Advanced IT Tools
TRACK 1: Innovative Applications in the Public Sector The integration of multimedia based applications and the information superhighway fundamentally concerns the creation of a communication technology to support the ac tivities of people. Communication is a profoundly social activity involving interactions among groups or individuals, common standards of exchange, and national infrastruc tures to support telecommunications activities. The contributions of the invited speakers and others in this track begin to explore the social dimension of communication within the context of integrated, information systems for the public sector. Interactions among businesses and households are described by Ralf Strauss through the development within a real community of a "wired city" with information and electronic services provided by the latest telecommunications technologies. A more specific type of interaction between teacher and student forms the basis of education. John Tiffin demonstrates how virtual classrooms can be used to augment the educational process. Carl Loeffler presents yet another perspective on interaction through the integration of A-life and agent technologies to investigate the dynamics of complex behaviors within networked simulation environments. Common standards for communication in the form of electronic documents or CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work), according to Roland Traunmiiller, provide en abling technologies for a paradigm shift in the management of organizations. As pointed out by William Olle, the impact of standardization work on the future of information technology depends critically upon the interoperability of software systems.