The Information Superhighway and Private Households: Case Studies of Business Impacts

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Wolfgang Glatthaar International Business Machines (IBM), Gennany The rapid developments in infonnation technology (IT) will continue through the coming years. New application areas will be added. Whereas the use of infonnation technology in the past decade has been concentrated primarily on business and public administration, in future the suppliers of infonnation technology will develop an increasing number of applications for the private household (see fig. 1). Traditional perspective: New perspective: 'IT-solutions for the IT-solutions for the company' private household ~ ...\ ...\ ...\ ...\ ...\ ...\ \ \ \ \ Fig. 1. New perspective on information technology This development has already generated considerable market dynamics. Latest forecasts for the USA suggest that by 1996 at the latest the private household will present greater sales potential for home computers than business and public administration. VI Preface Up to now the use of infonnation technology in the private household has not been regarded as highly significant by either business or science, even though PCs have become widespread in the private sphere. In the ESPRIT framework there have been individual projects dealing with home networks, and in a number of Asian and European countries, as well as America, experiments with interactive television are taking place. Internet and commercial online services are experiencing rapid growth. This application area for infonnation technology in the private household, which is generating increasing business attention, must also be the subject of appropriate research activities.