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Developing Information Technology and Telecommunications for Tomorrow's Office

Objective

The main objective of the project is to demonstrate the need for an IBC network in order to handle the type and intensity of information traffic generated in future office environments. The demonstration involves extensive communication experiments in three different insurance companies throughout the European Union. The electronic case handling and communication systems to be demonstrated will also be applicable in other applications such as banking back-office and government departments. The project aims to demonstrate how the efficiency of the industry can be improved by storing and transferring documents electronically and by providing video and audio services integrated into the case handling system.
The main objective of the research was to demonstrate the need for an integrated broadband communications (IBC) network to handle the type and intensity of information traffic generated by the future office environment. The demonstration involves extensive communication experiments at 3 different insurance companies throughout the European Community. The electronic case handling and communication systems demonstrated are also applicable to banking back office and government departments. The research also aimed at demonstrating how the efficiency of the industry can be improved by storing and transferring documents electronically and by providing video and audio services integrated into the case handling system.

Key issues in the research are to:
increase user awareness and involvement in applications;
demonstrate the need for IBC to handle different types and intensity of information traffic;
show the generic potential of electronic case handling and communication systems;
indicate the potential efficiency improvements achieved by storing and transferring documents electronically and by providing video and audio services integrated into case handling;
introduced enhanced testing methods and tools for case handling evaluation.
Technical Approach

In order to provide a suitable experimental environment a case handling system is installed in a distributed client/server architecture, including mainframes. This system supports full multimedia information over a FDDI-LAN and WAN. A Broadband Network gateway as used in the project, building on results of existing RACE and ESPRIT projects and commercially available products. In the early stages of the trial, use will be made of basic rate ISDN video-phone services. ISDN access from a remote case-handling workstation is either direct or through the FDDI gateway. With respect to the security and integrity aspects, the project concentrated on the installation of security functions of communication through the FDDI gateway, software development for local and remote user authentication and, possibly, video connection authentication. Key management and user management implementation using smart cards for personalisation are also implemented.

Key Issues

- Increase user awareness and involvement in applications.
- Demonstrate need for IBC to handle different types and intensity of information traffic.
- Show generic potential of electronic case handling workflow and communication systems, also for other business sectors.
- Indicate potential efficiency improvements by storing and transferring documents electronically and by providing video and audio services integrated into the case handling.
- Introduce enhanced testing methods and tools for case handling evaluation.

Expected Impact

Electronic case handling with its requirements for high speed data processing, data communication, data management and video imaging is an ideal application for investigating the impact of advanced communications and information technology on the structure and functioning of the office of tomorrow and the virtual office.

Coordinator

DIGITAL EQUIPMENT ENTERPRISE BV
Address
Oude Apeldoornseweg 41-45
7300 AE Apeldoorn
Netherlands

Participants (8)

BNR Europe Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
London Road
CM17 9NA Harlow
British Telecom plc (BT)
United Kingdom
Address
British Telecom Laboratories Martlesham Heath
IP5 7RE Ipswich
COMPUTER INDUSTRY RESEARCH UNIT
United Kingdom
Address
2,Dove Street
NR2 1DE Norwich
COMPUTER TASK GROUP (EUROPE)
Netherlands
Address
Neptunesstraat 20
2132 JB Hoofddorp
Commercial Union Assurance plc
United Kingdom
Address
St Helens 1 Undershaft
EC3P 3DQ London
DELTA LLOYD VERZEKERINGSGROEP N.V.
Netherlands
Address
Spaklerweg 4
1000 BA Amsterdam
Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance plc
United Kingdom
Address
Ballam Road
FY8 4JZ Lytham St Annes
SIGOS SYSTEMINTEGRATION GMBH
Germany
Address
Klingenhofstraße 50 C
8500 Nürnberg