Interforum, an industry organisation formed to encourage the use of networking technology among UK businesses, has relaunched.
Last week the group, which has had a low profile since its formation last June, unveiled a Web site, discussed its first white paper and announced plans for a major symposium.
Interforum, a non-profit making organisation, is dedicated to helping UK businesses derive commercial benefit from adopting emerging networking and communications technologies. It has 15 charter members, including IBM, Sun and BT.
The white paper, entitled Commercial opportunities and threats in the networked economy, will be published at the group's second symposium on 14 April. Aimed at board-level managers, it sets out the technological challenges facing UK businesses. It suggests too few companies are IT-aware and too many are under-investing in technology.
The group is taking a two-pronged approach to achieving its goals: educating and lobbying. The former activity will be targeted at UK businesses and take the form of white papers, meetings and conferences such as the forthcoming symposium. The lobbying effort will be focused on government once the general election has taken place.
"We all gain if UK business is successful," said Chris Phillips, IBM's networking computing solutions marketing manager. "We have a shared view of the business advantages of networking."
Paul Ellis, business development manager at BT, voiced some anxiety that UK businesses are behind their US counterparts in Internet usage. "The service industries and all industries without a physical manufacturing focus are seriously under threat from the Net," he said.
"We want to be visionary for 12 months ahead - we're not looking at technologies that are five years into the future," added Andrew Bush, market development manager at Sun. He said the aim was to develop practical, short-term strategies for companies which would quickly deliver business advantages.
Interforum membership costs #1,495 for vendors and #995 for corporates.
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