• IX. ANSWERS TO REAL WORLD CASES Real World Case 1: Sierra Wireless: AirCard Flies on 1X
  • Real World Case 3: FedEx versus UPS: Playing Catch-Up in Telecommunications Innovation
  • Real World Case 2: Axia SuperNet Ltd.: SuperNet Will Equalize Rural Alberta
  • Telecommunications and Networks I. Chapter overview foundation Concepts: Foundations of Information in Business




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    1. Evaluating Capital One Financial
    a) Visit the Capital One website (www.capitalone.com) and evaluate the business and customer value of its content. How do you rate its effectiveness as an e-commerce website? Explain your rating.

    b) Visit the website for MBNA Canada at www.mbna.com/canada, a leading competitor to Capital One. Which is the better website for e-commerce support of their credit card business? Why?


    Students’ responses will vary as to how they rated these two websites. Both Capital One and the MBNA Canada websites are intuitive, relatively easy to use, and both are nicely laid out in an attractive and informative manner. It is clear that both companies are using their websites as part of their overall business strategy for furthering the use of technology.
    2. Evaluating Online Banking Websites
    a) Check out several of these online banking sites. Evaluate and rank them based on ease of use, speed, cost, banking fees and other costs, and the amount and quality of their online banking services.

    b) Write up the results of your evaluation in a one-or two-page report. Which is your favourite online banking site? Why? Your least favourite? Explain.

    c) How would you improve the sites you visited? Include your recommendations in your report.
    Students are required to write a one-or two-page report on their findings from three online trading websites (Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, and TD Bank). All of these online banking sites would very easily be rated as extremely well done. They are easy to use, well laid out, and allows the user to locate and isolate information that they would be interested in this field. Customers could easily use these sites to do cost comparisons and product offerings which would be best suited to their needs and financial situation. All of these sites have down menus and a large variety of hypertext links to additional information.
    3. MNO Incorporated Communications Network
    a) Create a database table with an appropriate structure to store the data above. Site Location can serve as the primary key for this table. Enter the records shown above and get a printed listing of your table.

    b) Survey results suggest that the peak traffic to and from a site will be approximately 2 kilobits per second for each phone line plus 10 kilobits per second for each computer. Create a report showing the estimated peak demand for the telecommunications system at each site in kilobits. Create a second report grouped by region and showing regional subtotals and a total for the system as a whole.


    [See data/solutions files]
    4. Prioritizing Calls to Service Centres
    a) Create a database table structure to store the data shown above, and enter the set of records above. (Use the short time format and a 24-hour clock for the Opening Hour and Closing Hour figures.) Print out a listing of this table.

    b) Create a query that will allow the user to enter the current time and will Display a list of the locations and phone numbers of service centres that are open, sorted so that the location with the lowest communication cost per minute is listed first. Test your query to be sure that it works across all hours of the day. Print out results for 3:00, 10:00, 18:00, NS 23:00. (Note that centres open through Midnight have a closing hour that is earlier than their opening hour and require different treatment. Hint: Centres that open after 14:00 close at times earlier than their opening time. Literal time values can be entered in Access by placing # around the values, e.g., #14:00#.)


    [See data/solutions files]

    IX. ANSWERS TO REAL WORLD CASES
    Real World Case 1: Sierra Wireless:

    AirCard Flies on 1X
    1. What is the value of a wireless communications system?
    The main advantage associated with wireless networks is Mobility. With new technologies in wireless local area networks and wide area networks, and emerging standards in protocols and coverage, people can work together collaboratively and coordinate their work irrespective of their physical locations. Specifically, mobility allows broader availability of connectivity (and faster access to information on demand), it avoids physical constraints of cables and other hardware issues, and it also provides future scalability (ease to deploy additional units).
    2. What are some disadvantages and limitations of wireless networks?
    The disadvantages of WWANs and WLANs can be summarized as follows:

    WWANs are more susceptible to environmental factors (weather and terrain);

    Packet loss and other latency issues (slower than 28.8 modem) are very common — quality is usually too poor to support most client-server applications (until 3G networks are adopted fully);

    Many competing, incompatible technologies are currently available, with even more technologies in development;



    Technology is relatively more expensive
    3. Would you prefer a wireless laptop to a networked PC in your business workplace? Why or why not?
    I would prefer a wireless laptop with multiple points of access available throughout the workplace. This would allow seamless connection to the workplace intranet and possibly the internet without the need to physically hook up the system to a network outlet. This is especially useful for the mobile worker who has to frequently attend business meetings and/or share office space with co-workers.

    Real World Case 3: FedEx versus UPS:

    Playing Catch-Up in Telecommunications Innovation
    1. Why does telecommunications play such a key role in the competition between FedEx and UPS?
    The competition between FedEx and UPS is fierce. Both of these companies are giants in their field, and both are basically competing for the same market share. Telecommunications in all forms is playing a key role in enabling these companies to realize operational efficiencies and allowing them to conduct business in real-time (or very near it). Telecommunications is the tool for e-business, e-commerce, and m-commerce.
    2. Why does “information about the package” have such a strategic business value in the express delivery business?
    Information about the package serves a very important function in the business operations of these two giants. The information is what is used to coordinate the pickup and delivery of packages and track their progress from the origin to their final destination. Information about the package is not only important to FedEx and UPS, but it is also extremely important to their customers.
    3. What telecommunications products or services would you recommend that FedEx or UPS use to improve their competitive position in the overnight delivery and shipping business? Defend your recommendation.
    Students’ answers will vary as this is a subjective type of question. However it is evident information is a much sought after commodity in today’s competitive environment. Certainly as stated in the case, FedEx and UPS are both leveraging their IT expertise to become logistics outsourcers. As these two companies are the best in the world in the logistics field, they will undoubtedly make major changes in the way that other business will improve on the delivery of their products and services. Students may also make other creative suggestions as to how FedEx and UPS can make improvements, but the central point is the capturing and processing of data in real-time. Also, they must ensure that the companies do not lose sight of their core business – the delivery of packages.
    Real World Case 2: Axia SuperNet Ltd.:

    SuperNet Will Equalize Rural Alberta
    1. What are the benefits and limitations of broadband communications lines?
    The benefits of a broadband communication lines include the following:

    Improved Business Productivity: through efficiencies in customer relationship management, products and services marketing online and logistics management through the internet. Teleworking and Mobile Access: According to IDC research, the number of telecommuters in western Europe will double from 4.3 million in 2001 to 8.7 million by 2005. Improved Partner Networks: by creating an integrated business ecology that comprises customers, suppliers, partners, and branches, organizations can reduce wasted effort and do things faster and more effectively.


    The types of technologies that can supply last mile broadband communications capacity are varied, and each type has its own benefits and limitations. ADSL (and other forms of Digital Subscriber Line technology) and cable are the most common technologies in metropolitan areas. Leased lines (ISDN) provide narrowband connections in many places but this has limitations. Satellite is, technically, available everywhere. Wireless is a possibility in the future but is not currently widely available

    as a commercial offering.


    The major limitations of Broadband include:

    a) Affordability and Availability:

    Broadband communications are available using a range of technologies. While there have been advances in the roll out of networks for the delivery of broadband, access to appropriate broadband networks continues to be an issue. ‘Last Mile’, the connection from the backbone (usually at a local exchange) to the premises, is expensive in both metropolitan and regional areas.
    b) Standardization and Interoperability:

    Inadequate setting of ICT standards can result in a diverse range of incompatible systems across the service sectors and resources being wasted on ‘reinventing the wheel’ at a local level.


    c) Reliability:

    There have been quite widely reported reliability issues with ADSL leading to a public perception that the technology is not fully mature and is unreliable .


    2. What are the possible benefits of Alberta’s SuperNet infrastructure?
    Alberta SuperNet is a high-speed, high-capacity broadband network linking government offices, schools, hospitals and libraries. To be completed in 2004, SuperNet is a pathway that lets government, educators and health care workers share and deliver information and services province-wide, and faster than ever before.

    Alberta SuperNet will provide Albertans – in their schools, hospitals, libraries, provincial and municipal government offices – with access to the service, economic and personal benefits of e-government, e-learning and e-health.


    3. What are the managerial issues in need of attention for implementation of Albert’s SuperNet?
    The main project management issues relate to:

    Public Sector Coordination of Efforts

    Public and Private Sector Collaboration

    Cost Containment



    Delivery on-time
    Real World Case 3: FedEx versus UPS:

    Playing Catch-Up in Telecommunications Innovation
    1. Why does telecommunications play such a key role in the competition between FedEx and UPS?
    The competition between FedEx and UPS is fierce. Both of these companies are giants in their field, and both are basically competing for the same market share. Telecommunications in all forms is playing a key role in enabling these companies to realize operational efficiencies and allowing them to conduct business in real-time (or very near it). Telecommunications is the tool for e-business, e-commerce, and m-commerce.
    2. Why does “information about the package” have such a strategic business value in the express delivery business?
    Information about the package serves a very important function in the business operations of these two giants. The information is what is used to coordinate the pickup and delivery of packages and track their progress from the origin to their final destination. Information about the package is not only important to FedEx and UPS, but it is also extremely important to their customers.
    What telecommunications products or services would you recommend that FedEx or UPS use to improve their competitive position in the overnight delivery and shipping business? Defend your recommendation.
    Students’ answers will vary as this is a subjective type of question. However it is evident information is a much sought after commodity in today’s competitive environment. Certainly as stated in the case, FedEx and UPS are both leveraging their IT expertise to become logistics outsourcers. As these two companies are the best in the world in the logistics field, they will undoubtedly make major changes in the way that other business will improve on the delivery of their products and services. Students may also make other creative suggestions as to how FedEx and UPS can make improvements, but the central point is the capturing and processing of data in real-time. Also, they must ensure that the companies do not lose sight of their core business – the delivery of packages.






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    Telecommunications and Networks I. Chapter overview foundation Concepts: Foundations of Information in Business

    Download 260.88 Kb.