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Web Hosting Study


WEBHOSTS is to support the IST programme and contribute to EU policy and social objectives by a cross-programme socio-economic study in a 5 - 10 year view on the emerging market of web hosting. The new business models and services of web hosting providers will be researched, benchmarked, and matched with the demands of European industry, in particular those of SMEs.
In 8 work packages, 58.5 person months of work is organised, comprising, inter alia; conduction and analysis of mass mailing questionnaires to 12,000 selected targets, 600 telephone interviews and 200 face to face interviews with European key industrial players. All related macro economic and socio-economic issues will be dealt with, validated and refined to create a decision and policy making study result, publicly available and to be disseminated at 4 national symposia in GR, PT, FR, and D and 1 European conference in Brussels.

The objective is to support the IST programme by a socio-economic study with a 5 - 10 year outlook on the emerging industry of web hosting. Hosting service providers and industrial users, in particular SMEs, will be researched and the future impact of web hosting on e-business, macroeconomic implications and socio-economic importance will be evaluated.
The study will benchmark offerings of web hosts in today's market and will identify best practice of key players. A business model will be developed in order to provide guidance to new entrants into the web hosting market, and to SMEs seeking cost-effective solutions to creating an Internet presence and developing e-business.
The results will be disseminated to target audiences through a variety of channels (e.g. conferences, publications, project website). It is intended to provide a publicly owned, validated study, which will guide EC policy and support the future solutions to challenges for the EU industry in the knowledge driven economy.

Work description:
8 Workpackages are scheduled, with 60 person months of work.
The organised work plan will result in tangible deliverables, the outcome of which will be monitored by the co-ordinator who will also conduct any communication reporting to the EC services in WP 1 Project Management.
WP2 will focus on groundwork requirements for embarking on such a significant empirical research undertaking. A focussed desk literature and Internet research will be conducted to establish an initial information base on web hosting service providers and users.
Further a contact database and analytical framework using guidelines, concepts, definitions, as well as metrics for underpinning the analysis of empirical data will be defined.
These considerations form the basis for a short questionnaire mass mailing to 12,000 target companies (WP3), 600 telephone interviews, and 200 face-to-face interviews, the latter of which are to be done in WP4.
The work will be performed as a common, co-ordinated effort, whereby the partners are covering different geographical areas, including EU members and the new accession states.
In WP 5 Delphi-type validation work will be carried out in an expert workshop, stressing in particular the important questions on matching suppliers and demand, as well as socio-economic / macroeconomic / regulatory and policy issues involved.
Subsequently in WP6, the study will be refined and a best practice business model will be drawn up in a final stage to be completed in month 16 of the project lifetime.
WP 7 which spans the entire lifetime of the project entails assessment and evaluation of success, including peer review of key results.
In WP 8 the outcome of the study in form of intermediate, validated and refined reports will be made publicly available via Internet dissemination and holding of 4 national workshops in Athens, Hamburg, Lisbon and Paris, as well as an international conference to be held in Brussels.

Main result is a publicly available study on web hosting industry and market, with a 5-10 years forecasting period.

Five milestones are scheduled:
M1 (month 6): summary analysis of mass mailing questionnaire, dissemination and use plan;
M2 (month 9): first draft of WEBHOSTS study after completion of interviews;
M3 (month 13): draft validated study;
M4 (month 16): refined study and;
M5 (month 17): report on completed dissemination work.

Call for proposal

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Participants (3)