Isle of Man: e-habitant - A National Electronic Community
Last Updated: 14 November 2001

At 8.00am on the 8th of November e-habitant was launched on the Isle of Man.

The Concept

e-habitant is a unique concept, the first of its kind to offer an entire nation the facility to become part of an electronic community.

The e-habitant concept allows users to manage many of their day-to-day affairs over the Internet without having to leave home and to do so securely. The new electronic service is operated from the Isle of Man by locally based encryption and security specialists Invisimail.

Ernst & Young consultant Steve Christian was instrumental in the conception and development of e-habitant, which was envisaged to be a fast, simple and secure method for Island residents to communicate and manage their business by using digitally signed and encrypted e-mail messages.

The concept has become reality by combining the expertise of Ernst & Young, Invisimail, the Isle of Man Post Office and the Isle of Man Government Department of Trade and Industry.

Together with Invisimail and the Post Office, Steve Christian packaged e-habitant for rolling-out the service to the community and also structured the business model for presentation to the Department of Trade and Industry in order to obtain government support.

"The Complete Communications System"

e-habitant is envisaged as the complete communications system, allowing users to manage many of their usual day-to-day affairs over the Internet. The e-habitant system is fast, simple and secure, offering direct links to banks and on-line shopping sites which allows the user, among other capabilities, to pay bills, place bets and make travel arrangements online - and all from ONE SITE. Users are able to build and constantly modify their own Lifestyle Management Console, configuring the console to include ONLY the companies and services which are important to them.

Ultra Secure

e-habitant provides the user with a measure of security not available with ordinary e-mail programs. It encrypts and decrypts messages so that no outside party can read them. There is also ultra secure e-mail anti-virus scanning of all incoming and outgoing e-mail, and a unique feature allowing users to digitally sign documents, an essential requisite for on-line financial dealings.

And e-habitant is FREE to all domestic users. (All that is paid for is the cost of the user’s Internet link.)

Additionally, working with the Isle of Man Post Office, e-habitant provides a physical mail to digital mail service that provides a low cost alternative to sending bills, statements and other such correspondence.

The Advantage for Businesses

e-habitant site will contain a full range of businesses important to the general public. It will create an "online community site" that will offer the e-habitant the benefit of being able to send and receive secure information and giving a single point of contact to purchase goods, browse for information, view local services and interact with their service suppliers.

This online community will enable businesses to:

  • Reach a wider audience than before
  • Provide quick, secure communication with customers
  • Make it easier for customers to do business with them
  • Encourage existing and potential customers to visit their website
  • Reduce overheads

Switching on the System

Immediately prior to the launch on the 8th November all eligible persons on the Isle of Man (all over the age of 18) were mailed with information on the e-habitant system. The personalised mailshot contained each individual’s Activation Code to log-on. As the system is "portable" the potential user does not need to have Internet access at home, it is possible to log-on and use terminals at Internet Cafes and libraries. Anyone not receiving a mailing can apply at any time in the future for an activation code from a Post Office.

The Future

e-habitant will grow and develop. New services will be offered to e-habitants, and early in 2002 the Lifestyle Manager will be specially adapted for small to medium size establishments and businesses. (SME’s)

And the concept and system will be exported. There is already interest in e-habitant from other countries and 2002 should see the operation that originated on the Isle of Man switched on in other parts of the world.

Further Information

Comprehensive information on e-habitant and Invisimail systems can be obtained from the e-Com Island website at:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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