Architecture of E-Business
Nov 08 -14, 1999
Electronic business - the process of conducting business online using
the technologies of the Internet - creates a powerful environment in which businesses,
customers and suppliers are never more than a few mouse clicks away. In this dynamic
environment, businesses can reach new customers, create new sales channels and win loyalty
through innovative customer service. Key suppliers can be integrated into a company's
internal business processes, leading to streamlined processes, cost savings, improved
decision-making and faster times to market.
For all the power of this environment, however, there are also
challenges. Retail companies offering commerce Web sites must contend with the fact that
their competitors' sites are also just a click or two away. This puts a premium on
ensuring that Web content is stimulating and engaging and that customers can find the
information they need quickly and effectively. In the business-to-business arena,
companies must create clear and effective ways of integrating their business processes
with those of various vendors and suppliers to maintain a competitive advantage.
Rich content is key
Rich content plays an important role in supporting business
differentiation within a competitive environment. Rich content combines interactivity with
multimedia technologies such as full-motion video, streaming audio, and 2-D and 3-D
animation. Using these technologies enhances and heightens the e-business experience via
sensory, interactive, personalized and real-time content and processes.
Rich media content can replace or enhance static information that is
merely read, offering instead the ability to see and hear information. From streaming
videos showing customers how to easily perform a formerly complex procedure to interactive
3-D product catalogs that help streamline business procurement processes, PCs based on
high-performance systems such as the Pentium III processor provide an ideal platform for
rich content e-business applications. By deploying rich content e-business applications
and Pentium III processor-based client PCs, companies can enjoy the full benefits of the
electronic business revolution.
PCs based on the Pentium III processor and mobile computers based on
the Pentium II processor offer exceptional multimedia performance, which makes these
systems ideal for both creating e-business content and experiencing the rich, interactive
content that helps make e-business so compelling and powerful.
Pentium III processor-based systems combine high integer performance
for running productivity software with high multimedia performance for a vivid experience
of rich color graphics, animation, audio and video. They provide fast compression and
decompression of Web data, including Java, XML and HTML applications, plus high
floating-point performance and an advanced graphics architecture to speed the rendering
and viewing of 3-D graphics. Pentium III processor-based systems also speed the
performance of widely used browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape
Communicator, which feature advanced multimedia and push technologies.
By virtue of the high volumes of Pentium III processor-based platforms,
customers can count on a wide range of available applications and tools for electronic
business and other areas.
Servers based on industry building blocks deliver powerful, scalable
performance at a fraction of the price of most proprietary systems. According to
International Data Corporation, about half of the Internet and intranet servers used in
the United States are based on Intel microprocessor and server systems technologies. These
standard high-volume (SHV) servers combine low cost and high performance, allowing
companies of any size to strategically distribute computing power where it is needed,
anywhere across their networks. Companies can easily add more servers as their business
grows, and because these systems are standard, multipurpose machines, they can be
re-deployed as business needs change.
Cost-effective, high-performance client platforms and servers for
Web-based visual computing are only two parts of the e-business equation. The third
component is cost-effective, easy-to-scale networking that links legacy systems to visual
computing applications, and employee desktops to each other and the Internet.
Intel offers a wide range of high-performance networking products
designed to create high bandwidth connections between servers and clients. Intel's network
management products allow an entire corporate network to be managed cost-effectively.
Intel as a catalyst for e-business
Along with offering building block technologies that underlie the
world's e-business infrastructure, Intel supports a variety of technologies that make
e-business transactions faster, richer and more relevant to changing business
environments. The company works with key players throughout the industry to advance
e-business technology, expand its availability and simplify its implementation for all
concerned, including large corporations, small businesses and consumers. Intel's efforts
are focused in the areas of software developer support, e-business market alliances,
market development initiatives and e-business production site development. In addition,
activities such as Intel's Wired for Management initiative help make the e-business
infrastructure easier to manage.
Making e-business content compelling and effective
VRML Models and 3-D Graphics
VRML allows customers to "play with" a product, viewing it
from any angle and moving it around within a viewing environment. (A customer could, for
example, arrange the furniture in a virtual living room.)
VRML is also highly effective for online training scenarios, such as
those where users may want to practice assembling or taking apart a complex piece of
equipment, or connecting it with other equipment.
Intel works with VRML vendors to optimize their plug-ins for
high-performance IntelŪ Architecture-based systems. These optimized plug-ins will be
capable of displaying detailed 3-D objects with smoother movements and a richer, more
interactive experience overall.
Streaming audio and video make it feasible to play audio and video over
corporate intranets, even to users with 28.8Kbps or 56Kbps modems. Previous approaches to
networked video and audio required an entire video to download to the user's PC before it
could be watched. Depending on network bandwidth, a video clip might take up to ten times
longer to download than to watch; the cumulative load of networked video could be
considerable. With streaming media such as Intel Indeo 5.0 video technology, users can
both view and listen to a file while it is being sent to the PC. This way, there is no
downloaded file to store and delete.
High resolution images
imaging can be used to easily create interactive, 3-D-like image
environments on the Web. This includes interactive, 360-degree panorama environments,
which give the user the sense of being at the centre of a scene with the ability to view
or zoom into it from any direction.
Users can also easily stitch together photos of various angles of an
object to create an interactive 3-D-like object. Intel works with digital imaging software
vendors to enhance the user experience, and to enable easy image authoring by taking
advantage of the power of the Pentium III processor for image editing and manipulations.
Plug-ins are browser extensions that allow users to experience on the
Web. For example, the user can experience smoother video playback and near CD quality
audio with the new G2 player from Real Networks.
Java applets are applications that download from a Web server and run
locally on a Java-enabled browser without requiring a plug-in. In conjunction with
interactive experience for users. PCs based on the PentiumŪ III processor run Java
applets quickly and responsively.
XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
Businesses spend millions of dollars annually converting data between
incompatible, proprietary file formats. XML is an emerging de facto standard that
addresses this problem and makes it easier for different departments or companies to share
and effectively use information. XML specifies a method for storing data within documents.
Using this specification enables companies to exchange information between applications,
converting documents, memos, e-mails, Web pages and other information from an unstructured
wealth of knowledge to a highly structured and organized "library of knowledge."
Users can also do precise, full-text, full-context searches.
Scalability detection techniques
Scalability in this context means the ability to tailor Web content to
fit the capabilities of the user's PC, including factors such as processing power,
available plug-ins and other media capabilities. Intel supports vendors developing
technologies that deliver scalable content, such as streaming 3-D. Plug-ins that use these
streaming technologies will deliver higher quality images and more complex content to
high-performance Intel Architecture-based systems, thus giving users a more rewarding
experience. Scalability detection techniques can be performed by the server or the client
(i.e., the user's PC).
In server-side detection, specialized software on the Web server
queries and determines the capabilities of the requesting browser. The software can also
extract information from the client's Internet Address to determine whether the user is
connecting through a high-speed cable network or from a dial-up network. Client-side
detection is similar, except that the user's computer determines the browser's
capabilities. This requires that the customer's browser supports extensions such as
scripts that tell whether a specific plug-in is available.
Traditional databases were designed for storing numbers and strings of
characters rather than images, audio, 3-D models and HTML information. Newer e-business
tools help with developing and deploying secure, interactive client-server and
Web/intranet applications across an organization. Features include the database server,
full capabilities for managing databases at remote offices, data replication services and
Web/intranet services. To help with e-business solutions, the work-group server can be
integrated with Internet server software. This combination provides robust Internet
services for Web-based database applications and support for browsers on the desktop.