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Extended Products in Dynamic Enterprises


EXPIDE will bring ongoing research projects closer to each other in order to identify collaboration opportunities, mainly in promoting, disseminating and exploiting the respective project results to industry and advice to the EC.

Combining the knowledge gained by many different European funded research projects to create a coherent view on Extended Products in Dynamic Enterprises is the core issue of the EXPIDE cluster project. The development of digital business concepts and systems realised in both business to business and business to consumer research projects must be synthesised otherwise it will never be possible to bring results together - or to contribute to the development of standards. Extended products make it necessary to think very clearly about the product lifecycle to assure that elements such as service, maintenance or reverse logistics concepts are clearly considered in the early phases of the product life-cycle.

The term Extended Products has its origin in discussions that were started in the 1980's about the product development process. Initially the discussions focused on computer integrated manufacturing and then proceeded into the current discussions on virtual and extended enterprises. Extended enterprises concentrated on the early stages of the product life cycle (design and engineering). The later phases, such as use and maintenance of the product, were also considered (see the next Figure). Feedback of operational experience during these stages helped create efficient products. More concretely we are talking about life-time support for a product which is new in this dimension. What is surprising is that design and engineering have not been seriously taken into account for many models. The place of those technologies enabling e-business solutions within industry will increase rapidly in the future. The so-called "extended product" is a term which describes this new view. "Extended product" is a new term and includes tangible and
intangible products as defined below:
- Tangible extended products can be intelligent, highly customised, user-friendly and include embedded service
- Intangible extended products consist of, for example, services, software (tools), and are normally information and intensive knowledge

In the future it will be necessary for the research community to synthesise the results of RTD projects dealing with extended products. These include: Information flow and material flow, B2B, B2C e-commerce, digital business causing changes in business processes, extended business models, virtual and extended enterprises, and life cycle support. The EXPIDE project provides the framework where this efficient co-operation can take place.

The main project goal can be summarised as follows: Establish a Forum for research projects that are concerned with the development of RTD solutions for Extended Products.

Sub-objectives of the project include:
1. Delivering a discussion forum about the extended enterprise (products)
2. Information exchange, which includes projects of the cluster, production management and extended enterprise experts and other projects dealing with ex-tended products
3. Incubator for promising research results
4. Creation of an e-business roadmap for extended products
5. Based on surveys and studies, development of standards will be discussed.
6. Trans-european collaboration with the USA
7. Provide new mechanisms to identify and promote EU-project collaboration needs

As a cluster project EXPIDE will support the co-ordination between RTD projects al-ready in receipt of funding. The exchange of acquired experience is of the highest importance. In addition, the project will increase critical mass and expand research efforts in the area by networking various players.
The EXPIDE project invites interested partners and project to join the cluster.

Work description:
The EXPIDE web site provides an efficient sharing point of the cluster. To profit from the web site offers, an on-line registration is necessary. After registering the members will be saved in a database that allows the members to contact each other. Furthermore chat rooms and a forum have been created in order to cross-fertilise the discussion between the partners.
The EXPIDE consortium emphasises the dissemination of both innovative research results of IST-project and important events within the research community. Registered members will continuously be informed by a mailing list and they will get automatically the EXPIDE Bulletin. This bulletin mainly discusses innovative research results and suggests relevant web sites or online documents.

The activities of the EXPIDE cluster can be summarised by pointing out that the Up-Take of innovative research results from many projects of the European Commission has not taking place. Therefore EXPIDE will try to support promising research projects. Furthermore EXPIDE will provide a dissemination and exploitation platform for all projects dealing with the extended enterprise and extended products. EXPIDE will be present on most important international conferences dealing with these issues. Therefore EXPIDE organises workshops all around Europe and the US on various topics related to the extended Enterprise. Workshop reports will be disseminated to the participants and of course the EXPIDE members. Many researchers, EU officials or manufacturers shall be involved during the next years
Are you interested in ....
- Extended Products and E-Fulfilment
- Extended Enterprises (e.g. agile enterprises, virtual enterprises, fractal enter-prises)
- Advanced services around Products (operation, maintenance, recycling)
- Life-cycle-support for Products
- Business to Business E-Commerce
.... join the EXPIDE Cluster for free ... (currently access to information about 25 European RTD Projects)

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