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Business On The Internet
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No discussion of the business applications of telecommunications would be complete today without mention of the Internet. From small businesses to blue chip companies like General Electric, IBM, Merrill Lynch, Motorola, and Xerox, business use of the Internet has expanded rapidly. By 1994, over 65 percent of the networks on the Internet belonged to businesses or their research labs. Businesses are connecting their networks to the Internet for several reasons. One is the ease of worldwide communications and collaboration through Internet's global E-mail and bulletin board systems. Another reason is the access to a vast range of information provided by the networks on the Internet.
But businesses are also connecting to the Internet because it represents the wave of the future in business telecommunications. Internet expert Mary Cronin of Boston College Omega Replica Watches says that "the most compelling argument for connecting is that the Internet is the biggest and earliest manifestation of the way business is going to be conducted from now on. Networked information and communication are the standard for the future ". For businesses, the information superhighway may be years away, but the Internet is available now.
For example, IBM employees used the Internet to exchange 580,000 messages with outsiders in just one month. Businesses also rely on the Internet to support worldwide collaboration among their employees and consultants, customers, and suppliers. They use the Internet to link their workstations together to form virtual work groups to work on joint projects such as product development, marketing campaigns, and scientific research. Another major business use of the Internet is gathering information. You can make online searches for information in a variety of ways. Hundreds of library catalogues from university libraries to the Library of Congress are available, as are electronic versions of academic and industry journals. You can also access hundreds of databases, downloading everything from the latest satellite weather photos from NASA, to world almanac excepts from the U. S. Central Intelligence Agency. You can also sit in electronically on thousands of computer conferences, work sessions, E-mail exchanges, and bulletin board postings run by the members of thousands of Internet special interest groups. Or you could place yourself on the E-mail mailing list of any Internet special interest group, industry association, business, or government agency in which you have an interest.
Getting to any of the vast array of information used to be difficult. However, a variety of software packages have been developed to make navigating the Internet easier. For example, you could use a program called Gopher to check the White House server, which contains the President's schedule for today. Or you could use your mouse and a program called Mosaic to point and click your way through a multimedia catalog of Internet Tag Heuer Replica information sources called the World Wide Web. Gopher and Mosaic are distributed free to any Internet user who requests it.
Other uses of the Internet are developing as companies investigate its business potential. For example some companies view the millions of members of the Internet as a vast market of potential customers. Thus, they have developed electronic versions of direct mail, advertising, press releases, new product demonstrations, product catalogues, and shopping malls. However, early attempts by some direct mail companies met with almost unanimous resistance, so companies are now being more selective in their approaches and offerings. Still, the Internet is viewed by many companies as an electronic highway on which to test drive their business strategies for the information superhighway of the future.
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