Ohio to Make E-Commerce History on September 21

Columbus, Ohio -- September 14, 1999 -- Ready or not, electronic commerce is transforming the nation's economy. Quick adaptation to e-commerce capabilities is the key to global competitiveness in the 21st century. Next week, Ohio will become the first state to benchmark its readiness for this new economy.

The Governor's Office, Ohio Board of Regents, OSC and leaders from major Ohio industries and universities will announce the kickoff of ECom-Ohio at a special press conference at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 21 in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. ECom-Ohio will assess Ohio's readiness for global electronic commerce, examining issues ranging from adequacy of network infrastructure to how Ohio citizens' demand for e-services is increasing. The project brings together major industries, statewide technology leaders and partners in government and education.

"Ohio has a history of creating partnerships among government, industry and academic leaders to help the state prepare for its future." said Glenn Brown, the Governor's Science and Technology Advisor. "This, together with the state's diverse economy and population, make it an excellent pilot for this type of project."

"It is critical that we understand how Ohio's economy is changing, and in turn, develop the technical and policy infrastructure required for Ohio's industries to remain competitive," said Lars Nyberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NCR Corporation.

This three-year project will help the state compare different Ohio regions, as well as the rest of the United States, in the areas of network infrastructure reliability and use. In addition, businesses and industries will learn how continued expansion of this new, digital economy will affect their future. The state will become a model for others that will use the methodology and analytical tools developed by the ECom-Ohio project.

"Ohio must be a leader in knowledge-based industries, which will be the drivers of our new economy," said Roderick G. W. Chu, Chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents.

ECom-Ohio will use benchmarks established by the Computer Systems Policy Project in 1998. These benchmarks can be found at http://www.cspp.org/gecreadinessguide. A statewide steering committee consisting of business, industry, education and government leaders will oversee six regional leadership teams. Regional teams perform network infrastructure inventory, domain and website analysis, community planning and affordability, real-time product testing and user surveys.

Still in formation is a statewide steering committee co-chaired by the Ohio Board of Regents' Chu and NCR Corporation's Nyberg. The founding members of the committee also include, among others, the Governor's Science and Technology Advisor, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KEANE, Inc.

A consortium of Ohio institutions will help implement the project using six basic tools to gather data and real-time observations on the operation and use of Ohio's digital economy. The Implementation Team includes: OSC (Ohio Supercomputer Center), The Ohio State University, University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Youngstown State University, Ohio University and the CAMP-Access Center for Electronic Commerce.

Support for the project comes from the Ohio Department of Development ($150,000 per year for three years) and Ohio industry partners (each will offer $20,000 support per year for three years). The project is housed at OSC, the stateÕs flagship high performance computing and networking resource.

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