Volume 33, Number 8, August 1998


Software Solutions...DATA, DATA Everywhere

by Frank J. Romano

The ways we process information continue to change at a rapid pace.

The ways in which we receive and process information continue to change at a rapid rate. Voice mail, faxing and electronic mail (e-mail) are all outgrowths of the computer revolution. I recently received more than 80 e-mails from people responding to an article I wrote. My first reaction was: who would have ever dreamed we would communicate this way even 20 years ago? How our world has changed. Ponder these predictive pieces of information.

  1. Forty percent of U.S. households control 70 percent of the disposable income. These tend to be affluent, educated Americans with access to the latest technology and the latest information. They are the techno elite.
  2. Of total personal consumption, about seven percent goes for movies, theater and sports; two percent goes for magazines; two percent for books; and 0.8 percent for newspapers. Sixty percent of all adults read a newspaper daily and 75 percent read a newspaper at least once a week. U.S. adults read or scan an average of ten magazines a month. We watch more than we read.
  3. Most of us have only about 3,500 hours per year of personal time that can be devoted to reading, TV, listening to music, etc. That includes weekends, holidays and vacation, plus whatever you can grab during the work week. Thus new media compete with old media for our attention.
  4. Cost per thousand-baud telecommunications was $500 in 1980 and was about $20 in 1997. Eventually it may be cheaper to transmit information than to record or print and deliver it to you. CD- and DVD-ROM could yield to online delivery over time.
  5. In 1986 every encyclopedia published was only in print. Today, only five percent are in print, 45 percent on CD-ROM, 40 percent on a CD-ROM bundled with your new personal computer and ten percent accessed over the WWW. The encyclopedia is essentially free for some people. Eventually 100 percent of all encyclopedias could be digital.
  6. People who work at or from home for any amount of time represented 28 percent of the workforce in 1988; in 1997 it was 41 percent. It could hit 50 percent by 2000. Not all work in home offices as such; some are telecommuters.
  7. Students per computer in 1984 averaged 125; today it is less than nine. More people are entering the workforce with computer skills. Eventually, they will not be able to enter the workforce without computer skills.
  8. The average number of working hours per week in 1964 was 38; today it is 52. There are more two-person wage earners in a family and the home office is an extension of the real office. We work harder. We need to work smarter.
  9. U.S. movie ticket revenues were $7 billion in 1997. One out of four U.S. adults goes to the movies once a month. But they rent one video cassette a week as well. U.S. bookstore sales: $12 billion, 24 percent of which is sold in two summer months. The electronic book will be based on the three Bs: bedroom, beach and bathroom.
  10. Average daily household television ON-time is six hours and 39 minutes. This number is actually rising and represents 2,427 hours out of the 3,500 hours of personal time available. We actually watch the TV an average of four hours a day. One weekdays, adults listen to the radio for an average of three hours and 20 minutes—in many cases, in their automobiles. Listening to Howard Stern while driving may be a moving violation.
  11. One in ten households has a desktop computer with a modem. Just because it is in the home does not mean it is available for business use. Since 1995 the number of email messages has exceeded the number of print e-mail messages transmitted in the United States.
  12. In only seven percent of U.S. households is the TV only for broadcast reception. In most, the TV is connected to cable, videocassette recorder/player and/or a videogame system. It is not too difficult to predict that the TV will become a window to the internet. Then we will really see family fights for the TV.
  13. Seventy-three percent of U.S. teens have a CD player. Each of us spends $55 a year on recorded music. Actually, my kids more than cover their share. How about a CD of just silence?
  14. Thirty-three percent of U.S. teens have a home computer and a short attention span, and spend their time looking for dirty pictures. Kids and parents will compete for the computer.\
  15. Average life expectancy for men today is 63; in 2010 it will be 67. For women, 67 and 71. If we develop a customer, they may be around for a long time.
  16. Worldwide population of personal computers is now 250 million; by 2010 it will be more than 400 million. That counts old machines as well. Most are too old to do what we want to do today.
  17. Number of McDonald’s fast-food restaurants: 14,000; by 2010: 30,000. We want what we want when we want it. The same will be true of information.
  18. Gambling revenues in 1994 were $39 billion. By 2010 it is expected to be $127 billion. Wanna bet?
  19. There are 1,200 communications satellites. In 2000 there will be more than 2000. Everyone will be able to connect.
  20. Of all the people ever born on the planet Earth, 51 percent are now alive. That’s why you can’t find a parking space when you really need it.


Frank J. Romano is a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and founder of Electronic Publishing magazine. Reprinted with permission of Electronic Publishing magazine, March 1998.



SOFTWARE Buyers’ Guide

Software for the industry is increasingly more comprehensive and specific to user needs. A sampling of some of the latest products follows.


New System From GDS

GDS Storefront Estimating of Oceanside, CA, has introduced version 12.1 of the GDS Storefront Estimating System for Windows® 95, 98 and Windows® NT. According to the company, the software allows users to switch vendors at the click of a mouse, transfer jobs from one vendor to another and have up to nine vendors at any given time. The company says the system also permits operators to build elevations sequentially, choose up to 54 kinds of glass, calculate labor based on default values set by the user and set global preferences for automatic creation of DXF (CAD) files.


Vista*Vision™ From Vistawall

Vistawall Architectural Products of Terrell, TX, offers the Vista*Vision 4.0 estimating/price catalog software for glazing companies. According to the company, the software offers standard paint pricing, the ability to change the finish on a single line item and the ability to change the finish or system for any elevation. The company says the Vista*Vision also can cut quoting time in half and it allows the user to make additions to the database easily.


Software From First Systech

Phoenix, AZ-based First Systech Internation-al, Inc. says it is a leading provider of industry-specific software and services for companies that manufacture and distribute windows, doors, millwork, building materials and extrusion. The software controls information from the shop floor to the back office. It is graphically based and can run Windows® NT, Unix, Win 95 or Win 98 in a client-server environment.

It includes order entry, production scheduling and manufacturing, purchase ordering and inventory control, accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger and payroll. Other modules include electronic catalog for remote order entry, bar coding for inventory and shop floor control.



© Copyright 1998 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.