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European Survey of the Information Society - Interim results

The European Survey of the Information Society (ESIS) was launched in February 1997 by the European Commission's Information Society Project Office (ISPO). Following the first seven months of work on the survey, ISPO has presented an interim report on the results achieved.

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The European Survey of the Information Society (ESIS) was launched in February 1997 by the European Commission's Information Society Project Office (ISPO). Following the first seven months of work on the survey, ISPO has presented an interim report on the results achieved.

The aim of ESIS is to conduct a survey of actions and projects being carried out by the Member States in the field of the Information Society. The project, which is scheduled to run for an initial period of two years, is being conducted by organizations in each Member State, with coordination at European level undertaken by ISPO.

The core of ESIS is establishing an inventory of projects. These projects must use information and communications technologies in an innovative, interactive way and provide remote access. The inventory is being constructed on the basis of a standardized questionnaire submitted by project promoters. To date some 10,000 questionnaires have been sent out to project promoters all over Europe, and over 600 completed questionnaires have been returned and entered in the ESIS database.

As a result, preliminary national and European, qualitative and quantitative analyses, based on concrete data and statistics, are now available (type of promoters, project focus and application areas, target groups, geographic level of development effort and user access, technologies employed, sources of funding, etc.).

With regard to the application areas covered by projects, the highest proportion of projects fall within the education and training sector (40%). Other areas which are well represented include: public administration and government (30%); trade and commerce (27%); and arts, culture and entertainment (22%). The sector with the least projects received was the transport and environmental development sector.

The main barriers to project development expressed by the respondents are of a financial nature (costs of development and infrastructure). Other barriers include human resources constraints and legal issues. Interestingly, user resistance is seen as the least important barrier. More complete statistical results of the project to date are currently being prepared and are expected to be made available online within the coming months.

ESIS also includes the monitoring and regular analysis of new regulations as well as actions aimed at promoting public and private initiatives in the Information Society. National summaries, based on detailed analytical reports, highlight the main developments in this area and are updated quarterly. The 15 reports present an unprecedented European panorama. A synthesis is being prepared and will be presented shortly.

The first ESIS conference will take place, in Brussels, in December 1997. The conference, which will be addressed by Commissioner Martin Bangemann, will include a presentation of the main findings of the ESIS projects to date. The agenda of the conference will soon be available on the ISPO WWW server (see below).

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