Academic journal article Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis

Consumption of Advanced Internet Services in the Enterprises Sector: The Spread of Telework in the Metropolitan Area of Madrid

Academic journal article Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis

Consumption of Advanced Internet Services in the Enterprises Sector: The Spread of Telework in the Metropolitan Area of Madrid

Article excerpt

Introduction

The second half of the twentieth century, as a result of the rise of information and communication technology, gave way to the Third Technological Revolution. This brought about a new model of society known as the Information Society or the Network Society (Castells 2000), and superseded the previous industrial stage, hence, some scientists such as Bell (1974), point out to this historical period as the Postindustrial Society. Among the new technologies that emerge in the Third Technological Revolution include computing, telecommunications, microelectronics, optoelectronics and genetic engineering among others. But there the advancements made in computing and telecommunications which were the reason for the Network of networks, the current and popular Internet. This network enabled space-time to be more and more narrow. The territory became speed and the classic concept of physical territory, movements and distance, were replaced by transmission and interaction (Ges 1997). These recent technological advancements in communication modes are associated with contemporary globalization (Davies 2004), and cause the formation of a large global network influenced by the flow of communication and economic, political, social and cultural interaction (Short and Kim 1999).

In spite of the great made in the Network of networks in the eighties of the last century, which brought its expansion throughout the world, it was not until the mid-nineties, when the World Wide Web was created, that a great leap in the Internet diffusion process and consequently the Information Society occured. Before this application, the use of Internet was extremely complicated, as it was very difficult to locate and retrieve information. The first browsers and search engines facilitated this process, which led to the creation of a network of global communications with a large amount of information and services that grew every day. At first most Internet users accessed the Net primarily to carry out very simple tasks such as finding information or to communicate with other users. Although the network is becoming more and more popular, currently standing at around two billion users, there are still territories and sectors of the population who live outside of this technological revolution. Today there are many services offered through the Net, by the public or the private sector, ranging from simple hotel bookings or the weekly shopping in a supermarket, to multiple and varied administrative and financial procedures.

Undoubtedly we are witnessing a global opening dominated by communication, as part of a worldwide network that reaches its highest incidence in urban areas. In this global context, the employment situation is closely related to new technologies and the Internet. In economic terms, the information and communications technology eliminate trade barriers and promote the development of international business, leading to the reformulation of corporate strategies (Méndez, 1997). In spatial terms, new technologies cause global cities to concentrate a high percentage of wealth and power, becoming the real economic and political references of modern states (Sassen 2003, Veltz 1999).

With regard to the business world, computer advances change the modus operandi of the companies, information is managed in a more intelligent and more dynamic way and communication is instantaneous and can be done from afar. On the other hand, the net offers companies a new way to promote and sell their products on the market and start buying and selling processes with suppliers and customers. They are certainly very favorable circumstances that significantly change the way to understand business reality (Méndez 1997). However, citizen and company use of the services offered by the Net, especially the most advanced, is not equally distributed in urban areas or rural areas. In the case of urban areas, the presence, use and dissemination of new technologies present contrasts between central cores and their immediate periphery, affecting the citizen's standard of living (Lois et al. …

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