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News from NET and COM '99

  • NTT Data to Test Community E-Commerce System in July
  • February 5, 1999 (TOKYO) — NTT Data Corp. said that from July 1 onwards it will run a trial of a new local community-based electronic commerce system.
    The system, called the “Area Commerce Network,” will use the Internet to allow local shopkeepers to display their prices where local people can view them from the comfort of their own homes. If somebody decides to make a purchase, they will simply use a smart card to carry out the transaction electronically.

    Most trials of e-commerce systems held to date have been centered on security matters related to verifying data when payments are made. By contrast, the focus of the NTT Data trial will be to try to revitalize the relationship between small local stores and the potential customers who live in the community.

    The trial, which the company is jointly promoting with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Mitsui Real Estate Sales Co., Ltd., will also serve to appraise the performance of both the overall system and the individual technologies developed by NTT Data, such as Internet access terminals and smart cards. The trial will run until the end of November. The companies hope that next year will see the full commercial launch of the system.

    The two communities chosen to take part in the trial are located in Honmoku and Kohoku, Yokohama. There are plans to recruit a total of 400 households from the two areas to act as monitors. The monitors will all be provided with the system’s Internet terminals and smart cards, free of charge, and will then use them to make purchases from local stores.

    NTT Data’s Internet terminals use the customer’s own TV screen as a monitor. They can also be used for ordinary Internet browsing and for sending and receiving email.

    Transactions for goods bought via the system are performed by inserting the smart card into the terminal. Then, when the transaction has been completed, money is automatically debited from the user’s bank account.

    Along with providing the Internet terminals, NTT Data will also launch another service for creating customized Web pages for both individuals and stores. It will allow individual users and owners of small shops to have their own sites on the Internet, even if they have little or no knowledge of HTML. The aim is to get more people, including those without computer or Internet experience, to use the Area Commerce Network system.

    NTT Data selects the Internet service provider, and pays the fees, for users of the Area Commerce Network system. The monitors will only have to pay the telephone charges incurred for the time they spend connected to the system.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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