New Web services are emerging that will make it easier to manage your personal life and get things done at work.
ALERTS: People who want to keep track of events in real time can set up alerts that reach them wherever they are. At online marketplace eBay (EBAY), people who are bidding can be notified by e-mail or pager when someone else trumps their offer.
TRAVEL: Expedia.com (EXPE) offers a service that sends e-mail about travel schedule changes, notification to friends and relatives when a flight is about to land, and instant-messenger updates when sales are available on preselected destinations.
FINANCIAL SELF-HELP: This month, Bank of America (BAC) is rolling out a service that lets consumers handle savings, investments, and credit-card payments from various financial institutions on one Web site. Behind the scenes, software travels among the different sites gathering data and completing transactions.
EMPLOYEE PORTALS: Companies are creating personalized Web pages for workers that put all the info they need at their fingertips. Salespeople at Colliers International Commercial Real Estate can see data about customers and properties from the company's 250 offices and cross-reference them with data from outside sources.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT: Machines can now let service people know when they break down. Otis Elevator has enabled elevators to notify its maintenance people automatically when something is amiss. No need for phone calls. Just a message sent over the Net.
TAX CALCULATORS: Web services help online retailers calculate and pay sales taxes. Taxware International, Hewlett-Packard (HWP), and four states have created a service bureau that automatically calculates sales taxes when consumers type in their mailing address. The states are then immediately paid the tax that they're owed.