ECom-Ohio Assessment Challenges Ohio to be a Leader in the E-commerce Revolution

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 24, 2000) — 

ECom-Ohio today released its statewide and regional assessments of Ohio's readiness for electronic commerce. At the event, key leaders in government, education and industry unveiled action agendas designed to help Ohio lead in the coming e-commerce revolution. The action agendas require key industry, infrastructure and educational changes to be made at both the state and regional levels.

Roderick G.W. Chu, Chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents and co-chair of the ECom-Ohio statewide steering committee, added, "We will need to make some tough decisions--some big bets on infrastructure, so we can reach anyone, anywhere. More fundamentally, we will need to take steps to change people's way of thinking, so that Ohio's citizens and businesses have the tools they need to remain competitive as our economy is transformed by the Internet and information technology."

Ohio is the first state in the country to measure itself against a comprehensive set of national benchmarks on its Internet readiness. The Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP), a partnership of America's leading information technology companies, developed benchmarks for 22 specific indicators covering six areas: infrastructure, access to critical services, business online, citizens online, government online, and community planning.

Lars Nyberg, chairman and CEO, NCR Corporation and ECom-Ohio co-chair, was actively involved in the CSPP effort: "Two years ago, we set out to define standards for 'readiness' for global electronic commerce. Ohio is the first state in the United States to comprehensively benchmark its progress using these standards."

Governor Bob Taft, in attendance to lend his support to Ohio's efforts to promote e-commerce, said, "Ohio must be a leader among states and nations on the frontier of knowledge and technology. The ECom-Ohio project has taken on the challenge of defining what it means for Ohio to be a leader in e-commerce applications."

  • 48 percent of Ohio households own a computer
  • 43 percent use the Internet
  • 16 percent purchase goods online
  • 45 percent avoid e-commerce because of privacy concerns
  • 37 percent perceive lack of access to the Internet
  • While nearly 70 percent of businesses use computers, only 28 percent use the Internet and only 15 percent have a website

Nyberg remarked, "Make no mistake, the networked economy expands every day and is a major force in all of our lives. As leaders in Ohio, we must be ready for the people and businesses of our state to capitalize on this new economy. . . . For Ohio to accelerate to Internet speed, we as the leaders of government, education, and business, must agree on how Ohio can grow faster than the rest of the U.S. to succeed in our networked economy."

Monday's event, broadcast over the Internet to five sites in Ohio from the source site at OSC in Columbus, was also designed to demonstrate the difference between the potential of broadband and narrowband technologies.

An emerging new standard technology (video over IP via H.323) was used at the press conference to link Cincinnati and Columbus with full-motion video and audio. In contrast, the other Ohio sites used a limited bandwidth application, streaming video over the Internet that required telephone connections for real-time questions and answers.

Over 200 businesses participated in ECom-Ohio Regional Leadership Teams during the past year, coordinated statewide by EISC (Edison Industrial Systems Center), the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Systems, Dayton's IT Alliance, and the Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition (Nortech). Among the most critical issues addressed were workforce readiness, adequate broadband access, network connectivity, and Internet business usage levels for penetrating new and expanded product markets.

ECom-Ohio is an initiative of OSC's (Ohio Supercomputer Center) Technology Policy Group. ECom-Ohio is an initiative of OSC's (Ohio Supercomputer Center) Technology Policy Group. ECom-Ohio is funded by contributions from 18 firms on the Statewide Steering Committee and the Ohio Department of Development.