New technologies and ways of doing business are coming at us fast enough to make the head spin.

What follows are excerpts from actual news releases that crossed my desk or, more often, were captured from the Internet. Read them carefully and ask yourself how this is likely to impact your business.

SAN RAMON, Calif., Oct. 7, 1999 - More than 30 leading technology companies from across the world are gathered in Chicago this week at the first official meeting of the Open Services Gateway Initiative OSGI is an industry group working to define and promote an open standard for connecting the next generation of smart consumer and small business appliances with commercial Internet services.

The Open Services Gateway specification, scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2000, will provide a common foundation for Internet Service Providers, network operators and equipment manufacturers to deliver a wide range of e-services to gateway servers running in the home, small business or remote/branch office É

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 25, 1999 - A recent study of 100 leading phone, cable and electric utilities shows that 2 percent of these utilities are prepared to implement "Neighborhood Automation," a new concept that digitally links homes and businesses within a physical neighborhood É

Neighborhood Automation establishes an advanced, secure network that allows neighbors to help each other monitor their homes online. By monitoring homes, the private network alerts owners to problems with heating and cooling, security and other home systems, and immediately communicates to the occupant who can then remedy the situation.

If there is a problem with a door ajar, heating, air conditioning or any other function of the home, the occupant can be alerted by voice or e-mail. The person can then get a neighbor or relative to handle the situation or take care of it him or herself É

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 26, 1999 - "Fashionably late" was once a hip concept, but no longer with today's launch of, the intelligent on-line scheduling solution that allows service companies to harness the power of the Internet É

PointServe allows consumers to wait less and do more by making it easier to find, evaluate and select a service provider and schedule an appointment É to search among multiple service providers to find the ones who are best qualified to fulfill their service requests, and can do so at a time that both the consumers and service providers find convenient É

PointServe is funded by an investment group that includes ServiceMaster, Southern Union Co., Murphree Venture Partners and Tom Meredith (CFO, Dell Computer).

CINCINNATI, Aug. 26, 1999 - Convergys Corp. has signed a contract with BGE Home Products & Services, an affiliate of historic utility company, Baltimore Gas & Electric É Under the terms of the outsourcing agreement, Convergys will use its network of state-of-the-art call centers to provide integrated inbound and outbound teleservices support to potential gas customers who select

BGE Home as their gas service provider É

Convergys software provides more than 1 million bills each day, and Convergys call centers handle more than 1 million customer contacts each day ...

LATHAM, N.Y., June 8, 1999 - Governor George E. Pataki today joined Plug Power President and CEO Gary Mittleman at a groundbreaking ceremony for the fuel cell developer's new manufacturing facility on Albany-Shaker Road.

The new manufacturing facility, which is scheduled for completion in November, will enable Plug Power to begin beta-unit production of

Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell systems for field testing starting next year, and commercial sale beginning in 2001. At 50,000 square feet, the new space will nearly double the size of Plug Power's current facilities.

OYSTER BAY, N.Y., June 9, 1999 - Worldwide emphasis on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels has moved cogeneration to center stage for bulk power generation, according to a new study from Allied Business Intelligence Inc. The U.S. and the European Union intend to at least double their installed cogeneration capacity by 2010, the study finds.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., July 19, 1999 - Today, nearly 600 Farmers Insurance Group agents in Colorado begin selling a policy that will help Colorado residents cut (home repair) costs dramatically. The policy protects homeowners against unexpected financial loss due to failure of their home's major appliances, central heating, central air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems É

Sears Home Administrative Services Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck and Co., has entered into an agreement with Farmers Insurance Group and Zurich U.S., to provide administrative services in support of Farmers' home protection insurance product É

NEW YORK, May 10, 1999 - DualStar Technologies Corp. (Nasdaq: DSTR) announced today that The Trump Organization has awarded four DualStar subsidiaries an unprecedented ($33 million) "bundled" contract to install the mechanical, high and low voltage electrical, computerized building automation and information technology/telecommunications systems at the planned Trump World Tower É

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 21, 1999 - Inc. (Nasdaq: PPRO), a leading provider of business-to-business electronic commerce services, today announced that it has formed a strategic relationship with Primavera Systems Inc., a leading developer of project management software solutions, to develop, an e-commerce marketplace for construction companies, subcontractors, project owners and suppliers É

This new e-marketplace will be designed to enable subscribers to take advantage of the Internet for the purchase of construction materials, business supplies and services É

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 1, 1999 - BuildPoint.comT, a Silicon Valley-based startup, today publicly launched nationwide the first interactive business-to-business Web commerce solution for the $415 billion construction materials industry. The Web site, located at, provides general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers with a secure commerce hub to manage material bidding and procurement activities É

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1, 1999 - Inc., a new enterprise backed by Autodesk Inc., today introduced the most comprehensive business-to-business e-commerce hub for the building design and construction industry at É's total service offering is the only one to address all core functions of the fragmented building design and construction industry - design collaboration, construction administration, bid management and buying É

New players, new technologies, new marketing, new partnerships, new ways of doing business. Welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to the future.