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Auto industry gets Web services-based dealer hub


By Tom Sullivan

(IDG) -- EDS and Sun Microsystems on Sunday took the wraps off Dealersphere, a Web services-based integration hub for the auto industry. INFOCENTER
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Unveiled at the National Auto Dealers Association show in New Orleans, Dealersphere will enable car dealerships to hook into a central integration engine by way of a small system that plugs into the dealers' LAN and speaks ebXML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). In doing so, dealers can communicate with other companies that subscribe to Dealersphere regardless of their infrastructure, according to John Ogilvie, CTO of Killdara, an Almonte, Ontario-based provider of connectivity software for Web services and grid computing. Killdara supplied some of the technology that connects the dealers to the hub, Ogilvie said.

"The ultimate use of Dealersphere is to make sure that when you go into a dealership, you come out with a car," Ogilvie said.

The process can include the dealer automatically handling credit checks, getting the exact color and options for a car, and being able to locate that car even if it is at another dealer, he continued.

"Right now, that's all done by hand and fax," Ogilvie said.

Dealersphere handles certification and contractual relationships among its subscribers, and maintains performance and throughput of transactions, said Mark Allen, vice president of portfolios and technology at EDS' automotive retail group, in Troy, Michigan.

Sun, EDS, and Cobalt Group created Dealersphere. The system is built largely on Sun hardware and software, and EDS provides the data center processing and connectivity. Nitra, a J2EE-based platform built specifically for the automotive industry by Seattle-based Cobalt Group, is also being used, as well as Killdara's software.




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