FAQs – SME Engagement
- What is the DBE?
- Why is it called an Ecosystem?
- Why would SMEs participate in the DBE?
- How does it work?
- Who currently controls and funds the DBE?
- What has happened in the project up to now?
- How is it different to other similar approaches?
- What does it cost to get involved?
- What software do I need?
- Is there any technical support available?
- How can I get involved?
- What are the plans for the DBE in the future?
- Where do I go for more information?
- Where Can find auto and moto features?
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- What is Economic Cooperation?
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- What is Bedroom Furniture?
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- What is Watch Boxes, Cases?
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- What is Bath and Toilet Appliances?
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- What is Electricity?
- What is Flashlights and Torches?
- What is Glass?
1. What is the DBE?
DBE (Digital Business Ecosystem) is a free, open source and distributed software platform that is based on Internet technologies. It is designed to enable SMEs, specifically, to create, integrate and provide services (both real world and software) more efficiently and more effectively.
It has been conceived so that SMEs can, at a minimal cost, bridge the digital divide that many experience when trying to offer their goods and services on the Internet.
In practical terms, this means that you can use the software available on the DBE to advertise existing product or service offerings, create new services and combine your own services with those of other SMEs to create new offerings. You can also integrate your own software with that of other SMEs on the DBE to enhance your business processes.
With improved and extended products and services, you can broaden your market reach; increase your B2C competitiveness and equally your B2B edge.
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2. Why is it called an Ecosystem?
It is called an ecosystem because we intend that both software and business models will develop varied forms as a result of adaptation to changing environments much like in nature’s ecosystem.
3. Why would SMEs participate in the DBE?
The DBE gives you unlimited access to software solutions that are designed to address the specific needs of SMEs. You can integrate existing applications with current business partners as well as find and combine applications and services with new partners. This enables you to extend your product and service offering, broaden your market reach, as well as find new and better suited business partners and suppliers.
If you do not have a web presence, the DBE can enable you to create an easy-to-use, flexible e-commerce environment.
4. How does it work?
You can download free software to your computer that connects you to the DBE’s peer-to-peer 1 environment. From here, you can post your existing ‘real world’ products and services on the DBE. You can also connect with other SMEs to create new ‘DBE services’ (technical representations or ‘manifestations’ of real world services), combine your own product and service offerings with theirs and advertise all of these to other SMEs across the DBE. The DBE is built using Open Source principles, which means that there is no fee involved for software and anyone can develop or extend the system as they see fit.
5. Who currently controls and funds the DBE?
The DBE is an integrated project, supported by the European Commission, of some 20 European partners including, Sun, IBM and Intel as well as academic institutions such as the London School of Economics. The project itself has a budget of 14 million Euro and runs until February 2007. There are also a number of follow-on projects relating to Digital Ecosystems in the EU’s 7th Framework (http://www.digital-ecosystems.org/events/2005.05/de_position_paper_vf.pdf)
6. What has happened in the project up to now?
Up to now, the 20 plus project partners have researched the concept and feasibility of a digital ecosystem for SMEs. They have also been developing the Open Source software and the digital environment necessary for SMEs to use the ecosystem. In addition, initial regions and SMEs have been engaged in the project via local drivers known as ‘Regional Catalysts’.
7. How is it different to other similar approaches?
Standard Internet search engines search for web pages and their contents, whereas the DBE searches through semantically rich, distributed repositories of businesses and services. Unlike other similar approaches, it combines ‘semantics’, which enable businesses and their services to be described and searched, with ‘syntax’, which simplifies how they can be connected. The DBE is a Peer-to-Peer network, which uses Internet technologies combined with a set of open source tools, therefore providing greater accessibility and added advantages to non-technical businesses.
DBE is also built on open and standard compliant components that allow the easy integration with your existing infrastructure. The DBE can communicate through open standards such as SOAP 2 (Simple Object Access Protocol) allowing interaction with W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) compliant web services running on the WS-* (Web Services) stack. Not only can the DBE work through these standards, but it can be extended to integrate with legacy infrastructures.
8. What does it cost to get involved?
Essentially, it’s free! Some features can be used by just using a normal web browser. However, to get the full benefit of the DBE, you will need to download and install software. If you do not have software development skills in-house, you may need to employ the help of a software developer to get your services created the way you want them, or you can seek help within one of DBE community’s user forums. http://www.digital-ecosystem.org/DBE_Main/Forums
All of the DBE’s software components are released under their respective open source licenses. Therefore, redistribution and use is permitted provided that the conditions of those licenses are met.
9. What software do I need?
To get started, you just need an Internet connection and web browser. With these you can download all of the free software onto your own computer that enables you to create and host your own DBE services.
10. Is there any technical support available?
Yes, there are several forums, blogs and wikis on the Internet where you can get technical information and support. (For example: http://www.digital-ecosystem.org/Forums/DBE_Computing) as well as other sources of information such as lists of developers who specialise in Open Source software development.
11. How can I get involved?
If you are an SME, you can simply visit www.digital-ecosystem.org for more information or contact your local government development authority, which may be interested in facilitating participation in the DBE in your region.
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12. What are the plans for the DBE in the future?
In February 2007, the DBE will be handed over to the DBE community and a suitable sustaining entity. There are also a number of follow-on projects relating to Digital Ecosystems in the EU’s 7th Framework (http://www.digital-ecosystems.org/events/2005.05/de_position_paper_vf.pdf)
13. Where do I go for more information?
You can visit the DBE website at: www.digital-ecosystem.org
Peer-to-peer refers to a network that is made by each computer connecting to a number of other computers, and those to a number of other computers, and so. In the DBE, there is no central computer or database that controls the system. The system is shared across all of the SMEs that participate in it.
SOAP is a standard for exchanging XML-based messages over a computer network, normally using HTTP. SOAP forms the foundation layer of the web services stack, providing a basic messaging framework that more abstract layers can build on
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