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  1. Technology
November 3, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

PA Consulting Group Ltd yesterday outlined the key information technology issues that it believes UK businesses must address when formulating their European strategies for the single market, as part of the Confederation of British Industry’s initiative on 1992 launched on Monday (CI No 1,048). PA is conducting a series of seminars, backed up with various publications, to be held in 13 locations throughout the UK during June 1989. Ian Begg, senior PA consultant, sees the willingness and ability of businesses to take advantage of information technology in the competitive struggle after 1992 as the difference between winners and losers. Companies developing an efficient management of the flow of information, good communications and rapid decision-making will, he says, prosper in the single market, while those that lack the means to communicate effectively will be at a competetive disadvantage. 1992 inevitably means that resources of people and materials, capital and investment will flow into the areas of greatest economic advantage, but what of those businesses outside the golden triangle of Paris, Bonn and London? PA believes that new technology can overcome the obstacles of remoteness and regards new telecommunications services as crucial to this. Value added data services, where the UK accounts accounts for 80% of the European activity, mobile communications, with the development of second generation cordless telephony for speech and text, satellite systems and Very Small Aperture Terminal systems will be instrumental in the process, although the cost of entry into these markets is high. On the other side of the coin, the traditional telecommunications market is seen as less important in this process. A decline from seventh to eleventh place in the world for UK exports of telecommunications equipment is forecast by 1990, and PA criticises the fact that British Telecom has made no commitment to the establishment of a high-speed national fibre optic network. In addition, the European Community is to implement a directive by the end of 1989 that will liberalise telecommunications services other than basic voice and data transmission, and telex, accompanied by open competition in the supply of receive only satellites. Whatever the implications of information technology for businesses in the scramble towards the Single Market, it is expected that the post-1992 environment will primarily benefit end users as a result of lower costs from both competition and economies of scale.

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