Teleworking appeared in the s as an option for certain types of work and has picked up supporters over the years. Today it is considered as an important option for reducing unemployment both at the European Union level, as well as on a national level. Although at a slower rate, it has also claimed followers from within the Spanish business sector. Information professionals cannot impede this social phenomenon that draws on professions which, like our own, rely heavily on information technologies.

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The information society and the creation of a new virtual space. The scientific ring of Catalonia Spain. Today, the communication and easy exchange of data is one of the key conditions that guarantee the smooth running of research projects done in the different scientific institutions of a given country. The creation of telematic infrastructures that make the quick transmission of information possible among institutions, businesses and others involved in research-related activities though perhaps geographically separated, is the only alternative in which all its members may receive, send and exchange basic information indispensable for the rapid development of their activity.

It is the first high-speed network for scientific use installed by Telefonica the Spanish public telecomm operator and one of the first in Europe. The Ring provides a platform for the development of scientific projects, applications and services.

Its main goal is to guarantee the possible development of research in Catalonia under conditions similar to those of the most advanced countries in the world. August 5thth, The Haye, Netherlands.

The Scientific Ring of Catalonia Spain. Fax : 71 e-mail :dctjspO ps. Fax : 3 e-mail. Seguf-Pons; J. The scientific ring of Catalonia. A vanguard element in the strategy of european innovation. Computer and communication technologies, which make the growth of this society possible in terms of productivity and services, have the leading roles in the transformation of many aspects of our economic and social life in contemporary societies.

Among them, several are noteworthy such as work relationships and methods, business organization, educational goals, inter-personal communication as well as free and leisure time Crecimiento , Competitividad, Empleo, Herein, we shall elaborate upon the creation of the Scientific Ring of Catalonia, a cutting-edge example in the application of new computer-based telecommunications technologies in both Spain and Europe. The Fundacio Catalana per a la Recerca FCR the Catalan Research Foundation is an institution non profit dedicated to promoting scientific research with a broad view of how science may be of service to society and, especially, collaborating in the carrying-out of the directives issued by the Generalitat of Catalonia Autonomous Government of Catalonia in this field.

Since , and in collaboration with Telefonica, the FCR has been fully immersed in the strategy of European innovation and has placed the Scientific Ring at the service of the scientific community and network of educational centers under the Generalitat , as well as at the service of the Catalan public. This means a high-speed network, the first of its kind installed in Spain and one of the first in Europe. There only exist similar networks in Germany and Italy, though most of them being of experimental nature.

Initially, the bulk of the main applications of the Ring are related to the transmission of both static and moving digital images, such as video-conference; computer-generated images or the viewing of the results of experiments. The Ring provides an ideal platform for the development of new projects and services related to computer technologies that allow Catalonia to develop under conditions similar to those of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.

Segiri-Pons; J. Europe and the new information society. Within the framework of developed countries -since the information society in developing countries widely varies Soupizet, -the information society has come out of the existing interaction of three important historical processes, namely the technological revolution, the formation of a global economy and the advent of a computer-based means of production and management Castells, Hall, in which productivity as well as competitiveness are based, in a growing manner, on the generation of new knowledge and the access to the processing of adequate information Castells, Information Technologies IT constitute the material base for the integration of new processes and provide the necessary organizing flexibility.

The teleinformation networks are the physical links through which information circulates and are what makes this integration and flexibility possible Abadal, Recoder, This new society has two relevant characteristics: dematerialization and the elimination of distance-based resistance. The IT make all new processes or products become integrated in an exchange of horizontal immaterial relations and they transform social activities and values, be them individual or collective Roque, The strict equation in which space is crossed in a determined unit of time -relative distance-has been eliminated and a virtual distance measured in units of communication cost has taken its place.

This cost depends neither on the volume of transmitted data nor on the transmitting distance, but rather it is simply assimilated into the connection time and line capacity Escutia, The activities supported by the use of the IT eliminate, therefore, space and distance resistance as these aspects virtually disappear and time, as the measurement of this space, becomes instantaneous on the planetary scale Bakis, Now we are going to look at the different steps taken in Europe regarding the realization of the information society.

The European Commission showed the technological tendencies, in terms of telecommunications and the progressive implementation of advanced telecommunication services, in the Green Paper on the Development of a Common Market of Services and Telecommunication Equipment in Ministerio de Transportes, Turismo y Comunicaciones, This document prompted the modification of the service and equipment regulation of the Community's telecommunication.

The first stage concluded in The directives for the liberalization of telecommunication services were adopted except for telephon services. The second stage began in The liberalization of telephon services has been projected in most countries for the year ,.

Segui-Pons; J. Plana-Castellvf This second stage is characterized by the notion of universal service, data security, citizen protection, industrial property rights, etc. Garric, In , the European Union EU Ministries of Telecommunication came to the agreement that the liberalization of the networks should coincide with that of telephoning, projected for early Cednin, a; Martinez, As far as Spain is concerned, the first of January has already been established, and by means of the Agreement of the Ministry Council, for the liberalization of telephoning, thereby foregoing its allotted transitionary time.

It is obvious that Spain is interested in participating subject to the same obligations as the rest of the EU, as well as introducing competition among operators. Telephone activities in Spain have already been demonopolized partly due to the concession in of the second mobile phone license Cedrun, a. The requisites established in Spain, prior to the opening of the basic telephone market, were based on obtaining three fundamental goals: guaranteeing universal coverage for service, emphasizing peripheral regions; guaranteeing public service conditions; and finally, carrying out a tariff adjustment so there may be an equal balance between every tariff and their cost Cedrun, b.

During and stemming from the corresponding Green Papers, the elaboration of the directives concerning the liberalization of certain services was carried out: via-satellite communications, already approved; mobile and personal communications and the infrastructures and cable television services Martinez, During and prompted by the initiation of the Maastricht Treaty Segul, , changes within trans-European telematic networks were proposed teleadministration ; concerning the development of the Integrated Services Digital Network ISDN and broadband trans-European networks.

These are the three areas of priority action within the management of the interior market begun in and are thereby reflected, along with six others, in the proposals for Trans -European telecommunication networks Crecimiento , Competitividad, Empleo, Therein, the concept of shared computer space was developed as. It points out the need for constructing trans -European electronic highways which provide access to all the necessary information effecting economic and social life, as this new society will obtain more resources out of immaterial goods than out of traditional ones.

The Delors White Book came out shortly following the announcement by the Administration of the United States of its program for promoting the development of its own National Information Infrastructure destined to construct a vital network of information distribution in every possible form. Both programs intend on taking full advantage of IT advances. Europe must deal with certain disadvantages since there exist too many monopolies, an excess of regulation and an excessive fragmentation of the different markets.

The plan of action proposed in the White Book clearly states five priorities: spreading the exploitation of information technologies; endowing Europe with basic trans-European services; continuing the establishment of an adequate regulation framework; developing the formation of new technologies; and finally, increasing industrial and technological production Crecimiento , Competitividad, Empleo , , pg.

The document known as the Bangemann Report Europa y la Sociedad global de la informacion , , edited by the high-standing Group Members concerning the Information Society, headed by M. Bangemann, encourages the EU to confide in the market mechanisms as a developmental force of the Information Era. Therein, it explains the measures to be taken for ending different isolationist stands in both the general European scope and that of its member countries. It intends on encouraging a constructive attitude towards the advent of new endeavors within the economy and establishing a regulation platform for the advent of a competitive information services market in Europe.

The report goes on to point out that the information society must not come about by means of an increase in public funds or in authoritarianism. The Group proposed a Plan of Action centered on concrete initiatives based on the cooperation of public and private sectors Europa y la Sociedad global de la informacion , , pg. The proposed measures, networks, services and applications expect to reach the following goals:.

Mass consumer markets may become one of the main driving forces of the information society, however in Europe, and according to numbers taken at the end of , the market is still considered in an embryonic state suffering from great internal disparities. The distribution of this in the Old World is hardly even.

In Spain, the lack of a regulatory framework in the cable telecommunications sector has impeded the legal establishment of cable television service, as well as any other type of service of the same medium. It also recommends paying special attention to the small and medium-sized business sector, to public management and to young people; and that the opening of the European market finds its counterpart in the markets and networks of other areas around the world.

Since the information society is global, the Group recommends that the EU activities aim towards establishing an internationally agreed upon common structured framework, for the protection of intellectual property rights, the privacy and security of information in Europe and, if need be, on the international level; the question ought to be addressed of how to avoid that national divergent legislation concerning media property does not undermine the internal market so therefore, efficient norms protecting plurality and competition have to be established; and finally, the application of norms concerning competition must reflect the reality of the new world markets that are emerging as well as the speed at which the environment is evolving.

Europa y la Sociedad global de la information, , pp. All these recommendations are reflected in the constitutive elements of the information society integrated by the networks, services and applications.

Nevertheless, the basic driving elements must be the private sector and market forces. The Forum was dedicated to trying to avoid the division of society into two classes with different possibilities of accessing information. Another line of work stemming from the elaboration of the Report is of international collaboration. There exists a work program in collaboration with Eastern and Central-European countries; another is comprised of Mediterranean countries; meanwhile, there exist contacts with Latin American countries, South Africa and other developing countries Iturbe, Rodriguez, In the near future, the impact of the information society will be widely extended.

Among them, it ought to be pointed out that the social fracture between the rich and the poor in a given country will worsen, just as the increasing distance that today separates industrialized countries from developing ones.

Implementation and development of the scientific ring. Once we take a look at the policies of the strategy of European innovation, we are going to analyze in this part of the presentation, the initial steps of the new network, its characteristics and supported traffic; the potential organisms and users it serves, its services and applications and its connection to other networks, as well as the Ring's participation in projects of either European or national scope.

The initial steps. The creation of the Centre de Supercomputacio de Catalunya CESCA the Super-Computation Center of Catalonia in , with its associates, the FCR, the Generalitat and Catalan public universities, largely increased the need of having a high-yielding telematic network that allowed its users easy access to new resources.

With this goal, the FCR initiated the corresponding technical and economic studies that culminated in April with the agreement between this institution and Telefonica on the installation of a metropolitan network called MAN Metropolitan Areas network of private virtual nature and of the DQDB Distributed Queued Dual Bus type of high-speed data transmission. At the end of , with a prior installation of links and equipment, the network was completely functional and the transmission of information began.

This means a telematic network that improves urban and metropolitan functionings Bakis, At the different user access points, data transmission equipment is located allowing for connection to the Ring from respective local computer networks.

This advanced digital communication network circulates at a transmission capacity of 34 Mbits, which means that 34 million binary units of information may be transmitted each second. Network and traffic characteristics.

The Scientific Ring is a MAN network which may be genetically defined as a high-speed communication digital network, capable of integrating diverse types of traffic, including services in real time, such as voice and video, and capable of offering conmutation distributed among different points located in geographical areas of metropolitan coverage kms.

Other types of networks are the so-called corporate networks, of which the USA has fifty times more than Europe. By means of an urban transportation ring, located in Zaragoza, three functional sub-rings are available: those of healthcare, university and administration use. This ring is connected to the inter-urban transportation network which in turn is incorporated with the multiple functioning sub-ring in Teruel, and another in Huesca Tricas Lamana, The Scientific Ring is located implemented on top of the DQDB architecture which allows for long-distance communication and is better adapted to the public telephone technological structure.

Faced with a cable breakdown or any problem at one of the nodes, the traffic distribution is automatically rearranged. The new network fulfills the following requisites:.

Furthermore, it has great. Plana-Castellvi The TCP takes care of dividing the information into diverse parts, numbering and encapsulating them within the IP protocol.

Everything is transmitted through the network.


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