editions of the same document.

In principal, electronic media can overcome these problems. Web pages are produced on demand, so there is no need to plan print runs. Furthermore, pages can be generated automatically by software which takes as input the various parameters (language, gender, expertise, etc.) and produces a page specifically tailored to the readers point of view.

In practice, however, this sort of multi-marketing is not easy to engineer. Indeed, there are very few genuinely multilingual sites on the Web - even big international corporations typically offer only the main pages in other languages. The problem is that HTML itself was never designed to support this sort of diversity. If you want five different versions of a site, you usually end up maintaining five different sets of HTML source files, which inevitably drift out of consistency.

The authors and their collaborators are currently developing an extension of HTML which makes practical the development of multidimensional multiversion sites. The extension, called IHTML [3,4] (Intensional HTML) is based on Intensional Logic - the logic of alternative states of affairs or "possible worlds". (Intensional Logic is, of course, a Mediterranean invention - Aristotle identified the basic concepts more than 2000 years ago). The intensional approach to versioning was originally developed for software configuration [1], then adapted to webware configuration and to nontechnical documents [2].

The basic idea of IHTML is that authors can write source that is at least to some extent generic - valid for whole classes of versions. Also, IHTML allows pages to be split into small units, so that only the parts that actually vary need alternate source files. We will demonstrate the prototype site developed by T. Yildirim [3].

We should not, however, let our concern with the technical side of electronic commerce obscure the human side, because it is in this area the Mediterranean is, in some very important ways, already ahead of North America. The people in the Mediterranean region have the great advantage of living in a very diverse part of the world.

For example, in the US it is quite unusual for even (or especially) an educated person to gain a working knowledge of a second language. And someone who knows a third and a fourth is considered a genius - but also an eccentric, because this sort of achievement is hardly ever rewarded. In the Mediterranean, it is quite normal for educated people to know English hardly unusual for to speak other languages as well. In fact, my experience with students from this part of the world is that their written technical English is noticeably better than that of native speakers!

Furthermore, people in the Mediterranean have experience with different cultures and traditions and learn not to take their own conventions for granted. We all know hilarious stories about culturally clueless Americans completely misunderstanding what is going on around them.

In other words, the Web and related technology will make it possible to deploy diversity - and the Mediterranean has exactly the kind of diversity which will be so important in Electronic Marketplace of the near future.

References

[1] J. Plaice and W. Wadge, "A New Approach to Version Control", IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 19(3), March 1993, pp268-276.

[2] M. C. Schraefel, "Talking with Antigone", PhD Dissertation, University of Victoria (Canada), 1997.

[3] T. Yildirim, "Intensional HTML", MSc Thesis, Computer Science Department, University of Victoria (Canada), 1997.

[4] T. Yildirim and W. Wadge, "Intensional HTML", proceedings of the tenth annual International Symposium on Languages for Intensional Programming (ISLIP 97), Computer Science Department, University of Victoria (Canada), 1997.
 
 
 

CURRENT COUNTRY ACTIVITIES
AND FUTURE PLANS
 
  1. Current Spanish Activities and Future Plans Toward Electronic Commerce
  2. The Internet and the Future of Electronic Commerce in Turkey
  3. The Status of Electronic Commerce in Belgium
  4. Potential Regional Opportunities for Electronic Commerce: Palestinian Perspective
  5. Latest Developments of Electronic Commerce in Italy from the Observatory of Chambers of Commerce
  6. Electronic Commerce in Greece: Present State and Future Potential
  7. EDI and Electronic Commerce: An Overview for Portugal
  8. Electronic Commerce In Israel
  9. Electronic Commerce in the Netherlands - An Overview
  10. The Current Status and Future of Electronic Commerce in the UK
  11. Information Management and Electronic Commerce. The Jordanian Efforts
  12. Electronic Commerce in a Developing Country
  13. Electronic Commerce - Current Activities and Future Plans in Malta: Perspectives of a Trade Promotion Organisation
 
 
Current Spanish Activities and Future Plans Toward Electronic Commerce
 
Mr. Francisco López Crespo
Ministry of Public Administrations

 
The trust on IT seems to  grow up very fast in Spain,  what could be considered a promising fact  in the future development of the Electronic Commerce. For example, Spain shows a very  high  ratio of  the number of electronic cash cards by population; a recent report shows that  the electronic commerce will increase 89% by the year 2000.

The recent changes in the legal framework includes issues directly related whit the use of information technologies. That is the case of the Data Protection Law (Organic Law 5/92, LORTAD) and the Criminal Law (Organic Law 10/95).

In the Public Sector, from 1984  taxes, social security, national budget and accounting informatics systems, between many other,  are  having strong impact in the decision making process. In the period 1989-1995, the ratio computer terminals by 100 civil servants multiplied by 5.

Besides these classic applications, the connectivity ratio goes up to the 80% in some Ministries; this fact allows the success of new systems. It is the case of  ISTMO, X.400 based  administrative e-mail,  has 20.000 users in april 1997. And there  are 200 official web addresses in the Hipercentre of Administration Information, HIA, from Central, Regional and Local Governments.

From 1992, the Law 30/92 promotes the use of the  electronics, informatics and telematics media in the administrative procedures between the Spanish Administration and the citizens, individuals and enterprises. As a result, telematics systems allows the registration  of workers in the Social Security Data Base; In the same telematic way, there is interchange of data between  Customs Authority and enterprises concerning  import/export activities. From January 1998, the interchange of census data between municipalities and the Statistics National Office shall  be  made trough telematics media. Various municipalities have implemented advanced systems to provide on line services to citizens, as can be seen in Barcelona and Villena.

The Highest Council of Informatics, CSI, from 1983  has  promoted the application of european and international standard, and the participation of the spanish actors in the pan-european telematics application. When necessary, has encouraged the  creation and the implementation of national  standards and methodologies. The goal behind that is  to facilitate the use of IT in the  decision making process and to make easiest the interchange of data at the lowest cost possible. Examples  of the activity at the national level are the Local Area Interconexion Plan, The General Administrative Data Model INDALO, etc. In all these  activities, the CSI  follows very closely the IT European Union harmonization and standardization guidelines.

Security is a main concern. The Spanish activities pay close attention to the  European Commission INFOSEC  initiatives and the Recommendation of the OCDE regarding Cryptographic Policy.  The CSI has developed MAGERIT, an authomaticed Risk Analyses  Methodology.  There are advanced studies related with Trusted Third Parties development.

Further developments includes
 

 
 
 
The Internet and the Future of Electronic Commerce in Turkey
 
Dr. M. Ufuk Caglayan
Dept. of Computer Engineering, Bogazici University, Turkey

 
Computer networks and Internet are very new in Turkey. Although some academic and private networks existed prior to 1993, they have not been in the wide spread use and did not affect a significant portion of everyday life in Turkey. With the introduction of Internet and TCP/IP based computer networks in April 1993, a new era has begun in Turkey. This has also coincided with the fast commercialization of Internet in US and in Europe.

Turkey had a very weak telecommunications infrastructure before 1984. With the opening of the telecom market in 1984 to foreign companies which would invest in the manufacturing of telecom equipment in Turkey, the situation has improved greatly. Very advanced, state-of-the art digital equipment have been set up. Adoption of GSM as a standard in last few years resulted in the explosive growth of subscribers. Currently Turkey has about 17M ordinary telephone subscribers. It could easily be said that Turkey has truly benefited from new telecommunication and information technologies. Therefore, it is expected that the adoption and wide spread use of Internet and related computer network technologies will also be achieved in Turkey in a very short run. Considerable work has already been done in this area, bypassing all the experiences of other countries that spent considerable resources for similar purposes. Perhaps this is the advantage of late entry in a very new market.

Following the entry of Internet and related information technologies into Turkey around 1993, private sector companies have moved swiftly to set up facilities to provide Internet services. The capitalization is still small compared to other growth businesses such as tourism, textiles etc., but a number of very young and dynamic companies have been set up. In the meantime, academia supported the wide spicad use by initially supporting access to Internet services.

Electronic commerce activity is very recent in Turkey and it is inescapably related to the arrival of Internet. Turkish companies are very eager to use Internet and electronic commerce since most of them think that this will open up a huge market that was not accessible to them before.

The activities that are currently being carried out in the area of Internet and electronic commerce by financial organizations, health organizations, manufacturers, public sector, etc., in Turkey will be described in detail in this article.
 
 
 

The Status of Electronic Commerce in Belgium
both Currently and in the Future:
Report from the Spring 97 roadshow ‘ICTforSMEs’
YOUR SME WINS ON THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY
 
Mr. Karel Uyttendaele
FABIT Information Technologies Fabrimental, Belgium
 
 
In a blitz co-operative effort Fabrimetal, CRIF-WTCM and the Belgian Chambers of Commerce and Industry reached 1600 SME managers with a promotion campaign concentrating on Internet and on E-Commerce. Fabrimetal is convinced that SMEs should not wait  any longer to get acquainted with Internet. The G7 and the EC believe that the accelerated introduction of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at SMEs can stimulate new economic growth.

With this initiative Belgium operates at the forefront of the diffusion of ICT for SMEs. Fabrimetal and CRIF-WTCM make their know-how available to any other Belgian or European SME support organisation pursuing the same purpose.

Before participation to the information sessions only 25% of the participants made use of Internet. An exit survey two weeks after the sessions indicated that the Internet penetration increased to 75%. SMEs were recommended not to wait any longer, to accept some growing pains and to get started immediately in small, risk-free steps in order to get acquainted with the new medium. The use of hypertrendy theories was banned. Attention was also brought to other positive effects of the Information Society in favour of SMEs, beyond the availability of ICTs: access the capital, information, top-educated employees, fast decision-taking, a low cost structure. SMEs located in peripheral areas of the country can now reap the benefits of the Information Society and make a quantum leap forward.

At the beginning of the sessions skeptical questions dominated (my privacy?!…); as the weeks passed by constructive questions proliferated (how do I join the Information Highway?).  Sustained missionary work remains indicated to convince SMEs of the benefits of co-operating with complementary colleagues. Same for the stimulation for more entrepreneurship for students graduating from university or high-school. If the 185000 Belgian SMEs massively introduce ICTs a shortage of ‘human capacity to deliver’ (IT technicians!) will arise. The authorities need to move fast with the simplification of the administration and the dematerialisation of the paper trade documents. Removing these obstacles may lead to more jobs.
 
 
 

Potential Regional Opportunities for Electronic Commerce:
Palestinian Perspective
 
Dr. Saleem Zougbi
Dept. of Computer Science, Bethlehem University and Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, The Palestinian National Authority

 
The intensive work that has been growing in the Middle eats regarding development is still having a great momentum. The political development initiated a huge demand on planning and development in general, and on economic development in particular. For this reason, the Palestinian territories have been very keen about getting involved in the data communications. In addition regional cooperation necessitated the need to intensify the effort to network, link and integrate this information technology component in most of the development projects planned.
This presentation focuses on the following:
General Considerations: General analysis of economic development in electronic commerce and data communications. This includes:

  1. The factors that influence the economic development as related to electronic data communication.
  2. The best and most reasonable trends of work in data communications contributing to the success of economic development.
  3. An economic model where data communications would be best employed for better development.
Other influences:  The factors mentioned  will be directly affected by some important issues. From these are the following:
  1. Legal and political issues
  2. Social issues
  3. Financial issues
Skills Needed for Development: Any development in this line would have to require certain skills, not only for planning but also for implementing them. The following are the most important ones.
  1. Technical connectivity
  2. Marketing and economic activities
  3. Regional co-ordination
Possible Problems: Some problems are expected to arise. During the implementation of projects designed around electronic commerce and data communications.  These are the most possible problems that may arise.
  1. Government  protocols and non-technical obstacles
  2. Integral business cooperation
  3. Lack of financial planning and consolidation of investors (both: public and private)
Recommendations for Regional Project Ideas: Considering the Mediterranean region, and countries involved around it, and considering points presented above,  some ideas for regional projects could be identified from this. These ideas will be presented as a conclusion to this presentation.
 
 
 
Latest Developments of Electronic Commerce in Italy from the
Observatory of Chambers of Commerce
 
Mr. Marco Lopriore
Unioncamere - Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Belgium

 
This presentation will concentrate on the evolution of electronic commerce in Italy seen from the observatory of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and focus on the current activities and future plans of electronic commerce in:

It will stress that electronic commerce offers many opportunities for SME’s but that large scale awareness campaigns and deployment of best practices are needed for creating a critical mass of enterprises joining in electronic commerce.
 
 
 
Electronic Commerce in Greece:
Present State and Future Potential
 
Prof. Georgios I. Doukidis
Department of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece

 
Electronic Commerce (EC) is about doing business electronically. It is based on the electronic processing and transmission of data, including text, sound and video. It encompasses many diverse activities including electronic trading of goods and services, on-line delivery of digital content, electronic fund transfers, electronic share trading, electronic bills of lading, commercial auctions, collaborative design and engineering, on-line sourcing, public procurement, direct consumer marketing and after-sales service. It involves both products (e.g. consumer goods, specialised medical equipment) and services (e.g. information services, financial and legal services); traditional activities (e.g. healthcare, education) and new activities (e.g. virtual malls) [European Union, 1997].

It is widely recognised that EC-practices contribute to the development of cooperative relationships, aiming at mutual benefits for both the seller and the buyer (‘win-win’ relationships). As private and public enterprises worldwide re-examine the way they conduct business, EC becomes a common business practice in most advanced countries [Doukidis et. al., 1996a]. In some countries, like Singapore [King & Kosynski, 1990], EC is used successfully for a number of years at a national level to establish the infrastructure for a modern trading country. In others, like Denmark [Danish Ministry of IT and Research, 1996] EC is seen as a prerequisite for national development, and coordinated actions are under way with specific timetable and goals.

Greece, due to its strategic geographical positioning and strong shipping industry, can play an important role in the field of Commerce and Transport as it was the case for thousands of years. The wide acceptance of EC technologies and practices may result in an overall competitive advantage at a national level, thus enabling the active participation of the country in the modern business environment of the global trading. However, the low rate of innovative IT adoption by Greek companies [Doukidis et. al. 1992] in relation to the small size of Greek companies that presents important peculiarities in their IS strategies [Doukidis et. al., 1996b] imposes special attention and requires focused national initiatives.

If we examine EC at a national level, from the stakeholders perspective, we get a rich picture of what is the EC-market now and how it will evolve in the future. Specifically, stakeholders in a National EC environment include:

All these key players are effected by the European Union (EU), which is undertaking important initiatives on EC [European Commission, 1997], as well as other international organisations (like OECD, UN) that are very active in EC because they recognise its importance for local and international trading, as well as for global development.

In the following paragraphs, the situation in Greece as concerning EC is described. Specifically, all EC stakeholders are examined as well as some recent initiatives and, finally, a framework for the development of a national EC-strategy is proposed.
 
 
 

EDI and Electronic Commerce: An Overview for Portugal
 
Prof. J. Dias Coelho
Ministry of Science and Technology, Portugal

 
An overview of the several initiatives regarding the development of EDI and Electronic Commerce in Portugal is presented. Attention is also paid to prospective uses of EDI in public administration. The role of the private sector and business associations in the development of Electronic Commerce is emphasized.
 
 
 

Electronic Commerce In Israel
 
Dr. Gady Golan
Center for Technological Education and the Open University of Israel, Israel

 
Electronic commerce has been developed in recent years to a major component in the business arena. At first one could recognize what we call "closed" societies for very deterministic and specific operations such as SWIFT which is a special network for electronic fund transfer between banks all around the globe. The second important development in the electronic commerce field was EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) used as service between trading partners. With EDI a business document can be created as an electronic file in the sender’s system, sent via any of several possible transmission modes, and processed directly by the recipient computer. EDI documents include for example: purchase orders, invoices, letters of credit, tariff filing, tax returns, insurance claims, financial reports, etc. The third mile stone in the development of electronic commerce was in the financial services field. Banks enabled customers to perform all of their own banking investing and purchasing financial products from home or work. These services included for example: cheque balances, money transfers, scan saving and loan rates, applications for loans, direct payments from private accounts without having to leave home or the office, etc. A more promising offer to customers will be in a form of true free market competition such as stock market trade, foreign currency exchange rate etc. A standard micro computer or even a simple terminal with adequate software an on-line facilities are required for these services. The most "open" society for electronic commerce, as for today, is the Internet. Holders of credit cards and/or bank accounts or "digital cash" are able to buy and sell any product or service. The Internet is public domain and as such it is an open environment for any client over the globe. No pre-requirements are necessary in order to be able to use the Internet while most of the digital traffic is carried out on public lines. The main concerns of clients in the electronic commerce regime are: convenience, security and privacy. The main concerns of merchants are: customer reliability, company’s reputation, availability of digital electronic services, security and data integrity.
The purpose of this summary is to give a general overview on the: threats, vulnerabilities, security and privacy services defending against attacks on the digital media (mainly Internet). General electronic commerce is asking the client to browse in an on-line catalog in order as if in a virtual shop. Then the client selects items to be purchased. At that time an order form is appearing on the screen containing the list of the required items, their prices, total price including shipping, handling, taxes, etc., and the client is asked to select his means of payment. After a payment card was selected two authorization means are then required: A. Checking that the card holder is a legitimate user of the of that payment card, B. The merchant can accept the payment by a card (as an electronic substitute for the payment brand, like VISA, ISRACARD, etc.). This is what we call the certification process. Payment information sent from a customer to merchant contains order information, personal data and payment instructions. If  any of these components is altered during the transition process the transaction is not going to be processed properly. In order to eliminate this potential source of fraud and/or error one needs means to ensure that the content of all orders and payment messages, received, match the content of the sent messages. The payment information integrity can be ensured by the use of digital signature. This is done by a procedure called message digest while a unique value is generated for a message, which is a function of the message content, by passing the message through a one way cryptographic function. In order to encourage electronic commerce using payment cards or exposing bank accounts it will be necessary to assure the client that the payment information is safe enough and accessible only by the intended recipient. Confidentiality is ensured by the use of any type of a message encryption. In some electronic commerce applications there exist special solutions to privacy problems, called "The dual signature concept". A purchase message can be divided into two parts, where the terms of the offer are visible only to the merchant and the details of the payment card or bank account are visible only to the bank. Each part of the information is then signed separately and sent to the relevant destination without exposing the account numbers.
 
 
 

Electronic Commerce in the Netherlands - An Overview
 
Dr. A.E.C. (André) de Meulder
Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands
 
 
New prospects through electronic commerce
Electronic commerce is a new term first coined in the United States and Canada. To many, it is synonymous with commercial transactions via the Internet, yet its coverage is far wider. Electronic commerce in fact includes all commercial transactions carried out electronically to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes.

Depending on the nature of the transactions involved, electronic commerce can be divided into the following categories:
 

The rise of the Internet and the public debate on 'electronic highways' has given a major boost to electronic commerce. Throughout the world, politicians and captains of industry are realising that the speed with which the information society can be realised is crucial for future international competitiveness, and hence for future prosperity and employment. Electronic commerce is one of the main areas of application for the information society.

Global sales of goods and services via the Internet during 1996 were estimated at USD 2-3 billion . Conservative growth figures predict that worldwide Internet sales will reach USD 200-300 billion (1% of global GNP) by the year 2000. The number of commercial websites is also growing exponentially. In July 1996 there were 95,000 such sites worldwide.
 

Electronic commerce offers companies the opportunity to profile themselves globally, thereby substantially increasing their market at little extra cost. Small companies in particular can benefit from this. Thanks to electronic interaction with their clients, manufacturers can obtain immediate and detailed information about the needs and wishes of individual consumers. Electronic commerce furthers the move towards mass individualisation. It can also reduce stockpiling, advertising and transport costs. Some goods and services (e.g. music, information, software) no longer even require a physical distribution apparatus. However, the biggest gains can be made when business processes are redesigned in conjunction with the use of electronic commerce. Simply replacing paper-based systems with electronic systems will produce only limited structural advantages. The strategic advantage of electronic commerce lies instead in the effective use of information as a production factor.

The rapid growth of the Internet is the main driving force behind the growth of electronic commerce. So far, however, it has not been the users who have made money out of the Internet so much as those who have sold them the necessary tools (hardware and software retailers, among others, and so-called 'web consultants' who organise company websites). This is expected to change very quickly. The potential inherent in the Internet is giving a huge boost to new commercial activity. The United States, for example, already has some 250,000 'cyber companies'. In the Netherlands, around 12% of companies is connected to the Internet. Among companies with more than 100 employees, this proportion is even higher at over 60%, equal to approximately 75,000 connections.
 
 
 

The Current Status and Future of Electronic Commerce in the UK
 
Mr. Gordon Manning
Dept. of Trade and Industry, UK
 
 
DTI ROLE
One of the principal objectives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to help British business compete successfully - in the UK, in Europe and in global markets. Industrial competitiveness is a fundamental key to the success of British companies of every size and in every sector. One way in which the DTI helps encourage this process is by assisting organisations to strengthen their innovation base, helping them to develop new ideas into effective and profitable business concepts. Within this process, the DTI believes that the effective and efficient use of information technology systems is vitally important. The innovative use of IT within business, and its spread from the computer rooms (of distant memory) to almost every office, and into many homes, has been a key factor in increasing the competitiveness of UK business. In maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of IT systems, however, attention has to be paid to their security and that of the information they handle. The very nature of the success of IT has brought with it attendant risks, such as the vulnerability of data to threats from computer failure and interference from both internal and external forces. The increasing dependence of business on IT systems brings information security measures sharply into focus. Information security, therefore, becomes an increasingly important business requirement.

INFORMATION SOCIETY
The emerging information society has brought with it new challenges for business and for the DTI. Whilst the DTI has a clear role in actively encouraging business to 'get on board' and become acquainted with the new services on offer (including connecting to the Internet), we must, at the same time, be honest about the increasing threats such new connectivity brings. Clearly we have no desire to see businesses, especially SMEs, lose out (or even go bust) through inappropriate, and insecure, use of these new technologies. Conversely, however, we also have a role to encourage business to avail themselves of their new opportunities and not to become inefficient, and non - competitive, through fear of connecting up. The G7 summit in Brussels last year devoted a large proportion of its time to the Global Information Infrastructure (GII). I n doing so it identified security and privacy as 'show-stop issues' that would need to be addressed, and indeed solved, before business and citizens would have the confidence to embrace fully the new technology on offer.

In our view, the challenge of the information society makes it even more important for firms and organisations to implement comprehensive, forward-thinking and innovative information security policies that deal with the threats from the new technologies on offer.  Over the past 20 years information technology, or IT, has transformed everyday life. Whenever we obtain money from a cash machine at a bank or building society, whenever our purchases are passed through the laser scanner at a supermarket checkout, whenever we pay for a  purchase with a credit or debit card, whenever a travel agent books a holiday for us with a major travel company, or whenever we make a call from a mobile phone, we are using powerful examples of modern information technology.

Government too has made extensive use of information technology, which now supports services to the public across the full range of government functions. However, unlike the examples from the private sector, government information technology is usually hidden from public view. In most cases, citizens or businesses who deal with government are expected to fill in paper forms and send or take them to a place where the information they contain can be fed into a computer. After processing, the response from government is printed out on paper and sent back through the post.

Information technology now makes it possible for citizens and businesses to deal directly with government if they wish to do so. This will give them access to services with quicker-  sometimes immediate - responses, which are available in more convenient places and at more convenient times. To draw a parallel with the private sector: to withdraw money from a bank or building society, it was once necessary, to fill in a  checque or a withdrawal slip, and take it to a counter when the bank/building society was open. Now, for those customers who choose, money can be withdrawn from a cash machine without form-filling, at any time of the day or night, seven days a week. The UK Government wants to bring the same or better levels of convenience to the services that it delivers directly to individual citizens and to businesses in the UK.
The UK is considering ways that these services can be implemented across the UK. These services include providing information, collecting taxes, granting licenses, administering  regulations, paying grants and benefits, collecting and analysing statistics, and procuring goods and services. The Government intends to collaborate with Local Authorities in the delivery of services wherever possible. The strategy also includes new ways of working and sharing information between government departments and agencies which would improve efficiency.

The new forms of service delivery will be more efficient, more accessible and more convenient and they will also appear quite different from the arrangements we are all used to. They will only work if a substantial proportion of the public (both businesses and citizens) find the new forms of service delivery attractive. The Government wants, as far as is practicable, to tailor the new types of service to public demand.
 
 
 

Information Management and Electronic Commerce
The Jordanian Efforts
 
Dr. Fadhl Sweidan
National Information Center, Jordan
 
 
Information is considered an important resource that enhances the development process in society. Computerized information systems and appropriate communication infrastructure that facilitates accessibility through networks are the main components for socio-economic development.

Towards this end Jordan has embarked on an ambitious project to establish a National Information System (NIS) which aims at developing information sources at the national level and setting up networks linking information generating centers thus ensuring the flow of information to users in Jordanian community. The National Information Center (NIC) entrusted to establish the NIS.

There are several initiatives in Jordan creating awareness in the field of EDI, but additional efforts are needed, especially in the financial, legal and security issues.
 
 
 

Electronic Commerce in a Developing Country
 
Dr. Nadia Hegazi
Electronics Research Institute, Egypt
 
 
Electronic commerce is a very important tool for going business on the Internet. This new way is currently used in developed countries due to the fact that the culture of using credit cards is wide spread.   Developing countries have to follow the footsteps of developed countries and have to seek their help in joining the Information society and setting the infrastructure.  Egypt has  already developed the infrastructure for the Internet although the bandwidth may need to be expanded to allow for better use of the Net. Some important project have been developed so far and we expect improvements day after day.
 
 
 
Electronic Commerce - Current Activities and Future Plans in Malta:
Perspectives of a Trade Promotion Organisation
 
Mr. Anton J. Said
Business Information and Technology,
Malta External Trade Corporation (METCO),
Malta

 
In October 1994, the Office of the National Strategy for Information Technology of Malta submitted a plan of action to the Government outlining several recommendations. The proposals addressed several strategic issues at the macro and micro levels such as infrastructure, legislation and the creation of an IT culture within the Maltese society. It also covered several areas such as health, education, finance and trade. The groundwork for some of these initiatives such as education and infrastructure started right away. In January this year, the newly elected Maltese Government set up a committee to revive and review the 1994 recommendations. The new committee continued emphasis on the importance of sectoral cohesion through IT with particular reference to the manufacturing and services industries. To reach this objective in the minimum of time it was recommended that a pilot Trade oriented network be set up involving players such as the Malta External Trade Corporation (METCO - the national Trade promotion Organisation), the Malta Freeport, Customs and Excise, industrial estates and banks.

METCO is concurrently addressing the Electronic Commerce issue from its several accepted functions such as marketing, information transfer and cooperative processes. METCO was in fact instrumental in establishing Malta’s presence on the Internet and has since developed a strategic plan that aims to assist Maltese industry prepare for the global marketplace. METCO’s unique interface with industry at the enterprise level promises success and has in fact started preliminary implementation of its various initiatives.

The challenges ahead are many and are mainly issues of national infrastructure, of resources - both human and financial, and of awareness.

Notwithstanding this, both Government as well as METCO are committed to gain strategic advantages for Malta through the use IT.
 
 
 
 

WORKSHOP A:  TOURISM
 
  1. DM On Line - Esprit Project  22288
  2. Introducing Strategies in Electronic Commerce for SME’s
  3. Electronic Commerce: New Trends in Tourism
  4. Electronic Commerce in a Mobile Environment
  5. Electronic Commerce in the Economic Region of Balkans
  6. Mediterranean on Line
  7. Standardisation & Electronic Commerce
 
 
DM On Line - Esprit Project  22288
 
Ms. Sarah Graham
The Future Foundation, UK

 
The Direct Marketing Association in the UK, in conjunction with the Direct Marketing Association in Holland are leading a project entitled DM On Line. The research project will investigate the applications of information technology and electronic commerce for small to medium sized enterprises using or supplying direct marketing on a global basis.

Globally, some $300 billion is spent on direct marketing activity and many new types of companies are using direct marketing for the first time. These would include travel and tourism, financial services, business applications, governance, charities as well as the traditional home shopping and catalogue companies.

In the United Kingdom, over 50% of marketing expenditure is "response orientated" using direct marketing techniques.

At the heart of direct marketing is the use of information and data, and the study will look at how information technology and electronic commerce can improve competitiveness, particularly for SMEs.

It is anticipated that the first stage of the project will be completed by the end of this year.
 
 

 
Introducing Strategies in Electronic Commerce for SME’s
 
Dr. Luis Gallud
FUNDESCO, Spain

 
This paper deals with an EU-sponsored initiative that aims at increasing awareness among SMEs about the potential benefits that can be found in electronic commerce. It also attempts to identify which organizational issues are acting as brakes to the incorporation of new technologies in the small and medium-sized enterprise. Based on the outcome of a pilot experience to be made with real businesses in Spain, Germany and Austria, a wide effort diffusing electronic commerce realities is proposed here in order to demystify its practice and to show its affordability and advantages.
Up to now, small and medium-sized businesses located in peripheral regions far away from the big market centres have traditionally enjoyed an isolation that made possible their symbiotic relationship with tiny local markets, which in turn allowed the very survival of those businesses. Furthermore, absence of real competence from abroad let the local entrepreneur forget about those organizational issues so important in any other context such as, for instance, product and service innovation, customer service, productivity levels, marketing strategies, and so on.
Alongside these internal constraints that are inherently rooted to the nature of the SME contemplated here, we can find additional structural limitations due mainly to existing hardships in outward transport and communications in the region. All those factors when considered together contribute to prevent SMEs from growing beyond a maximal size that is finally determined by the volume of the local market from where their clientele is extracted.
If an external demand, outside the region, could be created and it were possible to channel it towards the business community in the zone by using, for instance, the new information and communication technologies (ICT), then it might be also possible to foster the growth of those small enterprises, which in turn would produce a strengthening in local economies and creation of new jobs.
After carrying out an analysis of user needs in the regions where the pilot application was to be run, the proposed telematic solution was finally defined as an electronic mall, that is a typical client-server application on Internet, where many small businesses can offer in just one site their products and services to all internauts.
Early results of the project have also shown that the proposed telematic solution is perfectly affordable to a typical SME. In this phase, technical requirements, associated costs and the average purchasing power in SMEs were brought together and a first conclusion was drawn showing that the benefit-cost ratio is quite reasonable, and the financial risk perfectly acceptable to most SMEs.
As far as we know the main barrier that prevents e-commerce from becoming an everyday practice among SMEs is their lack of clear information about this issue. The new technologies in which e-commerce is based are viewed by SMEs as expensive and unnecessary, and it has been found that small entrepreneurs prefer most often to stick to their traditional commercial practices. A commonly accepted idea is that e-commerce is something conceived to match the needs of corporations, and totally out of the reach of small businesses.
It is absolutely necessary to stress this point by making an important effort diffusing the outcome of this initiative and others of the like through papers, seminars, conferences, workshops, etc. specifically addressing small entrepreneurs. We want to prove with the practical results of the pilot project that e-commerce is a feasible solution for SMEs matching their needs.
 
 
 

Electronic Commerce: New Trends in Tourism
 
Mr. Fermin Calvo
Instituto Balear de Inovacion Tecnologica - Govern Balear, Spain
 
 
At present emerging electronic markets are mainly organised and promoted by big companies, the Tourist Small and Medium Enterprises (T - SME’s) have only limited opportunities to independently organise their market presence in a electronic commerce environment. Inside Balearic Islands the special condition of our economy show us that in our case, we cannot think about a solution for T - SME’s, we need to find a solution for Small and Micro Enterprises.

The Balearic experience:

Evolution from the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) towards the Electronic Commerce through Internet:
 

 
 
Electronic Commerce in a Mobile Environment
 
Mr. Matti Karlsson
Nokia Mobile Phones, Finland

 
Many analysts forecast that electronic commerce will emerge on the mass market during the few next years. This is a consequence of technological development enabling secure transactions over different networks and the easiness and cost effectiveness of electronic money handling compared to conventional cash based operations.

On the other hand, mobile cellular phones have become commonplace within few years of intensive growth. The terminal prices have reached an affordable level for most citizens in the western world. This development is still expected to continue such that equipment and especially operating prices will still go down and the penetration of personal mobile phones will increase within the next few years.

Simultaneously, as mobile communication technology has reached a firm position in the developing information infrastructure, it is also moving from voice calls towards wireless data communications with an increasing speed. GSM network is inherently digital and thus easily adopts data transmissions. As of today, 9,6 kbit/s transmission speed is used in GSM systems, but this is expected to increase to n*9,6 kbit/s and n*14,4 kbit/s (n=1...3) in 1998-1999 time frame, and up to 2 Mbit/s with the introduction of UMTS network after year 2000. The new GSM terminals, e.g. Nokia 9000 Communicator and Nokia 8110I phones, provide support for the use of data services and different applications.

We can expect also the emerging electronic commerce applications to be adopted by the mobile systems. GSM phones already incorporate a special smart card called SIM (subscriber identification module) for subscriber identification and billing purposes. There are also some trials in Europe, that enable electronic purchases over the Internet by using mobile terminals and externals or integrated smart cards. For example, the Nokia 9000 Communicator enables the use of different smart cards, such as Mondex, to be used for electronic payments.

In this paper I do not analyse electronic commerce in general. Rather, this paper elaborates the special features of electronic commerce in the mobile environment. Chapter 1 is an introduction to the subject and defines the terms related to electronic commerce. Chapter 2 presents the mobile electronic commerce value chain. Chapter 3 unveils the concept of mobile electronic commerce and discusses the system architecture. The next chapter presents an analysis of the mobile phone as an electronic payment terminal. This followed by discussion on what is required on the infrastructure side in Chapter 5. Finally, there is discussion, how European countries could benefit of such systems.
 
 
 

Electronic Commerce in the Economic Region of Balkans
 
Mr. Nikos Protogeros, Heletel Ltd., Greece
Mr. Konstantinos Tarabanis, University of Macedonia, Greece
Mr. Adamantios Koumpis, Unisoft of Northern Greece S.A., Greece

 
An investigation of the potential for establishing adaptive zones for interregional electronic commerce  in the region of Balkans is provided in the paper, based on scenarios for:

The issue of adaptivity in the development of electronic commerce zones in the region of Balkans is of primary importance and relevance. This is because the involved actors, i.e. regional and local authorities, public and semi-public administrations from the national governments, and the various business actors from industry as well as commercial enterprises (and in particular SMEs), are part of different policy environments and belong to different regulatory and legislatory frameworks.
 
 
 
Mediterranean on Line
 
Mr. Jean Zeitoun
CDS Management, France

 
Mediterranean on line: A shopping mall on Internet gathering suppliers of goods, information and services members of the cultural and commercial Mediterranean community for the purposes of promoting and distributing materials and non material goods and intensifying trade within the Mediterranean area.

Goals pursued:
Creating a center for commercial and cultural exchanges on Internet in order to create a single easily identified market place to enhanced international reputation of Mediterranean  products and services to bring together producers and traders as to stimulate innovation and thereby allow new services to be designed and marketed.
 
 
 

Standardisation & Electronic Commerce
 
Dr. Vassilios Laopodis
European Commission, DG III.B2

 
Driven by the Internet revolution, electronic commerce is dramatically expanding and undergoing radical changes. Europe has decided to react to the challenge of Electronic Commerce and encourages its vigorous growth as stated in the Communication of the European Commission entitled "European Initiative in Electronic Commerce".

The role of standardization in this evolution is predominant with respect to the removal of technical barriers for the taking-up of Electronic Commerce in Europe and in the neighboring countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean basin.

This presentation, firstly discusses the issue of interoperability and how it is ensured in a competitive environment, and then identifies a number of key domains related to standardization related actions. The domains analysed in the presentation are:

  1. Interoperability between systems: transparency of technical solutions to the user community by assessing competing technical specifications; building blocks (guide for development of coherent solutions by the market and avoid fragmentation);
  2. Business Information directories and Internetworking addressing :standardization is needed to cover business entity descriptions and synchronization mechanism ("white" and "yellow" pages);
  3. Adaptation of existing EDI/EDIFACT to the new technologies;
  4. Secure financial transaction : evaluation of current projects and integration of successful solutions
  5. Standards for content creation : meta-data elements and structures should be defined for multi-media information products; e.g. meta-data: dates of validity of reservations, author, editor, publishing, access rights,...
  6. European cultural requirements : characters sets and associated rules for ordering, translation, conversion and representation; languages
  7. Introduction of the Euro : e.g. registration of the EURO-ÅÕÑÙ symbol glyph and the registration of a new electronic code for exchange;
  8. Home services  : Coexistence of a mixture of terrestrial, cable and satellite networks to be supported by digital devices. Adequate standards are needed on transmission encoding, en- and decoding units and access control, and encryption devices;
  9. Healthcare : Exchange for healthcare administrative information;
  10. Transport :creation of "one stop shop" and multi-model transport both for freight and for passengers.
Tourism is an interesting mixture of most of the above characteristics because most of the factors involved in the tourism paradigm of Electronic Commerce application refer to both ordering of tangible and delivering of intangibles : from flights; hotels; cruises; excursions;  travel agents; car rental; cultural events; tour guides; yellow pages; guest books; etc. to payments, cancellations , promotions etc.
In addition it constitutes an excellent field for cooperation between European and Mediterranean countries to exploiting also geographical vicinity and the rich cultural heritages.
 
 
 
WORKSHOP B: CHEMICALS
 
  1. Electronic Commerce in the Greek Petroleum Sector: A Re-engineering Approach
  2. Pros and Cons for Electronic Commerce in the Mediterranean Area
  3. The Application of Electronic Commerce in the Greek Economy: A Practical Approach
  4. Information Infrastructure for Electronic Commerce in the Developing Countries of the Mediterranean Region
  5. Electronic Commerce in Morocco
  6. Technological Development
 
 
Electronic Commerce in the Greek Petroleum Sector:
A Re-engineering Approach
 
Prof. Georgios I. Doukidis & Dr. John D. Pappas
Dept. of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece
Dr. George Speis
Greek National Petroleum Enterprise, Greece

 
The Petroleum Industry has been very active in adopting Electronic Commerce (EC) technologies over the past years. Advanced EC systems have been widely used on a company or national level in the USA, UK and elsewhere. Greece presents a generally low rate of EC adoption and the Greek Petroleum Industry has followed this rule for a long time. In 1996, the National Petroleum Enterprise (DEP) initiated a study on the sector’s business practices in order to propose an action plan, aiming to streamline the flow of information and, consequently, of products throughout the sector, using EDI and other EC-technologies.

More specifically, the project included: a) the examination of current business practices and information flows in the sector; b) the identification of possible malfunctions caused by these inter-organisational practices; and c) the outlining of a business process re-engineering action plan, with a special emphasis on the use of  EDI and other EC-technologies.

Based on the findings of the study, DEP organised an action plan for the introduction of new cooperative practices within the Greek Petroleum Industry, through a collaborative EDI project involving the main partners of the sector. This presentation summarises the methodology followed, as well as the major findings of the BPR study towards Electronic Commerce adoption. Furthermore, it presents the steps that have already been taken by the companies of the sector towards the implementation of the proposed BPR-plan.
 
 
 

Pros and Cons for Electronic Commerce in the Mediterranean Area
 
Prof. Juan Carlos M. Coll
Universidad de Malaga, Spain

 
The electronic ways of communication and specifically the commercial use of the Internet have made the international trade dramatically cheaper and easier.

At first, we could think that firms located in developing areas could get a better strategic position by using the new telematic tools. The Internet breaks the space and time barriers that had been a handicap for SMEs in developing countries. On the other hand, the Internet technological requirements are within reach for all those SMEs.

But we are finding other kind of barriers that prevent firms in the Mediterranean area to access these tools. Those are political, legal and, foremost, cultural barriers. Analysing those barriers and how they could be overcome is today a key issue to foster the commercial links in the Mediterranean area.
 
 
 

The Application of Electronic Commerce in the Greek Economy:
A Practical Approach
 
Mr. George Papastamatiou & Mr. Odysseas Charalambous
EDI Hellas, S.A., Greece

 
Electronic Commerce is a concept initially derived from the globalisation of the trading process and the ever increasing competition as opposed to the world wide recession phenomenon. It combines advanced technology and state of the art methods, and acts as a conduit between trading partners to create greater value from their business relationships. Electronic Commerce is a new way of doing business. As such, its application and effectiveness require that it is engaged as part of an overall strategic decision of the enterprise. Furthermore, Electronic Commerce requires the development of a fertile environment where the appropriate international, national, local and sectoral prerequisites are present and, thus, conducive to its application.

Greece is currently in the process of developing the environment for Electronic Commerce, due to several stimuli originating from economic factors and dependencies. More important is the contribution of particular individuals from the private sector, who -for their own strategic and economic reasons- attempt to realise components of Electronic Commerce. Experience has proved that Electronic Commerce principles cannot be effectively applied when they are considered as just another tool in the EDP department’s artillery. In contrast, they are components of an overall strategy engaging higher management and the development of a consensus for change that will increase the value of the organisation. This paper presents a particular approach for applying Electronic Commerce to the Greek economy, derived from the authors’ experience with the particular concept since its first appearance in Greece.
 
 

Information Infrastructure for Electronic Commerce in the Developing
Countries of the Mediterranean Region
 
Dr. Mohammad Malkawi
Electrical Engineering Department, Jordan University of Science and Technology

 
Electronic commerce, unlike other forms of electronic processing, requires real time processing with relatively large response time, data coherency to be maintained instantly, and high availability. The first requirement can only be achieved through the utilization of ultra high speed networks, very large bandwidth communication systems, and appropriate architectures that can achieve very large throughput across widely distributed  computation nodes. The utilization of high speed networks such as those involving ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) has not been sufficiently growing in the southern part of the Mediterranean. Also, high bandwidth fiber optic networks need to be improved and expanded before real time applications can be placed on the networks. On the side of computing powers, the concerned countries have to place more weight on the development and/or installation of distributed systems which are capable of carrying millions of transactions per unit time at different locations.

The maintenance of data coherency is a very serious issue in regard to electronic commerce applications. For instance, the same room in a hotel must not be reserved to two different persons. More seriously, banking applications have to be very carefully maintained, such that the a sum of money can not be drawn twice against the same account. The need to develop special Internet protocols for banking applications is demanding.

High availability of the electronic commerce system is an issue of reliability and fault tolerance. The system must be designed such that deadlocks are completely avoided, and complete system crashes are almost denied completely.

These issues will be addressed in view of the scope of the conference, and its objectives. The paper will focus more on the strategic aspects of the subjects, and less on the pure technical details, without losing the required technical insight.
 

 

Electronic Commerce in Morocco
 
Mr. Rachid Balafrej
Maroc Developpement, Morocco

 
The prominent evolution of computer technology crowned by the emergence of the Internet, constitutes an opportunity for Morocco to achieve a two sided objective. On the one hand it accelerates the stream of economy, its companies and administration. On the other hand, it allows the improvement of its "partenariat" map as well as its commercial exchanges, which was primarily influenced by the geographic proximity parameter and which will be wide and amalgamated by the strong use of computer technology.

Thus, Morocco is exceedingly with a rather fast and growing evolution the Internet, the exchange of information both on the national and international level, and the outgrow of Websites that cover most of the fields; namely industry, commerce, handicraft, tourism and education.

The number of the Internet users, its providers, and the Web sites is increasingly progressing. Ultimately, it remains highly imperative to refine infrastructure of telecommunication to allow a more special use and a high rate of information.

The electronic commerce interests companies with a strong background of informatics and who endeavour to enlarge their markets.

So far, the electronic commerce in Morocco is still in its beginning: its use is confined to the advertising as well as to the requiring of products throughout formulas that are to be filled by customers. Voucher establishment and money transfer are not yet taken into consideration. However, we should take for granted the increasing demand of the economic operators to adopt this new technology which enable them, among others, to have a soon recourse and a fairly low price to international markets.

Furthermore, certain hurdles ban the expansion of this technology; mainly, the high amount of technological infrastructure, the lack of competence and experience of firms as well as the psychological aspect. Ultimately, measures such as formation and assistance of the private sector are to be as soon as possible.
 
 
 

Technological Development
 
Mr. Constantin Paleologos
European Commission, DG XIII,
Directorate B: Advanced Communications Technologies and Services

 
Electronic commerce is one of the major policy initiatives taken by the European Commission in the light of its potential impact on Europe’s competitiveness on global markets. It has been recognised that emphasis should be given on encouraging European businesses, and in particular SMEs, to go on-line and make effective use of electronic networking for competitive advantage and to accelerate the growth to critical mass of a sustainable market. Although the European Commission will play a leadership role by providing a coherent policy framework for future actions, the success of Electronic Commerce depends on businesses themselves. It will take a lot of effort but if they succeed, Europe will be well placed to become a heartland of electronic commerce.
 
 
 

WORKSHOP C: MARITIME INDUSTRY
 
  1. An Infrastructure to Support Collaboration and Co-ordination in Electronic Commerce
  2. Modeling Electronic Commerce Applications
  3. Digital Signatures and Public Key Cryptography - An enabling Technology for Electronic Commerce
  4. Electronic Public Procurement: From the International Experience to the Reality of the Mediterranean Region
  5. Multimedia Information Interchange System in the Maritime Industry ( MIIS -MARTRANS)
  6. MARTOUR: Electronic Commerce in Maritime Tourism
  7. EDIFACT as a Tool for Reporting Balance of Payments Data to the Central Bank
  8. Mediterranean IT Centres for Electronic Commerce
 
 
An Infrastructure to Support Collaboration and Co-ordination in Electronic Commerce
 
Prof. Christos Nikolaou & Mr. Dimitris Papadakis
Institute of Computer Science - Foundation of Research and Technology - Hellas

 
The Parallel and Distributed Systems (PLEIADES) group of ICS-FORTH is pursuing research in the area of large scale distributed applications over the Web.

Electronic commerce is of particular interest, as a distributed process that entails activities such  as searching and advertising, negotiating, contracting and ordering, billing and payment, distribution and receipt, and customer services. Not all these activities are performed in every commerce transaction, nor are they necessarily performed in this order. Indeed, they may be performed in parallel.

Electronic commerce will benefit from an infrastructure that encapsulates these activities into autonomous agents and provides services for co-ordination and collaboration. Such an infrastructure may benefit other distributed applications, such as digital libraries, collaboration support environments, distributed performance monitors, as well. We are building a prototype of such an infrastructure to support electronic commerce activities.
 
 
 

Modeling Electronic Commerce Applications
 
Prof. Juan Carlos Cruellas
Universidad de Catalunya, Spain

 
This contribution will be mainly devoted to present the general technical mechanisms and bases of Electronic Commerce. It starts  with the definition of a Business Matrix that will facilitate the identification and positioning of emerging EC related services. After that, a survey of Business Models will be presented, where  information flows and business activities involved will be emphasised (some brief ideas on the formal modelling of business process, as developed by the AC1 of UN/EDIFACT, will be shown). Afterwards, a survey of a set of services that will enable the growth and widespreading of EC will be presented, paying special attention to: Public Key Infrastructures (PKI) (UN/EDIFACT PKI including security services required to secure EDIFACT messages and mechanisms used to implant such a mechanisms will be shown), that will allow the secure exchange of  information; Directory services, that will allow to access to information of trading partners; and Electronic Copyright Management Systems (ECMS) that  will be in charge of protecting the Intellectual Property Rights of the originators of products and services, by managing and monitoring the usage of copyrighted data.
 
 
 

Digital Signatures and Public Key Cryptography -
An enabling Technology for Electronic Commerce
 
Mr. Wolfgang Schneider
GMD - Forschungszentrum, Germany

 
With current Internet technology and connectivity, electronic commerce over the network will be ubiquitous soon, provided that it can be done as securely as in the conventional way. Public key cryptography is an enabling technology in this context. However, public key technology requires a public key certification infrastructure which assures the authenticity of public keys. Various approaches have been proposed and promoted for this in the past, for instance the X.509 model which is currently being elaborated in the IETF PKIX (Public Key Infrastructure for the Internet) working group, the PGP model and the SPKI model. One can observe, however, that the support for X.509-style infrastructures has been boosted in the last year, and real X.509-based certification services are emerging. This talk also presents the European
ICE-TEL project, which is going to establish an X.509-based certification infrastructure for the European R&D and to provide public key security technology, and what it offers to users.
 
 
 

Electronic Public Procurement: From the International Experience to the Reality of the Mediterranean Region
 
Dr. Bill Z. Pergioudakis, Prof. Georgios I. Doukidis & Dr. John D. Pappas
Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece

 
The Public sector has been identified as an important area for Electronic Commerce applications. In the past few years, a number of initiatives have been introduced, in order to automate parts or the whole of the procurement cycle. In all of these efforts, Electronic Commerce technologies have been used to establish effective links between buyers, potential suppliers and any intermediary bodies of the whole process.

In this paper, we describe successful Electronic Commerce initiatives in the field of Procurement (public and private) at the international level and give special emphasis to European Initiatives, such as SIMAP, TAPPE, ELPRO etc. We evaluate the architecture and the services provided by each system in order to define a framework for facilitating the Public Procurement life-cycle in Mediterranean countries considering the lack of IS maturity in this region. Public Procurement functions are investigated under this aspect with emphasis on specific regulatory frameworks that have to be followed and the special user requirements. Deficiencies of the current system have also been identified, while future enhancements are depicted.

Finally, we propose a framework for introducing Electronic Public Procurement into the Mediterranean area under the auspices of certified authorities for auditing and controlling all related activities, while providing an information resource for suppliers and procurers in the entire region.
 
 
 

Multimedia Information Interchange System in the Maritime Industry ( MIIS -MARTRANS)
 
Dr. Amin Elsaleh
VANEDI, France

 
The MIIS ( Multimedia Information Interchange System ) integrates modular type of subservices enabling interconnection between the information systems of distant companies using multiformat document type, for instance Edifact for message structure, SGML for document structure (or Word for text, Excell for tables), JPEG, MPEG for image structure, STEP for product data; all these entities are referenced in one folder.

All or some of these standards can be used according to the level of knowledge we acquire in exploring further into the solution, and becoming more practical in the sense that we will address real data, existing user requirements, in order to build a hybrid solution on real user data.

The Telecom component of this Service will provide full interoperability for systems interconnection.  Technically, this can be achieved by multiformat document type standards federation which support related tools association. An example for two standards federation is Edifact and SGML, the related tools association is between an EDI convertor and an SGML parser.

The implementation framework, in which the interoperable connection is to be supported by a universal hybrid tool under development by our company (EDIAUDIT© ) is designed according to bridge specifications between EDIFACT ( or any EDI format which belongs to EDI LITE family ) and SGML ( or HTML, XML, which belong to CALS LITE family ) related standards.

The operating hybrid tool is associated to control procedures, which include tracing of a folder at a beginning of a scenario till the end of its utilization.
 
The goal is multiple:

  1. Introduce the concept of Scenario in the interchange which associates big players to small ones   in the EDI - Port community,
  2. Enhance the level of control starting by the verification of predefined links between the folder components, then by verifying semantic dependencies between the message node structure ( semantic control ),
  3. Improve the business relationship between both goods suppliers and consumers by tracing EDI circuits between scenario players,
  4. Extend the interchange circuit between a sender and a recipient to their Intranet system by providing a standardized format which enable storage or integration within an EDMS.
 
 
 
MARTOUR: Electronic Commerce in Maritime Tourism
 
Dipl.-Kaufm. Sigismund von Dobschütz
Tourismus-Förderungsgesellschaft Bremerhaven mbH
(Tourism Development Corporation, Bremerhaven), Germany

 
Tourism from a global perspective is one of the most dynamic lines of industry of our times with annual growth rates of 4-5 %. The industry's cash flow of 3,5 trillion US$ amounts to 10% of the worldwide Gross National Product. The number of jobs in the tourism industry according to OECD is approximately 200 million, which again amounts to 10% of all jobs. According to official figures, Germany' tourism industry has a 5% share of the national income and stands right behind the automotive industry. The income from foreign exchange from tourism was lately reported at 10,5 billion US-$ in Germany alone.

Two years ago the European Union and the G7 states started MARIS - Maritime Information Society. This G7 Initiative is intended to focus and coordinate manifold activities and projects which deal with electronic authoring, presentation and networking within the various worldwide maritime industries. Due to the complexity of the subject matter of this plan special subgroups were introduced in order to structure the project. Since the autumn of last year have there been efforts with the initiative of MARTOUR, to address all questions and problems pertaining to marketing and the creation of electronic networks within the maritime tourism industry, to generally coordinate and to create realisation concepts and to promote national and international projects that have this aim. Such projects are not funded by MARTOUR or MARIS themselves, but to qualify for the MARTOUR or MARIS quality label promises easier financing by the EU and thereby hopefully quicker realisation. When we speak of the creation of electronic networks here today, MARIS can be seen as a kind of global political network for the promotion of such international projects.

Which tasks should be covered by the G7 initiative MARTOUR and its projects? I name three different project categories that might bear the MARTOUR quality label, that each have a regional focus and yet are each interchangeable and applicable on an international level:

1. Electronic processing, presentation and marketing of existing tourist offers with a particular view to the optimal connection of industrial centres to their surrounding rural areas.

The most important precondition for the marketing of a region is,
 

For this reason it would inevitably be one of the first tasks of a MARTOUR project to finally develop an optimised software with a standardised interface to national and international booking systems,
  The solution of these two tasks is already the concrete content of an EU-program called INCOME, which is being pushed ahead by the City of Bremerhaven at the moment. The partners of this program are Alexandropolis in Greece, Pori in Finland, and Oujda in Marocco, cities that are close to harbours or coasts.
 

2. The creation of national and international networks of tourist infrastructure and offers.

Here are just a few maritime examples of possible networks in the area of tourism:
 

3. Electronic processing and presentation of exemplary large-scale tourism projects with a particular focus on the restructuring of unused industrial wasteland to create urban entertainment centres or destination resorts.

Especially in incoming tourism the definition lines between tourism and the leisure industry are blurred. The attractiveness of a location doubtlessly depends on its leisure time value. For this reason leisure time infrastructure also forms a tourist offer.

In order to accelerate the modern development of tourism and leisure in Europe the consequence of this subjective experience of lack of information is, that international databases of comparable large-scale installations should be established, to make things easier for project developers or other interest groups. Today European developers of new leisure facilities still have to travel to the United States or to Asia, in order to receive the necessary information there. It is urgently time to present international examples of tourist attractions in virtual reality to make a global exchange of information possible.

Such databases and the virtual presentation of major projects in the tourism and leisure industry would make it possible,
 

The electronic presentation and networking of such international major attractions generates new trends and new markets which only become possible through marketing on this international or even global level. This must be fostered, which is why I absolutely consider this the third important focus of the MARTOUR project.
 
 
 
EDIFACT as a Tool for Reporting Balance of Payments Data to the Central Bank
 
Dr. Andreas Karapapas
Bank of Greece - Economic Research Division

 
Within the context of business’ globalisation, cross-border transactions in goods, services and capital have enormously increased while corresponding financial flows have become more complex. The purpose of my presentation, is to inform the corporate society conducting such transactions how EDIFACT could become a mutually beneficial tool for reporting balance of payments data to the Central Bank. I will further report on the work that has been carried out and on the progress achieved by the EDI Balance Of Payments Task Force (EDI-BOP-TF) which was set up by EUROSTAT in 1991. The EDI-BOP-TF has formulated a widely applicable model of information flows relating to cross-border transactions and constructed EDIFACT messages for the use of all the participants (banks-enterprises-central banks-international organisations). Enterprises play a key role in the data collection process and is important to stress the efficiency gains and cost saving resulting from the adoption of EDIFACT as the standart in their communication and conduct of electronic commerce.
 
 
 

Mediterranean IT Centres for Electronic Commerce
 
Dr. Patrick Crehan
European Commission, DG III: Industry

 
Networks of Mediterranean Information Technology Centres DGIII the Directorate General for Industry of the European Commission is leading an initiative for the establishment  of networks of Information Technology Centres or ITCs in  the non-EU Mediterranean countries. These will focus on five important areas of application of Information Technologies. It is intended that these centres will act as regional foci for the dissemination of information regarding European and Mediterranean activities in these domains. Such centres have the potential to act as nodes of regional networks which focus on regional concerns while maintaining contact with similar networks in
Europe. Furthermore it is intended that they will support the creation and maintenance of local IT skills while boosting regional awareness of the role of IT in industry and commerce. To help establish such networks the European Commission published a call for tenders in December 1996, and contracts have recently been awarded to the organisations Thompson GSF, Planet and ERCIM to provide services related to the setting up of such centres. Throughout the month of June consultants will travel to non-EU Mediterranean countries to identify organisations willing and able to act as ITCs in a particular domain. In July 1997 these consultants will provide lists of such organisations and their training requirements if any to the European Commission. When this work is completed, suitable organisations will be chosen to act as ITCs and a second call for tender for the provision of training for these centres will be launched. It is intended that training could start by the end of this year.

For further general information contact P. Crehan of DGIII Tel: 32-2-2992180, Fax: 32-2-2969853, Email: Patrick.Crehan@dg3.cec.be. What follows is a list of the five Information Technology domains targeted in this action. For information regarding any of the specific networks please contact the person indicated below.

 
 
 
WORKSHOP D: TEXTILES
 
  1. The ‘Soft-Push’: Mining Internet Data for Marketing Intelligence
  2. How Can Electronic Commerce Help the Textile Industry in the Mediterranean Region? A Marketing and Communication Oriented Overview Arising from the IT Industry
  3. The TEX.A.T.WORK Project: The Telematics in the Textile/Clothing/Distribution Chain
  4. COMPASS project (Centre of Multimedia Promotion and Support Services for Textile & Clothing, ESPRIT Nr. 24.127)
  5. Accounts of Sociality in the Information Society
  6. Etiquettes Intelligentes
  7. PROMOTER: A Distributed Communication Environment for PROMOtion and Sales of TERritorial Manufacturing Systems
  8. Electronic Commerce in the Textile Sector Projects within the European Commission RTD Programmes
 
 
The ‘Soft-Push’: Mining Internet Data for Marketing Intelligence
 
Dr. Maurice Mulvenna, Dr. Alex Büchner, Dr. Caroline Grant
Northern Ireland Knowledge Engineering Laboratory, Northern Ireland
Dr. Marian Norwood
School of Commerce and International Business Studies, Northern Ireland
 
 
This paper examines the challenges that on-line shopping and other commercial transactions on the Internet pose for marketers in the retail industry.  The Internet constitutes a whole new marketplace in its own right, and evidence exists that the traditional manipulation of the marketing mix has to be modified for this new environment.  To place this paper in context, the authors describe the potential growth of electronic commerce on the Internet, how traditional marketing strategies can be adapted for the Internet and current Internet marketing techniques.  This paper highlights how marketing professionals and retailers can exploit the tools of the Internet to move closer to their customers and add value to their products.  It outlines the potential for applying data mining technology to the data that is collected as consumers browse and purchase goods and services in on-line shopping malls.  The authors introduce a variation of the push promotional strategy - ‘the soft-push’ - a sales promotion strategy based on the navigational and purchasing behaviour of on-line shoppers.  Data mining allows marketers to reveal customer profiles, helping to identify appropriate market segments. Different data algorithms are described and the data mining process is explained.  A comparison is made between the ‘soft-push’ approach and other web mining approaches.  In conclusion, key ethical questions are posed and the implications of data mining for marketers are summarised.
 
 
 
How Can Electronic Commerce Help the Textile Industry in the Mediterranean Region? A Marketing and Communication Oriented Overview Arising from the IT Industry
 
Mr. Juan Pedro Losada
Centro de Calculo de Sabadell, Spain

 
There are, already, a lot of commercial activities going ahead using electronic communication means. But now the real challenge and, at the same time the big opportunity, is to broaden the use of the new global networks and its functionalities, mainly the Web, on a massive basis, serving for a better and cheaper commerce between customers and industry.

The textile sector, because of its very rich added value chain and the need of displaying images, can take advantage of using the mentioned networks to widen commerce.

There are a number of barriers (legal framework, security, improvement of infrastructures, even cultural ones....) which hinder the fast implementation of the process and shall be removed.

The Mediterranean Region countries are involved in textiles. So a proposal with the aim of stimulating Electronic Commerce in this segment, arriving also from the Mediterranean IT industry, could be considered.
 
 
 

The TEX.A.T.WORK Project: The Telematics in the Textile/Clothing/Distribution Chain
 
Dr. Kussai Shahin
Technological Innovation Area of ASTER -
Emilia Romagna Technological Development Agency, Italy

 
This project is funded by the European Commission -DG XIII- Telematics Applications Programme and it  lasts three years (from January 1996 to December 1998). The project involves four countries: Italy, Finland, France and Spain. ASTER is both Project Manager for the European Consortium and National Coordinator for Italy.

The main objective of TEX.A.T.WORK is to develop a communication system  supported by the extensive use of telematics and teleworking applications. This will result in a new organisational and managerial approach that will help the European Textile and Clothing industry win the challenge against their foreign competitors both in terms of cost and customer service.

We have already finished the analysis of the specific information exchange needs in this field and produced the technical and functional specifications for the implementation of different telematics applications (EDI, webforms..) in the different  scenarios of the textile/clothing/distribution chain and transport. Now we are building the demonstrator developing the software to be integrated in the existent informative system of the T/C/D enterprises and a Tracking & Tracing system for the transport sector.
 
 
 

COMPASS project (Centre of Multimedia Promotion and Support
Services for Textile & Clothing, ESPRIT Nr. 24.127)
 
Mr. Santiago Sanchez
Centro de Tecnologia Empresarial de Mataro - Maresme (CETEMMSA), Spain

 
The COMPASS project has as its main objectives the starting up of a multimedia service network for the textile and clothing industry.  This would also include the development of multimedia applications and systems adapted to the needs of the textile and clothing industry.

At present, Internet is already the most important source of information, generic and specific, of the world. Nevertheless we shouldn't forget the great volume of information contained in it, most of it greatly disordered and quite often of difficult localisation, which makes access to specific information one of the main inconveniences of Internet. This is why specialised services become more and more necessary in specific industrial sectors.

In COMPASS project, we are developing the TEXTILE TRADE CENTRE that appears with the objective to create an electronic market at the service of the textile industry.  Such a service, supported by Internet, seeks to help the companies of the sector in the commercialisation of their products and in the localisation, evaluation, purchase and sale of raw material, machinery, finished products or in the contracting of different services.
 
 
 

Accounts of Sociality in the Information Society
 
Prof. Moses A. Boudourides
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

 
It is generally acknowledged that the current developments of information and communication technologies (ICTs) restructure the world and predicate the advent of the information society (IS). Through their potential capacity to transcend the space and time delimiters some theorists have suggested that ICTs are facilitating the emergence of new forms of human interaction in the IS. Apparently, these new computer-and-network-mediated forms of human interaction, in the informational process of globalisation, are reshaping the global marketplace towards network-oriented economies, development of electronic commerce and the growth of electronic communities possessing particular consumer needs. In this paper, we try to investigate
the forms of sociality and community developed by ICTs in the IS. For this purpose, we need to distinguish two different phases in the framing of social relationships by computer-mediated communications (CMCs). The phase of modernity, resulting a relative "loss of community," is succeeded by the condition of postmodernity, where the human-machine hybridization together with the associated representations of electronic communities reconfigure the social meaning of CMCs. Furthermore, we discuss issues of complementarity/incommensurability between the modern and the postmodern perspectives of sociality in the IS.
 
 

 

Etiquettes Intelligentes
 
Mr. Bernard Theobald
PERIFEM
Association for Technical Studies in Trade and Distribution, France

 
PERIFEM, (Technical Association for Studies in Trade and Distribution), was created in 1980 and aims at the improvement of construction or exploitation in the field of Retail business in partnership with manufacturers.

PERIFEM deals with subjects related to stores: construction, installation, equipment, maintenance and environment.

Today, its represents about 13 millions square meters through 1043 hypermarkets (more than 2500 square meters each), 4850 supermarkets and 1031 Specialized Department Stores.

Following to a survey carried out in 1995 with regard to detection of products (protection against theft and forgery), it has been agreed with PERIFEM and GENCOD (bar-codes) to set up specifications giving necessary information for all the logistic chain (from the manufacturer to the retailer) so as to obtain the tracing of products.

The objective is to collect the whole users requirements so as to achieve an electromagnetic label that may be used in the product chain (from manufacturers, pachers, carries, warehouse keepers to retailers) with compatible readers allowing:

The specifications have to be ready by the end 1997 / beginning 1998, first analysis and tests by 1998/1999 and the implementation by 1999/2000.

PERIFEM wishes to involve as many concerned people as possible in the Project.
 
 
 

PROMOTER: A Distributed Communication Environment for PROMOtion and Sales of TERritorial Manufacturing Systems
 
Vito Santacesaria
Associazione degli Industriali della Provincia di Bari, Italy

 
The aim of this contribution is to illustrate objects, results and prospects of  pilot experience  PROMOTER, initiative carried out from "Associazione degli Industriali della Provincia di Bari" with financial contribution by UE (DG III – Industry).

The pilot phase, ended in february ’97, has involved about 40 SMEs of  mature industrial sector  (textile, footwear, mechanical  and food) and was aimed to experiment simple electronic commerce tools and methods (WEB advertising , on-line order management, EDI, Payments service, etc.).

Project results provide useful indication on  the actions and infrastructures for the complete utilization of Electronic Commerce by SMEs

The ever growing availability of technological tools for electronic commerce and the electronic market consciousness make more evident  the need  of  a acquisition and cultural increase process by SMEs.

The "Associazione degli Industriali della Provincia di Bari" will be near   to  the SMEs in this process and will support the cultural increase both  promoting a territorial sensitiveness about electonic commerce opportunities and developing formative route for the SMEs.

Finally,  the acquisition process is also supported from specific initiatives  about electronic commerce integration on typical SME’s business process. (Electronic Commerce vs. Business Process Reengineering).
 
 
 

Electronic Commerce in the Textile Sector
Projects within the European Commission RTD Programmes
 
Dr. Michel Bosco
European Commission, DG III: Industry

 
The European Commission RTD Programmes are currently financing a number of projects in the field of electronic trading and data interchange, technologies for business processes, and multimedia technologies applied in the area of electronic commerce of textile goods.

Many of these activities could in fact be extended with participants from Third Mediterranean Countries to the mutual benefit of the European Union and the Third Mediterranean Countries in the perspective of the 2010 free trade area.

A booklet of project synopsis will be distributed, which can serve as basis and bank of ideas for elaborating related Euro-Mediterranean proposals.