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***New critical, ‘always-on’ applications for broadband to include e-backup, collaborative working, e-trading and Voice over IP***

New research from leading UK portal and e-business provider, Shopcreator has identified the top five ‘killer apps’ that are set to drive increased UK broadband take-up during 2004. According to Shopcreator, broadband is about to enter its next phase as it evolves from being an exciting new technology to becoming a powerful platform for a new generation of critical, ‘always-on’ applications. Shopcreator’s CEO, Andy Kitchener, believes there are four key application categories – e-trading, e-backup/security, collaborative working and expenditure reduction – that are best-positioned to take advantage of broadband’s fast and always-on connection, and drive more widespread broadband penetration.

As part of its 2004 broadband research programme, Shopcreator has worked with key business partners such as BT Global Services to identify those applications available that will help enable always-on connectivity. This is particularly relevant for the growing number of SMEs that demand enterprise-class performance but have previously found it beyond their budget. In addition to Shopcreator’s own Apex e-business suite and EasyCommunity portal solution, key applications identified include:

* BT Datasure – for backing up individual PCs or networks
** SurfControl – for managing Internet access
*** Solutions to enable low-cost calls with Voice over IP connectivity
**** The latest Microsoft Office and business applications that operate in a shared environment across broadband as true collaborative working tools

“By now everyone should be familiar with the benefits that broadband offers for personal use – faster music downloads, faster web page access, and faster access to e-mail – particularly if the requirement is for significant media downloads.

However, these aren’t benefits that have readily transferred to the business environment,” commented Andy Kitchener. “For 2004 though, we believe that SMEs are particularly ready to take advantage of an entirely new generation of critical, always-on applications that are optimised to benefit from broadband’s 24-hour connectivity and increased speed. Specifically, these focus on key application areas such as business generation – through e-trading and e-prospecting; business protection with e-backup and security; reducing existing expenditure through business cost reduction, and the kind of business process improvements that come from always-on collaborative working.

“Clearly the Government is determined to promote broadband as the engine for our
e-economy. However, until we give businesses compelling reasons to sign up to broadband, we can’t really expect high speed access to become pervasive,” added Kitchener. “We believe that in the list of critical, ‘always-on’ applications we’ve identified, we’re at last giving UK businesses the reasons they need to commit to broadband. For example, we’re offering faster communications, so businesses can become more productive, we’re recommending SurfControl and anti-spam programmes so that businesses can keep their Internet use focused, and we’re highlighting how new technologies such as Voice over IP can deliver real cost reductions.”

Shopcreator is already finding that businesses of all sizes – from Sainsbury’s and Guardian Newspapers through to SMEs such as Camera Depot and the Wood Floor Warehouse - are responding well to its focus on business generation tools such as e-business. Smaller businesses are also turning to broadband for standard business processes such as back-up, where always-on solutions such as BT Datasure, InTechnology or Netstore back-up can provide online regular back-ups of multiple GBs of key Sage or Microsoft data. Shopcreator recently announced a major partnership with BT Global Services, BT’s managed services and solutions provider. Under the agreement, Shopcreator’s full suite of solutions will be added to BT’s portfolio of best-in-breed technology services.

About Shopcreator:
Shopcreator is a leading provider of portal and e-business solutions to public sector, SME and corporate organisations, with leading customers including, Sainsburys, the Co-Operative Group, Safeway’s, Watford FC, London Irish Rugby Club, the Science Museum, Girl Guiding Association, Sheffield Theatres, Yorkshire and Humber Assembly, Aston Villa FC and the Daily Mail. The company provides end-to-end e-business solutions including education and training, consultancy, bespoke software, graphics design and full project management. Shopcreator was recently listed as one of the Sunday Times/ARM Tech Track 100 fastest growing unquoted technology companies, and was also ranked by Deloitte & Touche as one of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in the UK. Visit www.shopcreator.com

For more information please contact:

Cheryl Billson
IBA, PR for Shopcreator
Tel: 01780 721433

Published on: 12:00AM on 2nd March 2004