Click on our Sponsors to help Support SunWorld

Wire your business now

6 new e-commerce tools shown at Internet World help you set up a store front, track customer buying patterns, create online catalogs, and deliver products

By Marc Ferranti, IDG News Service

December  1996
[Next story]
[Table of Contents]
Subscribe to SunWorld, it's free!

Mail this
article to
a friend

New York (12/16/96) -- Though industry insiders don't believe that Internet consumer transactions will become widespread for at least another few years, the Internet World show this month in New York demonstrated that there are plenty of electronic commerce software packages available for companies that want to wire their business now.

Only 15 percent of large businesses now have simple World Wide Web sites, according to Internet studies presented during the show by the Gartner Group Inc. and AT&T. But it won't be until 1999 that 30 percent of Web sites will have executable content, according to the Gartner Group, based in Stamford, CT. (See related story " When will business boom on the 'Net? ").

Not that there won't be a lot of people online. "The Internet will likely come into its own in 1998," said David Taylor, vice president and research area director for the Gartner Group, at a seminar that coincided with Internet World. "Major breakthroughs in backbone performance, local access performance, application development tools and Internet usage will raise the Internet to a higher plateau of capabilities."

As many as 100 million people will go online on the Internet next year, according to the Gartner Group. However, it won't be until 2000, when Internet development tools are mature for both interactive content and secure transactions, that a good 25 percent of commercial transaction applications will have moved onto the Internet, according to the Gartner Group.

But for companies that want to start selling products over the Internet now, Internet World provided a good opportunity to check out the state of the art in electronic commerce tools.

Software packages geared toward online transaction processing and electronic commerce unveiled at the show included the following:

Building Web content
The Vayu Web 500 Internet sales and marketing application from startup Vayu Web Inc. of White Plains, NY. The package's Virtual Design Studio module allows developers to create or take HTML pages from their current sites and run them together. In this way, developers can create slide shows or animations for nontechnical users who may find navigating through a Web site's hyperlinks daunting. Programmers can attach a button to a Web site that lets users launch an animated version of the site or create a site that is, in effect, a presentation.

Future versions of the package are expected to include credit-card-encrypted transmission for online purchases. Vayu Web 500 also includes a proprietary artifical intelligence (AI) engine that detects the rate that data is being transmitted to a user, adjusting graphics, audio, and video transmission accordingly.

The software piqued the interest of Sun Microsystems Inc. officials at the show, who said that Sun may consider licensing the software's AI engine for sound and video sequencing. Talks between the companies are at a very early stage, according to Sun officials. Vayu Web's Web site demonstrates the software, priced for 60 days at an introductory offer of $3,000.


Building a commercial site
The WebForce Commerce Tookit, from Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI), of Mountain View, CA, was designed for SGI's WebForce servers and uses the company's Cosmo suite of authoring tools to provide HTML, VRML, and Java capabilities for creating commercial Web sites, according to the company.

Set for release in the first quarter of next year and priced at $2,995, the package includes drag-and-drop database links, cataloging tools, and connections to transaction processing and payment systems.

Tracking customer buying patterns
Cat@log Direct to Web, from The Vision Factory Inc., of Boulder Creek, CO, is a set of tools for Internet commerce site design and operation and offers ODBC database integration. The suite includes Cat@log Builder ($1,950) for linking sites to back-end databases; Cat@log Online Publisher ($2,650), which generates pages based on cusomter requests; Cat@log Consumer Statistics ($995), which helps track customers browser and purchasing patterns.

Fill-in-the-blank catalog system
Cartalog, from startup Virtual Spin LLC, of Bellevue, WA, gives nonprogrammers a fill-in-the-bank approach to setting up an online catalog with an ordering system that can accept credit-card purchases. The software is licensed on a subscription basis at $49 per month for a year's license.

How to develop a store front
The Speedware Store Version 2.0, from Speedware Corp., of Toronto, Ont., Candada, is designed to let businesses develop online store fronts and offer consumers browsing, payment, and shipping services.

The new version offers integration with CyberCash Inc.'s payment system and the ability to run on Windows NT and Windows 95, and on Unix-based machines from Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, and Sun. It is priced starting at $10,000, depending on the platform.

Shipping software
Gigex, from startup V-Cast Inc. of New York, is an Internet software-delivery package. The product is designed for companies that want to ship large software packages and files of up to 1 gigabyte, according to V-Cast. The package is set up on the shipper's PC, and no installation is required on the receiving end.

The product is available for Windows only, but is slated to be released for the Macintosh and Unix in January. Pricing was not immediately available. A demo of the software is available at the company's Web site.

Software download option
The Xoom Software Network, from Xoom Software Inc., of San Francisco, CA, provides subscribers with unlimited access to download applications over the Internet at an annual fee of $29.95. Applications include an e-mail filtering robot, Word-compatible word prcoessor, Excel-compatible spreadsheet, a personal information manager, a photo retouching program, and clip art, sounds and video.

Users keep the software they download and will get updates and new titles that the company plans to add to the network.

--Marc Ferranti, IDG News Service

Click on our Sponsors to help Support SunWorld


What did you think of this article?
-Very worth reading
-Worth reading
-Not worth reading
-Too long
-Just right
-Too short
-Too technical
-Just right
-Not technical enough

[Table of Contents]
Subscribe to SunWorld, it's free!
[Next story]
Sun's Site

[(c) Copyright  Web Publishing Inc., and IDG Communication company]

If you have technical problems with this magazine, contact

Last modified: