chapter
B
Pages 10

Term meaning ‘business-to-business’. Not exactly a concept, but an

important element of the current architecture of interactive

communication, especially in multimedia applications. ‘Horizontal’

b2b commerce has proven more important than ‘vertical’ b2c

(business-to-consumer) interactions thus far in the new interactive

economy. In fact b2b is now an identifiable business sector in its own

right, sustaining a vibrant culture of Internet sites and portals

devoted to assisting, exploiting and expanding this sector (see, for

example, http://www.communityb2b.com/ or http://www.b2btoday.com/)

Among the reasons why b2b matured more rapidly than the

potentially much larger-scale b2c are:

. businesses invested in interactive technologies to a much higher degree than individuals, resulting in a widespread availability of fast,

networked systems in many businesses large and small;

. the ‘new economy’ applications of IT spawned many microbusinesses and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) able to

compete with established dinosaur corporations online – the base of

business itself broadened (at least temporarily);

. digital and broadband infrastructure was slow to roll out in most countries, making household connection to the Internet both slow

and expensive;

. retail consumers proved reluctant to divulge their personal and credit details online, and may also have had qualms about the extent

to which their actions could be tracked and exploited.