(Nikkei BP Group)
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| Matsushita to Supply Network Computers to 4,000 Employees
January 29, 1999 (TOKYO) -- Matsushita Electric Works Ltd. plans to supply
about 4,000 network computers to employees by the year 2000.
|The plans call for the company to develop an environment which allows
its entire staff, except a few of those who are at the production headquarters,
to use intranets via the network computers (NCs).
Matsushita plans to operationally test several hundred NCs at its sales
office in Nagoya. It then plans to gradually introduce NCs at offices
nationwide. Matsushita is the first company in Japan to introduce NCs
on the scale of several thousands of units.
Matsushita has been working to introduce a company-wide information system
on the basis of the intranets. It has already distributed one PC to
each of its more than 10,000 employees. About 4,000 employees who deal
with order acceptance/distribution tasks will be given their PC later.
Matsushita aims at having its company-wide intranets run NCs, which will
replace host computers' exclusive terminals. NCs will be distributed
to some of the management board members, including the president.
Although use of application software available for the NC is limited,
"NCs can not only be used in place of host computers' exclusive terminals,
but also used for the Web as well as for email. Quite a few staffers
consider NCs more than sufficient for daily tasks," said Masahiro Hamada
of the Information System Center of Matsushita.
Matsushita said it ended up spending more than 100 million yen (US$880,000)
when in 1996 it replaced Windows 3.1, an operating system for 3,400
PCs, with Windows 95.
"A large part of operating system replacement must be done manually,
therefore, the more the number of PCs to be worked on, the higher the
costs. We are currently holding the upgrade of Windows 95 to Windows
98, however, the operating system will have to eventually be replaced
again within several years," said Hamada. Because of this, the introduction
of the one-PC-per- person system is restraining total cost of ownership.
The NC can easily be centrally managed as it downloads software from
a server only when it is necessary. "This makes the software replacement
task very simple. Moreover, since our employees are not allowed to freely
add software to NCs, we can avoid unnecessary troubles," said Hamada.
"NC Desktop," Oracle Corp. Japan's operating system for the NC, will
be loaded on the server. Matsushita plans to select a product equipped
with a built-in processor and priced similarly to low-priced PCs. Negotiations
with several makers such as Fujitsu Ltd. are currently under way.
"The price is expected to be slightly lower than PCs with similar performance,"
Related stories: Matsushita Electric Works to Use NCs for Enterprise
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