BT is to replace its bespoke internal messaging system with a standard groupware and messaging environment based on Microsoft Exchange Server.
According to Microsoft, the BT installation will be the largest in Europe, with over 100,000 users, and the second largest installation of Exchange in the world. In addition to providing messaging and groupware, the new system will be integrated into BT's own intranet system. Microsoft Exchange was chosen after a six month evaluation. Lizzie Beesley, group information officer at BT, said: "The way we work is changing radically. We want to use (technology) to give our people the information to delight customers and to support teams - virtual teams - working across units and across the world."
Oracle has entered the entry-level database design tool market with a product aptly named Database Designer. The tool is positioned as a low-cost alternative to Oracle Designer/2000 and uses diagrams and wizards to allow users to design databases interactively. It supports Oracle 7, Oracle's RdB and Personal Oracle Lite, SQL Server, DB2 and other databases via ODBC. Database Designer is priced at #835.
The government is considering plans to replace the traditional siren as a warning of impending disasters with a telephone-based system. Sirens, it is believed, are less effective today because of increased levels of background noise. BT has produced a prototype of a phone alarm system, now being demonstrated to the Home Office. The system works using Ordnance Survey maps. Operators select the area likely to be affected by a disaster and uses BT databases to find out all the phone numbers in the area. A recorded message then goes out to each of those phones, warning the inhabitants of the danger.
SPA has enlisted Santa Claus' aid in its new World Wide Web treasure hunt. Claiming to be the first ever European treasure hunt on the Internet, the SPAnta Claus Web Contest started yesterday and is open until Christmas, giving entrants the chance to win up to #20,000. To enter, players need simply visit the SPA Web site at http://www.spa europe.org and follow the set of on-screen instructions to find cryptic clues pointing the way to answers located on a selection of European Web sites. The competition is sponsored by several leading industry players, including Microsoft, Claris, IBM and Novell, and offers daily prizes of #1,200, as well as the top prize of #20,000. SPAnta Claus is intended to help users familiarise themselves with the World Wide Web. Both the contest and the SPA itself are non-profit-making.
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