At this moment, many suppliers/producers use the one-way (business) model of Netscape/JAVA
to reach consumers/users. Especially manufacturing and distribution companies, which produce a tangible product, are more likely to use this producer/distribution model.
At the same time, there is a trend for organisations whose main product is to provide service(s), i.e. where value is added through transaction processing (such as information (service) providers who are active on the Internet), to change their role of that of a rather passive supplier to a more active and more elaborated role. These organisations are switching from the production/distribution model to a consumer/push-pull model, and are very interested in applications and techniques that enable them to reach all those users whose needs they can cater for, and improve and enhance the ways in which they offer their services.
Concepts such as the three layer model (as seen in chapter four) and software agents, can help to offer/enable all of this. Non-commercial intermediaries, such as libraries or the government (and all its services and organisations), could use them to extend their services by providing these to a much larger user group (that of the Internet or an Intranet ) and by tapping into all the information sources the Internet provides access to. They can also help users selecting the right sources to match their needs (in a same way as these intermediaries have been doing for conventional media such as books and articles). Commercial intermediaries (or information brokers), can offer these services to this audience too, but more elaborated and with various forms of support. See section 4.3.1 for more detailed information about this.
As said, the producer/distribution model is currently the vogue among many organisations "doing business on the Internet". One of the most important motives for them to do so, is probably the fact that this allows producers to use the same techniques and the same materials (such as advertisements) on the Internet, as they use, and have used, for other media (such as newspapers or television channels). The problem with using this simple model is that the user (i.e. consumer) must track down and access the content (i.e. a provider's Internet service). And it may be expected that future Internet users are unlikely to spend much time on doing this.
Although, consumer/push-pull strategies have not yet proven successful on the Internet, they might be turned into profitable, successful strategies if certain principles are followed. In [LEWI95] such a model - called the software economy - is sketched. In this "economy", the basic economic unit is a transaction, which is of a special kind: barter. Thus, the basic mechanism for making money becomes the transaction fee or commission. Another major difference between this model and the previous (current) one, is that business is initiated predominantly by users/consumers:
Various (electronic) publishers, but also others, are doing a lot research into all (new) sorts of electronic publishing, which make use of the previously described principle.
 Intranets, which runs on open TCP/IP networks, enable (large) organisations/companies to employ the same types of servers and browsers used for the World Wide Web for internal applications distributed over the corporate LAN. Because intranets are based on the same independent standard Internet protocols and technologies, they are accessible to every member within an organisation, regardless of their choice of hardware platform. Intranet servers enable business functionality such as publishing information, processing data and databased applications, and collaboration among employees, vendors, and customers.
Driven by the powerful combination of openness and security, intuitive access to detailed information, extreme cost-effectiveness, and flexibility for customisation in increasingly competitive times, Intranets are a getting very popular nowadays.
For more information about Intranets, follow this link.
|previous page||next page||to the chapter's TOC||to the main TOC|