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A project being undertaken by leading members of the auto industry next month could facilitate the convergence of much-needed capabilities found in the ebXML transaction standard into the three most widely accepted Web-services specifications.
As part of the Automotive Industry Action Group's project to improve visibility within the supply chain, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and most recently DaimlerChrysler have agreed to work to bring ebXML's encryption, reliability, and security capabilities to the UDDI registry of available services, the Web Services Description Language, XML-based code that carries out Web services requests, and the Simple Object Access Protocol used to transfer the data.
EbXML is more advanced than these Web-services protocols, according to research firm Gartner, providing for reliable business collaboration and interenterprise process automation.
"The automotive industry is trying to bring authentication and nonrepudiation to messaging of Web services based on ebXML," says Gartner Research analyst Frank Kenney.
The auto industry's Inventory Visibility and Interoperability project is based on ebXML standards, but the car makers say suppliers already supporting UDDI, WSDL, and Soap would rather see ebXML's benefits brought to those platforms than have to support another standard. "The problem we hear from industry suppliers and customers is they have to support two techniques," says Mike Richards, manager of enterprise architecture at Ford. A consistent approach will drive cost out of the supply chain with simplified business processes, says John Jackson, GM's director of software technology.
The plan was approved by the AIAG in July, but the standards bodies involved also must approve the proposal.