Select Committee on European Union Written Evidence


Memorandum by eCity Technologies Limited (eCT)

  The following is a summary document outlining the efforts of eCity Technologies to establish a first complete electronic environment in the City of Londonderry in Northern Ireland and in so doing evolve a model of best practice for other cities, towns and regions to follow.

  Most recently the "eCity Project" has been selected by the "Digital Economy Project" through ERNACT to deliver their foresight study vision to the region of the North West of Ireland. It is hoped that this can be a model for the other eight ERNACT regions of Europe to follow.

eCT Mission Statement

  eCT intends to become a market leader in delivering complete electronic environments to towns, cities and regions. While eCT will market eCityPlanTM initially to cities and towns in the global community, it will also target large and medium-sized corporations requiring specialist e-business solutions. eCT will take full advantage of the unique opportunities presented by electronic commerce, and increase market share in the larger arena of Information and Communications Technology.

  eCT will use proprietary technology together with the support, applications, technology and expertise of its Strategic Partner companies, who are world leaders in their fields. eCityPlanTM will include a set of integrated products and services supplied by many renowned high tech companies, but tailored to fit the requirements of business, government and municipal authorities.

THE COMPANY

  Headquartered in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, eCity Technologies Limited ("eCT") was founded in May 1998 by Brian Doherty, Dr Bernard Toal and Elaine Doherty, to meet the growing demand for new e-infrastructure design and innovative electronic services and applications for today's e-environment. eCT engages in the research and development of specialist e-business software, e-based solutions, application services and infrastructure design.

  eCT is not a dot.com company but one that engages in electronic infrastructure design whilst researching and developing e-business software applications to provide high quality content for delivery over high speed broadband e-infrastructure.

  Collectively the founders have over 40 years experience in Information Technology, Business Management, Organisational Development and e-Commerce.

THE PRODUCT—"ECITYPLANTM"

  To meet the pressing needs of cities, towns and local businesses to transition from traditional economic platforms to e-business environments, eCT has developed an interactive Multiple-Application Modular Software Programme, eCityPlanTM. Providing a complete solution for the implementation of an e-infrastructure as the base for a new ebusiness environment in any location, eCityPlanTM consists of a structured methodology, and interactive multi-level software applications, to enable any municipal authority, business or public institution to deploy ebusiness technology and fully implement an electronic environment.

  eCityPlanTM enables any town, city or region to successfully deploy e-based solutions to transform traditional economic and social structures at all levels of community life to an e-based environment. eCityPlanTM provides clients with a content-rich, user-friendly electronic environment and multiple applications for the benefit of local citizens and businesses of any given community.

  eCityPlanTM will lead the way for adoption of ebusiness technology globally in the 21st century. eCityPlanTM will become the reference model of best practice for others to follow by establishing the seamless integration of both the virtual and physical city such that they appear as but one.

ECT—STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

  eCT aims at becoming a market leader in the delivery of Turn-Key E-Infrastructure Design Solutions to towns, cities and regions wishing to create electronic environments. eCityPlanTM will be marketed to towns and cities worldwide, and will also target small and medium-sized corporations requiring specialiste-business solutions. eCT will exploit the unique opportunities presented by electronic commerce, and increase market share in the larger arena of Information and Communications Technology.

  Unlike most other e-business service providers, eCT will use proprietary technology, combined with the support, applications, technology and expertise of Strategic Technology Partners, who are industry leaders in their fields. eCityPlanTM will include a set of integrated products and services tailored to fit the requirements of local business, government and municipal authorities.

MARKET

  As time passes ever more quickly in today's high tech world, many businesses will lose competitive edge or fail completely because they have failed or been slow to adopt e-business technology. City authorities are therefore increasingly seeking to encourage their local business communities to adopt e-business Wh

solutions, in order to remain competitive and increase prosperity.

  The profile of any city can be enhanced significantly depending upon the success of those enterprises located there. Presenting cities and towns with the ability to deliver a fast track approach to an electronic environment and generate revenues and profit in the process will encourage cities around the world to adopt the eCity approach.

  The key target markets for the eCityPlanTM are municipal authorities, communities, local businesses, public service organisations and households.

The Case for Developing an Electronic Environment

  In today's electronic age being "online" is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. The desire to do anything, anytime, anywhere, is driving technological change. More and more communities are seeking to improve the image and quality of life in such a way as to encourage inward investment and increase the prosperity of their citizens.

  Many municipal authorities are seeking to grow their town or city by attracting high tech investment. They do this in many ways but more often by presenting the image of a progressive city with a well-planned economic development strategy. Furthermore they encourage take-up of e-business solutions amongst local enterprises. However, the influence for change is primarily external, since nearly all change is governed by developments taking place elsewhere in the world. This is due to the fact that electronic business solution providers are developing products for specific markets, often with little regard as to how these solutions will integrate with or complement other solutions.

  As time passes ever more quickly in today's high tech world, many businesses will be left behind because they have failed or been slow to adopt e-business technology. City authorities are therefore increasingly seeking to encourage their local business communities to adopt e-business solutions, in order to remain competitive and increase prosperity. The profile of any city can be enhanced significantly depending upon the success of those enterprises located there.

  Many factors contribute to economic prosperity. In creating a critical mass of high technology companies, cities will always highlight local education standards, the availability of a well-educated and highly skilled available workforce, and the standard of Information and Communications Technology infrastructure as key factors in attracting inward investment.

  It is no doubt the dream of every city and town to have all of the above in abundance. However, cities have little or no control over the manner in which local enterprises, public institutions, and indeed citizens, increase their involvement with electronic commerce. This is by and large controlled by the sales and marketing efforts of private enterprises delivering essentially similar products and services in a variety of ways.

  To date no outside product or service exists to enable municipal authorities to influence or indeed control the degree to which all entities within a city or town environment participate in e-business. With this specific market niche in mind, eCT has developed eCityPlanTM as a fast track solution for cities and towns to create a complete electronic environment in their own communities.

  Encouraging the municipal authorities of cities and towns throughout Europe to adopt the eCity approach can be made much easier by demonstrating the fact that not only will such a project implementation dramatically improve the profile and prosperity of the urban environment but also inject substantial funds into the municipal authority's coffers.

  With the development of a broadband private city network, most business enterprises, educational institutions, Government Departments and other organisations, private and community based, will seek to locate their web presence within the broadband structure. Since the city network will provide much faster online access than the Internet and contain quality local content, citizens will be more likely to adopt it as the online gateway of choice.

  The network will be owned and controlled by the city authorities and operated with the single purpose of increasing prosperity within the city. The ability to offer local businesses a fast route to local consumers will encourage rapid take-up of the concept. The populace will always seek to source goods and services locally first and only extend the search for items to the WWW after having attempted to source them from their own community. In providing local enterprises with an on-line virtual business park and shopping mall the municipal authority helps to retain wealth and offer its citizens a direct route to facilities such as price optimisation and quality service. Local enterprises in turn enjoy repeat business and customer loyalty.

  eCityPlanTM can demonstrate to a city or town how they can not only fast track to an electronic community but make significant profit in so doing.

A European Network of eCities

  The establishment of a European network of eCities linked by high speed fibre optics and satellite technology can provide enormous benefits both economically and culturally.

  Experiences can be shared together with knowledge and expertise.

  The novel appeal and concept of a global satellite network of high tech towns should serve to encourage cities across Europe to become the first eCity in their respective countries. As each new eCity is established the first in each country becomes the hub that is uplinked to the global satellite eCity network.

19 June 2000


 
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