Development of a uniform european consumer database environment

Centralised consumer database with data europeans' purchase
behaviour. Data is captured on home scanning basis(bar code)
access by europanel partners/clients such as multinational
manufacturers of fast moving consumer goods/fresh produce.

In nearly every European country a specific form of consumer behaviour research is in operation. It is called consumer panel research and is based on a continuous panel of consumers in each country which varies nationally from 2,000 in BELGIUM to 14,000 in GERMANY. Data on purchase behaviour in markets of fast moving consumer goods and fresh produce is captured on a daily basis and includes volume, price, brand, outlet and package size. It is a robust database which enables manufacturers, retailers, governments and producers to quantify market volumes and analyse consumer behaviour and preferences. Although basically the same, the various consumer panel systems vary from country to country. Local (national) systems can meet local market demand. The combination of local systems, however, cannot yet meet international demand, whereas there is obviously a clear need to report on a pan-European market to governmental bodies, EU institutions, multinational manufacturers and retail organisations. The concept of the EURODATABASE project has been put forward by EUROPANEL, an Association of consumer panel institutions. It has defined a project named EURODATABASE and it includes uniformity in data capture and data processing on the one hand and standardisation in market definitions, brand/product attributes and reporting systems on the other. This completely automated system should be accessible to all EUROPANEL members and clients. The objective is to arrive at a system which enables users to define markets with the utmost flexibility and analyse market data on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. The system should, for this reason, be complete, extremely flexible, up-to-date and easily accessible. Critical technical elements: These are in the area of data capture and data forwarding to the local database centres and the (re)structure of the various national consumer purchases databases. This is to such a detailed level that every individual article (3,000,000 articles) can be traced. All these databases have been perfected for national use so far. Pilot surveys in the NETHERLANDS, with 5,000 consumer households, have shown that data capturing, via bar code reading with automatic data forwarding via night time telephone calls, causes severe data communication problems that can only be overcome by study (including the involvement of national PTTs) of their protocols and techniques. Further development has to adhere to these findings. In each participating European country different problems are expected, since each national telephone system has its own technical standards. Another critical element is the harmonisation and standardisation of consumer data of the various EUROPANEL institutions, which in fact is the most significant problem in meeting the ultimate European reporting system. Turning data structure and database attributes (consumer characteristics) requires an European-wide approach just to provide (multinational) clients with fundamental tools. An international datacommunications network will distribute the databases in a transparent way between local panel insitutions. In this way, whereas data will be collected on a local (national) base, clients may have access to a EURODATABASE, a transparent analysis system consisting of fully standardised European data. The production process system (base) and the reporting system (front end) of the EURODATABASE will be developed on a platform of the modern client-server architecture, using common standards for the convenience of clients. Parts of the software are determined by local institutions (electronic data capture, panel administration), other parts are of general importance (E.A.N. article codes, quality control, interfacing, data communications and reporting). From the client's point of view the system will run on a 486 PC with links to a central system (to access data). The operating systems are UNIX-oriented, the client will use a user-friendly system such as WINDOWS NT (to be announced next year) or OS/2. The processing takes place on a variety of SQL relational DataBase Management Systems (DBMS) combined with fourth generation languages. As defined applications must run in Real-Time and give results within a few minutes. The generation of output (European-wide reports) via applications such as wordprocessing, spread sheets, graphics and DTP can be run on a central server (or host system) in the various countries, special analyses will be executed either on a central server or (on the client's demand) a local server, where the export of data takes place by datacommunications. In both cases the same infrastructure of report selections will be used. Time schedule: The base (administration, access control, reports, key measures): 01-08-93 Access for clients (datacommunications, packet switching, transfer): 01-10-93 Special market research analysis (menus, method): 01-11-93 Local client's server functionality (data updates, cross tabulations): 01-11-93 Export functionality (spreadsheets, graphical reporting systems): 01-01-94
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Project costs: 
6 900 000.00€
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Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.