World Tradewinds


December 2001 - January 2002 - Issue N. 111
A Publication of the Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA),
a BAYTRADE partner


MBITA CORPORATE SPONSORS:

A Way With Words

Toma International

Equity Now

Grunsky

Victory

Lexus

Language Line

Greyzone


MBITA PARTNERS & AFFILIATES:

CCITA


Global Trade After '911' Panel/Seminar Series

*SBA Cisco Systems Entrepreneur Center*
84 W. Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

8:30am to 9:00am: registration
9:00am to 11:30am: panel and conference

Cost: $45 per panel session
$175 for all five panel sessions

CLICK HERE FOR ONLINE REGISTRATION

Global Trade After '911' Series Schedule:

December 6th, 2001:

Regional Trade Opportunities and Global Web Marketing

January 30th, 2002:

Security

  • Biometrics
  • Surveillance
  • Security
  • Data Recovery

February 22nd, 2002:

Global B-2-B

  • Video conferencing
  • Web-streaming
  • Broadband applications
  • Global eCommerce

March 22nd, 2002:

Bio-technology

  • Bio-Technology

April 2002 (TBA)

Secure Communications

  • Telematics
  • Communications--mail(hybrid email, secure mail)
  • Wireless

Other Events:

Fri, February 1st
Think Global And Act Local With Possibilities of Global Trade
Luncheon

Santa Maria, CA
Time: 11:30am registration
noon lunch to 2:00pm
Admission fee: $25.00
For more info go to http://www.ccita.org


MBITA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

President
John Griffin
Smith Barney

Vice President
Shay Adams
Slautterback, Inc.

Members:
Dr. Edward Valeau
Hartnell College
Salinas

Jeffrey J. Munks
San Francisco State University (SFSU)

Victor Cordell
Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS)
Marcelo Siero
Houses.com

Executive Director/Trade Manager
Tony Livoti
tlivoti@mbita.org

Membership/Event Manager
Cristina Polesel
cristina@mbita.org


MBITA Contact Info

725 Front St. Ste 104
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 U.S.A.
Phone: 1-831-469-0148
Fax: 1-831-469-0917
Email:info@mbita.org
Web:http://www.mbita.org

If you would like to have an article published on this newsletter please contact the editor by email.

This newsletter has been created by MBITA's editor
Cristina Polesel
cristina@mbita.org



MBITA's UPDATE

The new year is upon us with new challenges. A rebounding global economy, new global security issues and shipping impediments, and the emergence of Global eCommerce as a practical alternative for small to mid-sized enterprises. MBITA will be providing information and services on all of these issues starting with its 'Global Trade after 911' panel/seminar series.

MBITA is also expanding its operations to provide virtual Export Management Company (EMC) services to clients and members utilizing its domestic and international public/private trade promotion and marketing infrastructure.

Robert "Tony" Livoti
Executive Director
tlivoti@mbita.org

MBITA New Corporate Sponsor: A Way With Words (AWWW)/Tacitus Group


MBITA's new corporate sponsor A Way With Words (AWWW)/Tacitus Group offers a range of outsourced marketing services that help build value for your enterprise. From global strategy definition to corporate brand development to integrated public relations and advertising, AWWW can give your business the marketing expertise to thrive and succeed in the international marketplace. Founded in 1994, AWWW has grown rapidly to offer clients a full range of marketing services. They are experienced in a variety of industries, from Hospitality to Information Technology.

Even in a booming economy it doesn't always make sense to spend the time and money needed to hire, train and manage a marketing department. A Way With Words can provide any of your marketing and public relations needs at 50-to-75% less than the cost of a full-time marketing department without adding headcount and with staff working at 100% productivity (compared to an industry average of about 40%). You get a team of seasoned marketing professionals - MBAs from top business schools, PR and Advertising executives from major agencies, and award-winning graphic designers. They take a "back-to-basics" approach - no extravagant marketing campaigns, just focused projects to build awareness, position your products and increase sales.

How do they provide a full range of marketing services at such a dramatic cost saving? AWWW's business model reflects an in-depth understanding of the new global economy. They serve as a virtual agency for an unlimited number of freelance marketing and strategy professionals - gifted people who don't want to work for big agencies. That's why they're called "creative e-lancers". Once clients' needs are identified they quickly build teams to deliver the best solutions at the most competitive price. Guaranteed. And unlike other consulting firms or PR agencies, they have minimal overheads, so you're not paying for extravagant offices or partners' expense account lunches.

AWWW's Tacitus unit provides strategic and tactical marketing, particularly for companies seeking business development in the international marketplace. Led by Dr. Tim Ashby, a former senior US Commerce Department official, the Tacitus core team of professionals average fifteen years of experience, have worked for major strategy firms such as Ernst & Young, Boston Consulting Group and Arthur Andersen, and are MBA graduates of Stanford, Harvard, Wharton and the University of Edinburgh. Each team member has global or industry vertical expertise in a variety of areas including Telecommunications, Travel/Tourism, Financial Services and Internet Commerce.

Tacitus offers the following services:

  • Market sizing
  • Segmentation analysis
  • Positioning
  • Channel Development
  • Key messages and differentiation
  • Brand identity
  • Exporting and importing
  • Financing exports
  • Export transactions
  • International corporate and product launches

AWWW/Tacitus' major clients include: Apple Computer, Adobe Systems, Caldera, Cisco Systems, Lotus, Oracle WebTV Network, NASA, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Seagate, Reebok, Fujitsu and Bucci Sunglasses. AWWW/Tacitus is currently offering MBITA members a 10 percent discount on any marketing and strategy services.

A Way With Words/Tacitus
Elizabeth Bourget, President
5525 Scotts Valley Dr., Suite 18
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
PH 831/430-9719
FAX 831/439-0873
web: www.awaywwords.com
email: info@awaywwords.com

MBITA New Members:
McGibben International and Animated Speech Corporation


McGibben International

MBITA is pleased to announce the addition of its newest member, McGibben International.

McGibben International (MI), an enterprise recently formed by Kevin McGibben of Santa Cruz, has been established as an international market development firm. McGibben has eight years of experience in establishing three U.S.-based businesses in international markets.

In a recent interview with MBITA, McGibben noted, " I am pleased to be joining a locally-based organization with global business reach. I hope that through my own international business focus and experience I can add a unique dimension to the MBITA membership, to help motivate and support businesses in our communities to embrace international development efforts, by assisting local firms to evaluate and implement international businesses."

McGibben explains, "(Through MI) I am carrying the flag for businesses wanting to develop their international presence. Most U.S. executives wave off international business out of hand due to an ingrained thinking that international business is resource intensive and difficult to establish - it is a fear of the unknown. My experience has demonstrated that international not only can be rolled into present operations, but also can provide an important secondary market to offset reliance on domestic revenue and margins. Determining the applicability of your product and service in international markets does not have to be a difficult or mysterious process, and that is why I formed MI."

MI's primary focus is in the Americas and the European Union, where McGibben has extensive experience in the high-technology sector in evaluating market opportunity, establishing distribution strategies, and actually implementing successful business structures for managing business in the region. MI is a vehicle by which companies - regardless of the product or service they offer - can simply gauge their international market opportunity or use MI to launch an international business strategy from soup to nuts.

Some of the services MI offers include market evaluations, strategic planning and business justification analysis, creating channel distribution strategy, developing international marketing plans and acting as a contracted representative for a company's product or service providers in international markets.

McGibben has enjoyed some significant business success in international markets, which he believes are due to three key elements. The first key is the ability to represent the interests of home-based companies in a different business and social culture. McGibben emphasizes, "In international markets you can never underestimate the importance of establishing trust with your customers, or the importance of being able to couch the business opportunity in relative terms to U.S. management teams." The second key he notes is the importance of knowing distribution systems in each market or region, to which you apply a U.S. ideal. According to McGibben, understanding the local methods allows you to adapt and modify your approach in order to be successful in international markets. The third key is my extensive base of high-level contacts throughout the Latin American region. McGibben concludes, "The combination of these three keys present a certain legitimacy to the businesses MI represents, making the path to success a bit more expected than with the usual market development executive."

McGibben received his bachelor's degree in History, and later an MBA in International Marketing from the University of Arizona. His employment has included several international management positions with Fujitsu, Tekelec, CIDCO and CIDCO Communications. A graduate of Soquel High, he makes his home in the Opal Cliffs area of Santa Cruz.

You can contact MI via telephone (831-251-4518), e-mail (kmcgibben@earthlink.net) or regular mail (P.O. Box 468, Santa Cruz, CA 95061).

Animated Speech Corporation

MBITA would like to introduce to you its new member, Animated Speech Corporation co-founded by Dom Massaro, a professor of psychology and computer engineering at University of California, Santa Cruz, and Dan Feshbach, an entrepreneur and father of an autistic child. Baldi is a revolutionary teaching system consisting of an animated tutor whose facial characteristics, including the movement of the lips, tongue and jaw, are a near-perfect replication of actual human movements during speech and the expression of emotion. This system is so accurate that several schools are successfully using Baldi in the classroom to teach speech, reading and other language skills to children with hearing loss, autism, and dyslexia. The potential application of Baldi to other markets such as the educational publishing, foreign language and English as a Second Language ("ESL") markets is endless.

The ABC news show, Primetime Live with Diane Sawyer, featured Baldi on their March 2001 broadcast (see http://mambo.ucsc.edu/psl/primetime.html). The show introduced Baldi and demonstrated how this educational paradigm and revolutionary technology is helping children with hearing loss obtain the gift of speech. The show generated over 400 email inquiries asking how to purchase Baldi and the educational modules based on him. However, Baldi currently resides within a complex research environment that restricts the scope of distribution of the technology and hampers Baldi's ability to help a large number of children. The goal of Animated Speech Corporation (the "Company") is to leverage this pent up demand and commercialize Baldi and its associated technologies. There is a significant need for language learning pedagogy and technology.

Baldi at work in the classroom
The Tucker-Maxon Oral School ("Tucker-Maxon"), has integrated Baldi into their classrooms and curriculum for the past 4 years to teach profoundly deaf children speech and other language skills. One of the most successful applications is a Vocabulary Wizard and Tutor, which the Company will evaluate, enhance and commercialize.

Based on the research and success at Tucker-Maxon, Baldi has also been used as a teaching tool for other groups of people, such as the autistic and dyslexic populations, where visible speech enhances the learning of reading, speech and other language skills. The following are representative examples of Baldi's use with these additional groups:

The technology
Many researchers consider the Company's talking head, dubbed "Baldi" by the kids who first used him, the most accurate talking head in the world. His facial animation simulates real speech and can be precisely controlled in real-time. When he reads or speaks, his facial movements and emotions finely mirror real speech and emotions. As documented in his book, Perceiving Talking Faces (MIT Press, 1998), both novices and expert lip readers have been able to speech read Baldi and his visible speech has been shown to contribute to speech perception and understanding.

Animated tutors can be programmed to be patient with learners and never become angry, tired or bored. Applications with animated tutors perceived as supportive and likeable will engage foreign language and ESL learners, reading impaired, autistic and other children with special needs in face-to-face computerized lessons.

The technology underlying Baldi enables him to:

Read (with text to speech synthesis or prerecorded speech) stories, lessons, Speak, give instructions and provide feedback, Recognize speech, and Engage in conversational dialog.

The company's products will be targeted to the reading, language and speech pathology markets. In partnership with content providers, the Company will build its own comprehensive portfolio of animated tutors, exercises, lessons stories and books. The Company's revolutionary approach will empower teachers, reading tutors, speech therapists and parents to customize any story or lesson to the student's exact requirements. Using the Company's authoring wizards, teachers and therapists can directly access and edit any content accessible through the Company's lesson player. Given our text-to-speech technology, our animated characters will be able to read the content and administer the lessons as edited. Teachers will be able to build or modify content to meet each student's needs, adjusting sentence and question structures, vocabulary, and story complexity as required.

The Company will also enable teachers and therapists to personalize the tutors through a library of characters .The Company's proprietary technology enables the Company to "morph" Baldi - change his wire frame and texture -- to look like any person or any another animated character. In addition to highly personalizing the tutors, this technology enables our highly accurate and controllable animated speech technology to morph into nearly any 3-dimensional character. We will build engaging characters with a wide variety of features such as gender, age, and ethnicity and make it possible to incorporate those animated agents into other products.

Benefits of The Company's Technology
There are many benefits that flow from the animated speech technology. The most important benefits from the standpoint of the business are:

Cost effective learning
Greatly reduced learning time for speech, language and pronunciation Extends the impact of teachers and therapists by enabling highly customized lessons for each child Super-additive" learning by using the face and the voice Guided, adaptive instruction quickly reaches the learning "sweet spot" Real time assessment of student progress enables teachers to fine tune learning program. Engaging, non judgmental "talking head" encourages interaction and learning Reduces the cost of adding facial animation to educational and other applications Elimination of tedious manual speech animation methods for many types of applications Lowers the cost of building customized learning materials

The Company is concentrating on licensing and commercializing the Baldi technology through a highly focused plan that is designed to generate early revenue. When funding and cash flow increases and as the Company obtains more and more market feedback, the Company will move from phase-to-phase, adjusting the plan from time-to-time. The Company is currently working on the

For more information on Animated Speech Corporation, email massaro@fuzzy.ucsc.edu

Technology as a Key Resource for International Trade

By Andrea Peiro

The trend towards globalization and the recent opening of new foreign markets to U.S. goods and services are providing small and medium American enterprises with unprecedented opportunities to expand their operations and fuel growth.

Small businesses are though traditionally inhibited to develop operations away from the safe and sound U.S. soil. This is mostly due to the perception of high risk involved, and mostly to the fear that developing foreign operations would require substantial resources, both in terms of funding and I terms of human effort. Providing that it is true that developing remote operations requires a non-indifferent level of effort, it is also true that there are very many ways to reduce the cost, the risk and the business strength required to succeed.

Many of these ways make extensive use of modern Information Technologies to facilitate the task of establishing and running remote operations.

A first example is videoconferencing. This relatively old technology has today reached a very good level of maturity from multiple standpoints: very contained development and maintenance costs, high quality, high reliability and high flexibility. With a very limited investment any small business can install a videoconference system to connect daily with its office in Taiwan, at a small fraction of the cost of an airline ticket. After the September 11 tragedy, small and large businesses have rediscovered the power of videoconferencing, and are making it the new standard approach to remote business communications.

Another example of how technology facilitates the foreign expansion of small companies is the quick growth of business-to-business (b2b) global eCommerce, thanks to which American businesses can directly compete in foreign markets without necessarily having a physical presence abroad. B2b global eCommerce represents an outstanding opportunity for smaller businesses to dramatically expand their market with very limited investments. eCommerce has in fact the prerogative of smoothening the playing field by presenting the business players almost exclusively for their intrinsic operating characteristics: quality of their products, prices, capability to deliver, etc.

To help smaller business understand and adopt information technologies, including the ones to facilitate the extension into foreign markets, the federal government and the State of California have developed within the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network an initiative called Technology Advisory Program (TAP). This new program is designed to provide small businesses with complimentary high-quality technology consulting services to help them improve their operations and increase their chances to succeed.

TAP has recently entered a partnership with MBITA to provide members and qualifying businesses with customized technology services to facilitate international trade operations. To learn more about the program you can do so online www.sbdctap.com. TAP can also be reached via email at info@sbdctap.com, or by phone at (408) 494-0212.

Andrea Peiro is the Director of the Technology Advisory program. He has spent years studying small businesses, how they operate, and how they use technology to succeed. Andrea is also the Managing Editor of the Small Business Technology Review. He can be reached at andrea@sbdctap.com.

GLOBAL eCommerce From The Small Business Perspective

In the early years of the Internet various government and quasi-governmental organizations provided some good market research and competitive intelligence websites that were very useful for small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs). Later, private-sector companies began providing various web-based global trade services which included obtaining various documents of the exporting process for different country requirements. However, these documents were not interactive and had to be printed out and then faxed. A good website example for this solution is http://tradeport.org.

In the late 90's the boom in B2B online global logistics technology for the Global 2000 companies emerged. B2B for 'big business' is quite a different approach than from the perspective of the SME. Global B2B is complicated and expansive with efforts to streamline the global supply chain, which could include several countries in one single transaction. This kind of B2B technology has now 'trickled-down' to the web-browser to support SMEs to facilitate more efficient and cost-effective online Global eCommerce methods in shipping, contracts, negotiation and banking procedures. Global eCommerce has now become affordable for the SME without an expensive investment in hardware and software like Global 2000 company B2B applications require.

Some early entries for SME B2B web-based Global eCommerce solutions are from a very aggressive and comprehensive effort by the Honk Kong Trade & Development Agency to assist companies trading in the Chinese marketplace (http://www.tradecard.com) Another website is http://www.tradecompass.com. TradeCompass has taken more of a selective approach to the total solution for Global eCommerce for SMEs with pre-transaction tools such as training and education, matchmaking services and market research. They have also included some transaction- based solutions such as regulations &compliance with some solutions for logistics and finance capabilities.

TradeCard started out four years ago as an online B2B website for SMEs that provided letter-of-credit (ILC) procedures that were underwritten by selected banks. This included 'real-time' negotiation of all of the documents required consummating an ILC. Their marketing strategy has recently changed to using their proprietary technology for the 'mid-sized' enterprise market with a vertical industry-specific marketing strategy.

These efforts to reach the Global B2B SMEs marketplace are in its infancy. There is much to be done for Global eCommerce to be as common as email. Various government regulations to the validity of 'paperless documents' and security issues remain top priorities. Also, training SMEs on how to use the various Global eCommerce websites is very important.

For instance, the Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA) has launched a virtual, eLearning Global eCommerce-training program for SMEs. "The problem with Global eCommerce for SMEs throughout the world is that the SMEs just don't know how to navigate and use the various Global eCommerce websites. This is the crux of our virtual Global eCommerce eLearning program", states MBITA director, Tony Livoti. "We'll go right to the desktop of a shipping department of a SME and show them how they can now make a Shippers Export Declaration (SED) online, or how they can now apply for a Letter of Credit online", continues Tony. (please go to http://www.mbita.org and CLICK on 'Global eCommerce 2001 for course outline)

Written by Tony Livoti, Executive Director of MBITA

The Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA), a non-profit international trade association, has been providing trade promotion services for small to mid-sized enterprises (SME) in the Monterey Bay region of California since 1984. In 1995 MBITA became a partner in the unprecedented model, public-private, export promotion program called BAYTRADE, (http://www.baytrade.org), and the 'brain-child' of the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. In five years as a BAYTRADE partner, MBITA successfully helped over 150 SMEs in the Monterey Bay region export their products and services to new foreign markets with initial sales totaling over $5 million. (MBITA, 725 Front St, Suite 104, Ph: 831-469-0148, Fax: 831-469-0917, www.mbita.org, info@mbita.org)

BARTA: Speeding Technology to Market


BARTA, in cooperation with its domestic and international partners, is announcing the launch of two new programs, Venture and GlobalTechLink, to assist high-tech companies in Northern California. Venture is a business assistance program that prepares businesses to compete for angel and corporate funding. This fee for service program is designed to validate established firms needing additional resources to pursue growth opportunities. The GlobalTechLink program supports the creation of partnerships and strategic alliances between qualified California companies and leading European companies. For more information on these and other BARTA programs visit www.barta.org.

WORLDCOM's Free Benefits for MBITA Members



MBITA is proud to announce an outstanding opportunity with the Federation of International Trade Association (FITA) and its exclusive partnership with WORLDCOM, the world's largest telecommunication company in the world with an internet backbone and a data infrastructure far superior than its competitors.

As a member or affiliate client of MBITA and the international trade community your organization may qualify for FREE AIRLINE TICKETS or PREPAID CALLING CARDS and SPECIAL DISCOUNTS on your global telecommunications services.

MBITA endorses WORLDCOM to take full advantage of their many Internet services which include:

  • data services, including international private lines and frame relay
  • Internet access, dial-up or dedicated
  • #800 inbound service, both domestic and international web hosting
  • voice services, including local and long distance service, toll free, international and calling cards

To arrange a no cost analysis of your telecommunication needs, please feel free to call
FITA's Anthony Castronovo @ 310-204-3388.

We hope to see you take advantage of this FREE OFFER!
388 Fax (310) 204-3384
Email: anthony@fita.org
Website: http://www.fita.org
Anthony Castronovo Regional Manager West Coast

Season Greetings and Happy New Year 2002



Equity Now Mortgage Corporation
R.H. Jones, Senior Loan Officer

725 Front St - Ste 104 - Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Tel: 831.425.2274
email: RHJones@equitynowonline.com
web: http://www.equitynowonline.com