CHANNEL 9 Perth has moved a step closer to interactive television, dubbed t-commerce, after adopting an integrated solution package that will enable viewers to purchase products and services via set-top boxes.Navision’s Axapta solution replaces the outdated Unix-based system previously used by the station. It allows Channel 9 to integrate its purchase requisitions, financial systems and program purchasing into one. It also will enable the station to take advantage of the t-commerce market, which Channel 9 Perth station manager Ric Nicholas believes is 18 months away.“Navision Axapta will carry us through the new digital era,” Mr Nicholas said.“We see the capacity for expansion without any problems at all. It’s just a question of when.”He said t-commerce would be a major part of television’s digital future and it therefore was important there was a robust system to support it.The Axapta customisation and implementation solution has been Leederville-based Navision reseller Globe Software’s largest project since it opened in 1997.Director Steve Wright said he expected Globe to continue to work with Channel 9 Perth in the future to fine tune and customise Axapta for digital TV.“Because it is the company’s financial systems that is involved, they’ll want to come back to the original solutions centre to give them the security that what they are doing is correct,” he said.Mr Wright said although the boundaries of interactive TV had not yet been established in Australia, it was not too early to install the framework.“Obviously the Internet has played a massive role in how companies do business these days,” he said.“The Axapta product is only three years old, so it was designed to take advantage of whatever Internet or t-commerce abilities may be required. When t-commerce comes along, it will be Internet based, so we don’t foresee any problems at all.”Because television stations have specific financial needs, such as the complex process of purchasing television programs, Globe has created customised modules. For the series ‘ER’, which Channel 9 buys in 26-week blocks and includes re-runs for a contract price in US dollars, the new module can record the data and compare it with other program information. It also allows the network to fulfil obligations to the Australian Broadcasting Authority.Mr Wright said any customisation of the software would not affect future upgrades.“When we make modifications, such as changing fields and business logic, we don’t compromise upgrade, because it was designed from day one to be customised without that compromise occurring,” he said.Mr Nicholas said Channel 9 Perth was now ahead of its counterparts in the eastern states after the implementation of the system.Channel 9 Perth is a fully owned subsidiary of Sunraysia Television Ltd and is an independent from the Channel 9 network.The Axapta system also included the development of an Intranet for Perth staff and the preservation of old data from the Unix platform.
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