Business Use of the Internet: ImageStream
The purpose of this paper is to explain what small business are, their importance in today's expanding economy and understanding how changing technology affects their operations. In the last years, the internet has brought small businesses a lot of innovative procedures that can be used to improve products and services, reduce costs and also have access to more information.
The Small Business Act of 1953 defines a small business concern as "one that is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation" (SBA, 2004). The law also states that in determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary from industry to industry to reflect industry differences accurately. ImageStream Internet Solutions, Inc. is a privately held company in its 10th year of operation. ImageStream engineers, manufactures, and distributes Linux-based routing products for network and Internet applications. ImageStream products are used by Internet service providers (ISPs), governments, schools, and businesses in more than 75 countries around the world.
Within a non-dominant market share, and an independent, employee-owned structure, ImageStream meets the SBA definition of a small business (SBA, 2004). The U.S. government considers ImageStream a small business for its SIC code because the company employs fewer than 1000 people and has less than $100 million in annual sales (ImageStream, 2004).
The Internet has revolutionized business communications and operations, just as the inventions of the telegraph, telephone, radio, fax machine and computer did the same. For small businesses like ImageStream, the Internet offers worldwide reach, an inexpensive mechanism for disseminating information, and a medium for inter- and intra-company collaboration regardless of geographic location.
The Internet represents one of the most successful examples of the benefits of sustained investment and commitment to research and development of information infrastructure.