A Journals place on the Internet

An editorial on it's marketing role and future potential.
From Rolf Diederichs, the publisher of Ultrasonic Testing OnLine

The Internets prospects
The year 1995 has seen an increased awareness, globally, of the Internet. Prior to this the world of the Internet [gif] was seen in relation to the computer "hacker". This increased awareness, however, does not lead to the conclusion that access to the Internet is available to all, but rather it indicates a greater acceptance and desire to become involved in the world of the Internet. This is not the mysterious and strange animal it once was, and a more widespread use is only a matter of time. I am therefore inclined to agree with the recent calculations made by Microsoft regarding Internet usage; that the number of users will increase from the current figure of about 50 Million to some 100 millions in the near future.

One of the reasons for this is clear; Microsoft's own on-line strategy has changed. They are no longer giving MSN a high priority. This is due to the fact that they recognise that the power of the Internet is such that private networks cannot compete. The role of the private networks is degenerating, and they are increasingly becoming merely a gateway to the Internet. This is illustrated by CompuServe and T-Online's decisions to advertise on the Internet.

Microsoft's new role is to incorporate the Internet functions into their own Microsoft Office software package. This means that the Internet will soon be accessible in many offices via standard computer software. Communication will take on a new and more efficient form. When access is gained the new users will encounter the established facilities of the Internet, which are:

As the PC is perceived by many as user-unfriendly, this of method of access will not even be considered by some. This has been recognised by certain manufacturers, and Philips, for example, have announced the launch of a television which will incorporate an Internet Browser. This is to be released in March of 1996. Other manufacturers have also announced that they will be launching Internet mini-terminals which will cost under $1000. These developments can but add to the spread of Internet use. |Top|

The widely differing opinions about company Home Pages.
You can currently buy HTML pages for a mere $5 US, or with Compuserve it is included in the membership charge. Others charge clients a few cents when an individual page is accessed. The main questions you should ask are in relation to Server functions, bandwidth and other offered services. Also, how easy will it be to find your page on the Internet? It should not be sufficient only to inform your established customers of your new Internet address thus "http://www.xyz.abc/test/homepage/company.htm".

Alternatively, those at the other end of the market speak proudly of their own exclusive Server. But the true financial costs of this are in the region of US$30.000 to 100.000 worth of investment each year. When the wish is for functions more sophisticated than mere text, the costs accordingly increase, and at a rapid rate. But this aim to increase Server functions is logical as this is the basic reason for owning a Server.

I personally prefer a midway stance. Choose a quality Server provider which can deliver the features you need both now and in the future. Load your pages on the Server and get your own Domain-Address "www.company.com". Your presence is then quick and inexpensive to achieve. You also remain flexible and independent and so can always transfer to another Server. |Top|

Electronic Publishing in general
I am sure everyone is well aware of the piles of magazines and newspapers which litter their homes and offices. In addition, it is no longer possible to save the information contained therein. There are two reasons for this.

  1. The human brain is not equipt to store and then retrieve the increasing amount of information that daily reading throws at us.
  2. The printed word is not easy to save physically.
The electronically produced publication brings many advantages. Although Off-line reading diskette or CD-ROM have their own advantages, many see the new on-line medium as more relevant . This is especially important for newspapers and magazines which must keep up to date. |Top|

Electronic Publishing with an Internet On Line Journal
I would prefer that online journals have a standard, well-known format, ( as with printed journals), for easy user navigation. It would be wrong, however, to neglect the important element of further electronic features such as, Feedback-Mail, Archives, Chat room and Multimedia. This is being supported by the increase of bandwidth . All this is free of charge to the reader.

Also a journal can assist in the exposure of application software, specifically due to the download feature of demonstration software. The new program language Java will offer, for the future, many advantages. The licence for this is owned by Microsoft. Would it not be fantastic if an ultrasonic application program could be operated on-line as a hired product. The NDT applications software experts would gain a new dimesion of customer contact. |Top|

Some sceptics may say: "We have or will invest in our own Internet presence (Home Page), so what use can a Journal be to us? "
My own experience has taught me that the quantity of information on the Internet is so high, even for the field of ultrasonics, that a single supplier is difficult to find. Also, it is very time consuming to visit all of the sites you deem of interest.

I have discoverd, through my search as an engineer, specifically helpful start pages which bring organisation into the chaos. Such a start page currently exist in the UT-Journal in the form of a "Virtual Library". This is one feature which attracts over a thousand discerning readers to the journal every month. More statistical data is available, relating to the exact pages accessed, through the Server-Log. It is predicted that with the general rise in the Internet usage, readership will increase to 5,000 - 10,000. |Top|

How is the journal financed?
This is achieved in a variety of ways, and here I can detail the methods that this journal uses as an example. One way is the accepted route of placing advertisements from industry. Another, more innovative way through a new department called the "Virtual Exhibition". All will gain from this new opportunity, including the environment. We don't need to wait for hours in traffic jams on the motor way queuing up for an exhibition.

Now we just need to type "http:// ........" and we can click the mouse to take us from one hall to another, in a comfortable and convenient way. Soon we will be able to meet, in real time, with stand personnel, who themselves are sitting in a their own comfortable offices too.

Obviously, the above article arouses a "social contact" discussion. Howerver the message here is not that life and work should occur only in a virtual way. Rather, that the advantages, of the advent and development of the online world, should be recognised and utilised. |Top|

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©copyright Rolf Diederichs 31.Jan.1996, info@ndt.net
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