E-survey trying to map features of local high-tech geography
By Sherri C. Ranta
The size, characteristics and location of the Miami-Dade County e-commerce community is still a mystery in some respects, despite efforts by economic development officials to count and categorize.
To solve this quandry, e-commerce company representatives are being asked to complete an online economic development survey on The Beacon Council's website at beaconcouncil.com/survey.
Initially launched in the fall, the survey's registration deadline has been extended to the end of the month, said John Cordrey, senior vice president for research at the Beacon Council.
"There is a lot that is known about e-commerce in the county. Yet if someone comes along and asks, how big are they, where are they and who are they, these are questions we do not have information about," Dr. Cordrey said.
The answers are slow in coming, as evidenced by the extended deadline, originally set for Dec. 20. About 270 companies have responded to the survey. Dr. Cordrey said he suspects there are about 100 to 150 more companies that could be added.
Tom Sokolowski, manager of the web-development group at CW Rampage Inc. in Miami Beach, said there are some preliminary figures from companies that have registered. CW Rampage is one of several Miami companies lending technical expertise to the project.
Of those registered, about 38% were born off-line; 24% started on-line and 38% registered both ways.
The top 40% of companies targeted four markets global, Latin America, US & Canada and South Florida.
The average number of employees is 229, with that average expected to grow to 241 by the end of 2001, he said.
Of those registered, 93% had websites in English, 39% in Spanish and 8% in Portuguese. The numbers do not add up to 100% because some of the companies marked more than one language, Mr. Sokolowski said.
Results of the survey will be used to help groups like Beacon Council and Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce market the county as a hub for e-commerce activity. The trade magazine "America's Networks" ranked Miami as fifth among the world's telecommunication hubs.
In the next few weeks, Beacon Council officials will be combing lists from the chamber and network groups such as Tuesday Network and Miami Internet Alliance for companies that have not responded.
The survey takes about two minutes to complete and asks for information such as company name, address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address and web site address as well as the name of the top principal or executive.
The survey also asks for information regarding the type of e-commerce business, what services are provided, the year and origin of the business born online or off-line geographic market, and number of employees.
Beacon Council officials along with the other groups and companies sponsoring the survey county chamber of commerce and Miami Internet Alliance to name a few are expected to compile and present the final data to the community in the next few months.