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19 October 2001

Europe states its role as a driver of eBusiness development

Once again Europe has stated its role as a leader and driver of the Information Society, and it did so during a major conference entitled "eBusiness and eWork 2001 (e2001)" held at the Telecom Italia Lab Future Centre in Venice from the 17th to the 19th of October.

e-2001, the conference for research and development projects in Key Action II of the IST Programme, provided an opportunity for projects funded by Key Action II to publish their results, thus giving delegates an overview of the state-of-the-art of Information Technology in Europe. The conference was attended by nearly 500 delegates, coming from all over the world. Key Action II of the IST Programme supports projects in the area of New Methods of Work and Electronic Commerce.

"European industry must continue to be at the forefront of developing new technologies, building on its strengths. Industry must also acknowledge the value of the business opportunities coming from the Internet." This is the message given at the opening of the conference by Rosalie Zobel, Director of the European Commission responsible for Key Action II.

During her speech, Dr Zobel said that the Internet had added a new dimension to competitive business and so Europe must be at the forefront of developing new technologies. She was pleased that the eBusiness and eWork 2001 conference provided an introduction to, and preparation for, the European Commission's forthcoming support under Framework Programme Six.

Key Action II aims at showing how emerging digital technologies in eWork, eBusiness and eCommerce are generating exciting research opportunities and new business ideas. Dr Zobel also presented Key Action II achievements in 2001, and the 2002 work programme. She also invited delegates to attend the next conference in the series which will be held in Prague.

All European Governments have confirmed their wish to foster access to the Information Society for its citizens and encourage the use of the Internet in developing business. This point further was stressed by Mr Giulio De Petra, - General Director of the Office for Informatic and Telecommunication Networks Development for Public Administrations, Italian Ministry of Innovation and Technology, in his speech.

De Petra praised the European Commission's Key Action II initiative and welcomed the presence of some of the main players within the world of new technologies, pointing out that the work they were doing was crucial to Europe's future economic position. De Petra presented the Italian Policy on IST and highlighted new technologies' contribution to the process of strengthening the link between Italy and Europe.

The conference and exhibition was attended by a large number of delegates coming from leading technology companies operating in Europe. The opening session was hosted by Roberto Saracco, Director of Future Centre San Salvador, Telecom Italia Lab, who introduced Robert Lloyd, Vice President Cisco; Stefan Pilotti, Head of Corporate Planning Canon Europe; Professor Thomas Gulledge, George Mason University, Enterprise Engineering Laboratory; and Simon Dyson, IBM UK.
The plenary sessions saw European Parliament and European Commission representatives discuss legal aspects and policy topics.

Roberto Saracco, Director of Future Centre San Salvador, Telecom Italia Lab, focussed his speech on the ongoing transformation of the concept of buying, as well as on the need of leveraging the potential of the network for consumers to become providers. He also highlighted emerging trends as well as the stumbling blocks.

Robert Lloyd, President of Europe Middle East and Africa, Cisco Systems, examined the maturing of a marketplace that is coming to accept the value that the Internet can bring to companies and presented the results of a recent study that Gartner undertook with Cisco Systems. The study predicts that the Internet Economy in Europe will grow from $53 billion in 1999 to $1.2 trillion only five years later.

Stefan Pilotti, Head of Corporate Planning, Canon Europe, presented the process undergone by Canon Europe when it was decided to change the company's image using e-business to drive the change.

Thomas Gulledge, George Mason University, Enterprise Engineering Laboratory, discussed a successful approach for transferring complex eBusiness technologies to Asia to support the development of an aerospace eHub. He also highlighted that effective implementation of such projects requires that the transferring and receiving organisations be integrated as a single team.

Simon Dyson, IBM UK, dealt with the potential of mobile e-business, whose competitive edge will be strengthened if all organisations have strategies in place for b2e (business to employee) interactions, the actual starting place for the real, extended application of mobile e-business.

Parallel technical session within e 2001 described enabling technologies, highlighting results and industrial potential. Apart from the conference sessions, the three days programme included an exhibition covering research projects, books, software and services. A matchmaking service project assisted delegates with the location of partners for future project proposals, future research activities and marketing arrangements.

A spokesperson for the European Commission claimed that: "e2001 is one of the most important European conferences for advanced Internet-related technologies. The conference and exhibition demonstrated the latest European initiatives in this exciting and economically vital area. The European Commission sought papers that lie within the scope of eBusiness and eWork from leading-edge researchers so that e2001 could provide an early indication of enabling technologies and their industrial applications."

The final programme shows that 187 papers were given over the three days in Venice. Topics covered included supply chain management, eLearning, intelligent networks, Internet applications, trust, security and legal issues. A new addition to the conference was the specially created discussion sessions on enabling technologies such as mobility, on-line payment systems and XML.

e2001 was the conference for RTD projects in Key Action II of the IST Programme, who were also the primary sponsors of e2001. Major sponsors were Telecom Italia, Canon Europe and InfoCamere.

For further information contact Paul Kidd. (Email: ). Web: