IN BRIEF: Eleven million ten- to seventeen-year-olds have wireless connectivity in the U.S. Concurrently, the number of Internet users in Asia will jump to 188 million by 2004. What does one have to do with the other in terms of B2B growth? More than one might think.
As this writer surveys the vast terrain of changes over the past year in the B2B sphere and endeavors to sum it up, the truth is the past is already history. What summons as a year end wrap-up is the future. And that future is beckoning.
If one can get past the stock market spikes and dips and the flops and consolidations in B2B, two startling trends emerge. One is the explosive use of both the Internet and wireless devices among the youth of industrialized nations with eleven million children between the ages of ten and seventeen having wireless access in the U.S. . In four years, that number is estimated to jump to 50 percent of all youth. With that kind of jump, there will also be an increase in demand for youth-oriented content and services. The number of children using the Web in the U.K. has also doubled in the past two years, with up to 65 percent of youth having online access. Numbers like this imply that the net and wireless activity will be a common as cable TV to this generation.
Concurrently, the number of Internet users will jump to 188 million by 2004. Even a country like Thailand will expand its B2B usage upwards of US$15 billion a year in durable goods and petrochemicals by 2004. What these two seemingly disparate trends point towards follows. Young people are coming of age net and wireless savvy. Asia, and by implication, some lesser developed countries, are waking up to the power of the Internet. As one group matures, so does the other. And as B2B emerges out of its net nappy, there will be a cadre of young, skilled workers with innovate not yet heard of uses to boost B2B trade to levels not yet seen.
These youth will demand that their elders workplaces get up to speed and demand Internet Protocol (IP) enabled supply chains and connectivity. What was a new idea at the end of the last millennium will become an IP backbone mainstay within a decade, because there is no turning back time in this, the newest millennium.
Ellen Pearlman is a senior analyst at Basex.