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From: Jack Kessler
Subject: Network Ideas from Europe -- Germany (part 1 of 2) (15 Dec 93) December 15, 1993 FYI France: Network Ideas from Europe -- Germany (part 1 of 2) edited by: Jack Kessler email@example.com This is the latest of the current FYI FRANCE series, "Network Ideas from Europe": previous installments have covered the European Communities (September 15) and Italy (October 15), as this one by Matthias W.- Stoetzer covers networked information current events in Germany. The primary concern in FYI FRANCE still is France; but many of you have been interested in looking at the immediate context within which networked information developments in France exists -- the local European competition also is working hard on the same sort of thing. In January and February FYI FRANCE will talk, once again, exclusively about France, to bring you up to date with the expansion of both e-conferencing and online library access there. Some of the latest "late" news about the Bibliothe`ques de France and Nationale will be covered as well. If interest in the general European networking context continues, though, there will be additional future installments on networked information events elsewhere in neighboring Europe. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone, in French, German, Italian, and any language of your choice (even ascii). * / \ / * \ /* * \ ------- / \ Jack Kessler firstname.lastname@example.org *** Information services in Germany: A survey (part 1 of 2) by: Dr. Matthias-W. Stoetzer 1. Introduction Since the passage of the telecommunication reform law of 1989 in Germany all kinds of new telecommunication services (value added services, enhanced services) can be offered by any provider, including the state- owned telecommunications carrier, DBP Telekom. Information services as part of these enhanced services consist of different types of electronic messaging systems. Often these information systems also provide access to online databases. With regard to these telecommunications services it is possible to distinguish external provided services on the one hand and inhouse solutions on the other hand. Two categories of external provided information services exist: commercial and noncommercial offers. The commercial supply includes telecommunication services that are offered on the market to make money. Non-commercial offers lack this profit orientation, in general they only try to cover their cost. 2. Commercial services As to commercial offers at the moment the DBP Telekom remains the most relevant supplier. Telekom offers two main information services: 1. its videotex system called Btx (Bildschirmtext) and 2. Telebox, an electronic mail system. The videotex system offers a variety of telecommunication services, e.g. e-mail, file transfer and the use of numerous online databases. The most popular applications for private users are homebanking, railroad and airline reservation systems, an electronic telephone directory, electronic shopping and information databases, e.g. for computers, automobiles and the stock markets. For business users Btx offers the possibility to form closed user groups and provides a telecommunications network for the transmission of little volumes of data. In April 1993 Btx has about 376.000 subscribers. Table 1 shows the development of users since the introduction of videotex in 1983. The sharp rise of about 36.000 new subscribers in the first quarter of 1993 is due to a new marketing concept, concentrating on users connecting their PC to the Btx system. This marketing effort includes the free distribution of simple modems and decoder software and a change of the brand name from Btx to Datex-J. The monthly charge for a subscriber amounts to only $5. In addition he has to pay between one and four cent per minute and separately for the information (Danke 1993). For the customer the Datex-J/Btx system is a cheap possibility to gain access to information and messaging services. Table 1: The development of videotex Year Number of subscribers 1983 10.155 1984 21.329 1985 38.894 1986 58.365 1987 95.932 1988 146.929 1989 194.827 1990 260.111 1991 302.274 1992 340.423 April 1993 376.000 Source: DBP Telekom Telebox in contrast to Datex-J/Btx only offers a message handling and e- mail system. This service is based on the X.400 standard. It was established in 1984 and in January 1993 has nearly 5.700 mailboxes (Table 2). The monthly membership fee amounts to $29. Per minute the customer has to pay at least 22 cent plus a charge depending on the volume of the information transmitted. Due to its rather expensive tariff it has a very limited number of users - more than half of its boxes are inhouse connections of the DBP Telekom - and remains a service for professional business users. Table 2: The development of Telebox Year Number of boxes 1984 362 1985 626 1986 889 1987 1087 1988 1323 1989 2093 1990 2813 1991 3335 1992 5362 January 1993 5672 Source: DBP Telekom >From the point of view of DBP Telekom these two services are not very successful to date. They are both loosing money and have failed to reach the market penetration goals set when they were launched. Concerning Datex-J/Btx the idea that there is great scope for videotex-based information services to the residential sector, because the information can be displayed on domestic television sets prooved to be wrong. More than 80% of the new subscribers use their PC to get access to the videotex system. Besides DBP Telekom more than thirty private companies provide commercial e-mail services in Germany. About 20 of these companies are specialized on messaging services, the other offer electronic mail services only as part of their value added and managed network services (Table 3). Five of the more important pure information services suppliers are CompuServe, Connect, GeoNet, GTC and MAXDAT. Their number of customers varies from about 1000 up to about 20.000. Many of these companies are only providing regional services, e.g. Telehaus Mu"lheim and Telehaus Nordhorn, or specialise on certain groups of customers, e.g. ComBox is a system for journalists and reporters. Table 3: Private commercial e-mail systems Supplier Service Only E-mail Enhanced Services Alcatel SEL X AT & T X BT X Cable & Wireless X CocoNet X ComBox X CompuServe X Connect X debis X Deutsche Mailbox X GEIS X GeoNet X GSi X GTC X HBB X IBM X INAS X Info AG X Infonet X MAXDAT X MCI X Meganet X Microsoft X MSN X Radio Austria X Radio Schweiz X RMI X Rechenzentrum Buchhandel X Telehaus Mu"lheim X Telehaus Nordhorn X Unisource X Wieskes Crew X Source: Ku"hnapfel/Gerwin 1993, WIK These messaging services very often include access to online database informations. Suppliers of online databases on the other hand sometimes offer e-mail services. A good example of an integration of both types of information services is Rechenzentrum Buchhandel GmbH. It provides services for booksellers. These include databases of books available and email services. The prices of these messaging services vary concerning the installation charge, the monthly fee, the volume of transmission and the usage time. In addition the service provider charges a monthly minimum and offer discounts. Because of these very different pricing schemes comparisons are difficult. With regard to the total market volume of commercial provided external information services some estimations are availabel. Table 4 shows the development of the German E-mail market volume from 1989 to 1992. These figures imply an annual growth rate of more than 90%. Other very different estimations of the electronic messaging and information markets exist, but they agree that firstly most of the market volume falls to online database services and secondly the annual rate of growth at least amounts to about 20%. Table 4: E-mail market volume 1989-1992 Year Turnover (mill. US-$) 1989 18,1 1990 35,0 1991 67,5 1992 150,0 Source: Scicon Networks 1989 *** (Next: In Part 2, Dr. Stoetzer presents "3. Non-commercial services", "4. Inhouse solutions", and "5. Conclusions and outlook", in his survey of the current state of "Information services in Germany".) *** FYI France: Network Ideas from Europe -- Germany (part 2 of 2) edited by: Jack Kessler email@example.com In Part 1, Dr. Matthias-W. Stoetzer, of the German Wissenschaftliches Institut fu"r Kommunikationsdienste (WIK), described the current state of commercial networking services in his country. Here he continues, with "3. Non-commercial services", "4. Inhouse solutions", and "5. Conclusions and outlook", concluding his survey of the current state of "Information services in Germany". As I said before, in Part 1, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone, in French, German, Italian, and any language of your choice (even ascii). * / \ / * \ /* * \ ------- / \ Jack Kessler firstname.lastname@example.org *** Information services in Germany: A survey (part 2 of 2) by: Dr. Matthias-W. Stoetzer (continued) 3. Non-commercial services As to non-commercial offers certainly the most relevant system is the German research network WIN (Wissenschaftsnetz). This telecommunication network is provided since 1990 by the German association for a research network, DFN (Deutsches Forschungsnetz). It is a packet-switched network based on the X.25 standard and provides a variety of telecommunications services especially for the academic and scientific community. The WIN offers the infrastructure for a lot of higher protocols like DECNET, SNA, TCP/IP, X.400 and so on. The services include gateways and relays to the EARN/Bitnet system, the Internet system and X.400 Message Handling Systems, thus linking the users to the research networks in Europe and the USA (DFN 1993). Furthermore, the WIN serves as an access to many national and european databases, e.g. ECHO (European Commission Host Organization) and offers file transmission possibilities, e.g. using the FTAM and FTP protocol. The number of research institutions and universities using the WIN has grown from more than 200 in January 1991 to more than 400 at the beginning of 1993. The subscribers have to pay a flat-rate tariff per year independent of the amount of transmission, the distance and so on (about $9.900 for a 9.6 kbit/s connection). Compared to the prices of other telecommunication services providing the same functionality, this prizing scheme in general turns out to be cheaper and does not involve any uncertainties as to the bill at the end of the year. The subscription to the WIN is not allowed for the commercial transmission of data between enterprises. Besides the DFN as an official attempt to promote the use of telecommunication services for the academic community many private e- mail systems exist. These systems still concentrate on topics mainly relevant for "Computer Freaks". Therefore, the most widely used applications are the exchange of information as to PCs and programming, the downloading of shareware and public-domain software and computer games. During the last years the use also began to cover other areas of interest like e.g. chat lines and information as to astronomy, cooking, environmental protection, philosophy and politics. These e-mail boxes are organized in networks using the same software, but due to many existing gateways they are for the most part linked together. For transmission of data they almost exclusively rely on the telephone network and modems. Market estimations count for at least 2.000 of private messaging systems, bulletin boards and e-mail boxes. The most relevant systems are FidoNet, the German part of the worldwide Fido Network with about 800 systems, Zerberus-Net (around 200 systems), MausNet (around 50 systems), AmNet (around 40 systems), MagicBox, SubNet and UseNet (Gro"nling 1992). To cover their cost some of these private electronic messaging systems are charging their users with moderate prices. The tariffs vary from $2 to about $6 per month. 4. Inhouse solutions Besides these information services that with some qualifications are open to the public there exist many inhouse applications of electronic messaging and online-database systems. Most of the large German enterprises have their on internal e-mail solutions that go beyond local area networks. A prominent example is the air transport industry, where Deutsche Lufthansa runs an e-mail system connecting nearly all their establishments worldwide. Also the insurance companies in Germany belong to the early adopters of new telecommunications services. A representative investigation points out that in 1992 only about 8% of the German banks but 30% of the insurance companies use (internal and external) electronic mail systems (Stoetzer 1993). Furthermore the automobile manufacturers, e.g. Volkswagen and Daimler Benz, use electronic information systems and also the German chemical industry is part of the business community relying on large and sophisticated inhouse networks. 5. Conclusions and outlook In comparison to the USA the use of information services in Germany surely is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the nineties a wide variety of applications by business, academic and private users on commercial and nonprofit grounds exist. Concerning the professional use of information services it is necessary to distinguish online database and messaging services. The use of online databases by business customers will be influenced by CD-ROM based information supply. Certainly, CD systems will become a substitute for traditional online database services with the exception of real-time- information services. On the contrary, the use of electronic messaging systems by enterprises is claimed to be a most promising market. These very optimistic forecasts and studies need a cautious interpretation, having in mind that this development should already take place in the eighties but at that time failed because of the emergence of telefax. As to the academic community e-mail and file transfer will become more popular during the next years. Their use will spread from informatics and natural sciences to the social sciences. This reflects the increasing awareness of these services and the increasing knowledge as to the use of computers. The use of e-mail services by private households in order to communicate probably will be limited to a certain group of users. This group of people using their PC for the exchange of private information and entertainment will increase only with moderate rates because the residential sector prefers to use more simple telecommunication services (telefax, answering machines). As to the mass market for commercial information systems and databases a market potential exists, considering the increase of penetration rates of PCs of private households during the last years. In this area homebanking might become an important application. But the representative household will carefully compare benefits and costs of different solutions. In this respect an alternative like phone-banking may turn out to be more cost effective. Therefore, electronic information services like Btx/Datex-J will only become a success story in the residential sector if their price will be low enough. Dr. Matthias-W. Stoetzer Wissenschaftliches Institut fu"r Kommunikationsdienste (WIK) Rathausplatz 2-4 D-53604 Bad Honnef 1 References Eric Danke: Bildschirmtext (Btx), in: Franz Arnold (Ed.): Handbuch der Telekommunikation, Ko"ln, 1989-1993. DFN (Deutsches Forschungsnetz): Verzeichnis der Anwender des Wissenschaftsnetzes (WiN) und der DFN-Dienste, Nr. 11, Ma"rz 1993. Dieter Gro"nling: Elektronische Na"chte, Die Welt der Mailboxen und Computernetze, Frankfurt a.M. 1992. Jo"rg B. Ku"hnapfel, Holger Gerwin: E-mail- und TelefaxMehrwertdienste, Eutelis Consult, Ratingen, 1993. Scicon Networks: The Market for Value Added Services in Europe, London, 1989. Stoetzer, Matthias-W.: Der Einsatz von Mehrwertdiensten in ausgewa"hlten Wirtschaftsbranchen. Eine empirische Bestandsaufnahme, (Forthcoming), Bad Honnef, 1993. ISSN: 1071-5916 end XXX FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter ISSN 1071 - 5916 * | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter, | published since 1992 as a small - scale, personal, | experiment, in the creation of large - scale | "information overload", by Jack Kessler. Any material / \ written by me which appears in FYI France may be ----- copied and used by anyone for any good purpose, so // \\ long as, a) they give me credit and show my e - mail --------- address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if // \\ if it is going to make them money, they must get my permission in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their permission. FYI France archives are at http://infolib.berkeley.edu (search for FYIFrance), or via gopher to infolib.berkeley.edu 72 (path: 3. Electronic Journals (Library-Oriented)/ 6. 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