Electronic commerce continues to dominate the IT press, with the FT reporting on the boom in online sex and Business Week profiling Cisco-- a firm it believes provides the best glimpse of what the "corporation of the future" will look like. But e-commerce has a negative side too, as The European reports on the loss of several hundred jobs as two off licence chains and the AA scale back their high street presence to do business on the Web.
Government should reign in BBC's digital dreams -- The Economist
The Economist is not impressed with the BBC's digital ambitions: "In the space of less than two years, it is adding to it its two existing television channels five free-to-air channels, including a 24-hour news channel, five commercial channels produced through a joint venture, and a large and expensive Internet presence... And right now, the government should be rolling those boundaries back, not letting the BBC push them forward." The Economist, August 29th September 4th, 1998.
Internet forcing high street closures -- The European
Startling evidence of the Internet changing the landscape of the average British high street emerged this week with the announcement of hundreds of store closures. The Victoria Wine and Thresher merger is to result in the closure of 300 stores whilst "both companies will be focusing on their Internet and home shopping services... Road recovery firm, AA, has gone further by planning the closure of all its 142 high street shops. 'Normal retail is no longer the best way to sell many products' said an AA spokesperson." The European, August 24-30, 1998.
Plugging your white goods into the Net -- Wall Street Journal
Some analysts believe 'Net gadgets' are going to be big. They reason that by plugging your fridge, or your central heating system, or VCR into the Net that new value can be added to the device, and that the cost of maintenance and fault repair can be reduced. TSJ quotes a spokesperson at the giant electronics firm Thomson: "If, say, a white-goods manufacturer isn't thinking about Web-enabling their washers and dryers, he should. Every one of those devices will let them talk directly to their consumer." The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 1998.
Java first choice for next generation digital television -- Financial Times
Java looks like the front runner to get the thumbs up from a powerful Geneva-based standards setting authority for digital television. It is believed the DVB "which has 200 members, including all leading public and commercial broadcasting groups in Europe, has already been influential in setting television operating standards in Europe, the US and Australia". Financial Times, August 26, 1998.
Cisco--"The Corporation of the Future"--Business Week
In a glowing report about how Cisco provides a model for other corporations to follow Business Week reported that "this year, Cisco will sell $5 billion in goods over the Internet. And seven out 10 requests for tech help will be filled electronically-- at satisfaction rates eclipsing those involving human interaction". Business Week, August 24--31, 1998.
Sex--the fastest growing business on the Internet -- Financial Times
In a special feature on Internet commerce the FT reported that sex pornographers were making a killing on the Net. "Forrester Research, the US research group, last week increased its estimate of the industry's revenues this year from $185m to $500m". Financial Times, August 26, 1998.
Forensic science to embrace computer-based 3D modelling -- New Scientist
The New Scientist reported on a computer modelling technique developed at the Department of Forensic Medicine and Science at Glasgow University. The system constructs detailed pictures using 3D modelling from damaged skulls. "The skull is mounted on a platform and rotated slowly through a laser beam. The laser scans the moving skull in lines and the information is fed to a computer." German police have used the system to identify a corpse of a murder victim, but the UK police force have no current plans to use the system. New Scientist, August 29, 1998.