Global e-commerce growth predicted

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Lifting internet security for all commercial transactions may grow global e-commerce by a factor of six, expanding from US$1 trillion last year to nearly US$6 trillion by 2006, a new survey of US chief technology executives has revealed.

A global anti-piracy lobby group of mainly major software vendors, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), has released an IDC study on the future of technology. CEOs in the US – mainly BSA members – were canvassed for their opinions on future IT innovation.

The BSA-sponsored study, dubbed “Enabling Tomorrow's Innovations”, claimed improvements in internet security could multiply global e-commerce revenue to nearly US$6 trillion by 2006.

It also noted that 75 percent “or more” of the benefits software could deliver lie ahead, and claimed that the industry could create more than 1.5 million “high-paying” jobs globally and generate another US$290 billion in global tax benefits over the next four years.

“Of particular importance, the study concludes that despite the fact that three decades of astonishing software innovations have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, 'the best is yet to come',” the BSA's statement on the study said. 
 
Other findings were that 65 percent of the world's billion web users would be accessing the internet wirelessly within 10 years, that the number of online gamers will grow to 100 million, the number of converged mobile phone-PDAs – 'smartphones' – will swell from four million to 80 million globally, and wireless hotspots in the US will grow from 20,000 to 140,000.

The BSA study also predicted that productivity improvements in the next five years could yield up to US$140 billion in annual cost savings to industry.

Unsurprisingly, the anti-piracy BSA included a white paper in its announcement, with a 'call to action', suggesting businesses and governments must take certain steps “to realise technology's full potential”. Businesses and governments should improve the protection of intellectual property rights to encourage further investment in software development, the study stated.

“Without such protection, investors won't invest and software developers and computer makers won't be able to create cutting-edge products,” the BSA's statement said.

The study also said developers must improve their focus on user needs, and advance business models along with the technology. To that end, further investment in lifting developer skills would be needed. “New delivery, development and deployment techniques promise new choices and options for businesses and consumers alike,” the BSA said.

BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, Cisco Systems, CNC Software/Mastercam, EDS PLM Solutions, Entrust, HP, IBM, Intel, Internet Security Systems, Intuit, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates, Novell, PeopleSoft, Robert McNeel & Associates, RSA Security, SolidWorks, Sybase and Symantec.

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