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For immediate release

Ron Parsons


CommerceNet Member Companies And Federal Agencies Launch Pilot To Ensure Government Catalogs Can Work Together

GSA, NASA, DISA, DLA, and the Department of the Navy Partner to Demonstrate New Technology Capabilities

WASHINGTON, July 28, 1998 -- CommerceNet, the global consortium promoting and building Internet-based electronic commerce solutions, five government agencies, and several leading technology companies officially launched a pilot project to ensure that online government catalogs can work together. The Catalog Interoperability Pilot will demonstrate how an interoperable catalog system reduces the enormous costs and inefficiencies inherent in operating multiple stand-alone electronic catalogs within the Federal Government.

This pilot, which includes the General Services Administration (GSA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Defense Information Services Agency (DISA), the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the Department of the Navy, allow buyers secure access to a full range of product offerings, stored in electronic catalogs at multiple agencies and vendor sites. The Catalog Interoperability Pilot framework will not require vendors to write special software or present their products in a unique way for each agency, alleviating the need for agencies to generate specialized interfaces to each vendor. "Interoperability is the key to ensuring global economic competitiveness for the US marketplace," says Randall Whiting, CEO of CommerceNet. "This pilot is a key first step in creating a truly extensible model for the highly distributed world of Internet-based commerce."

The goal of the pilot is to lower the costs of processing high-volume, low-cost transactions; reduce the time needed for catalog users to find and select products; decrease the incidence of "maverick buying;" and improve the quality of information available to government buyers through the use of electronic commerce.

"This pilot project will pave the way for government’s entry into the digital economy, " said Tony Trenkle, Co-chair of the Federal Electronic Commerce Program Office. "With broad, easy access to online purchasing catalogs, Federal buyers can will find items from a variety of sources on the Internet at competitive prices. Interoperability has the potential to slash procurement cycles and costs."

The pilot allows buyers at each agency to conduct parametric searches with end-to-end security, and locate items in catalogs at other agencies or even on vendor sites. The Government Catalogs involved in phase one are: GSA Advantage, NASA SEWP II, DLA E-mall, Department of the Navy’s ITEC Direct, and the DISA Electronic Mall. DLA, DISA and the Department of the Navy are working with the Department of Defense Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office to develop a single DOD E-Mall. The Department of the Navy is the lead Military Department in building the Information Technology Corridor of the DOD E-Mall. Lexmark is also set up as an external vendor catalog for this pilot.

The technology making this possible is based on the CommerceNet eCo Framework and XML, the Extensible Markup Language that expands the utility of current Worldwide Web pages. Contributing significant resources, including expertise and leading-edge technology, are CommerceNet, Digital Commerce Corporation, Lexmark, NDS Americas, Oracle Corporation, Saqqara Systems, Sybase, V-One, and VEO Systems. The Catalog Interoperability pilot is the first demonstration of technology developed by Veo Systems with partial funding from the NIST Advanced Technology Program through a contract awarded to CommerceNet, Veo Systems, Tesserae, and BusinessBots.

About Commercenet and Partcipating Commercenet Member Companies

CommerceNet is a non-profit industry association for companies promoting and building electronic commerce solutions on the Internet. Members include 500 companies and organizations worldwide representing banks, telecommunications, online services, software and service companies, as well as end users. CommerceNet can be contacted at (650) 858-1930, via Fax at (650) 858-1936, or on the World Wide Web (www.commerce.net).

Digital Commerce Corporation (DCC), the home of FedCenter, is creating an intuitive user interface for the pilot which allows flexibility in product comparisons based on users’ criteria.

Lexmark is a Global developer, manufacturer and supplier of printer solutions and products. Lexmark's participation in the pilot includes the development of common printer descriptions and specifications, providing database content about printers, and testing the system.

NDS Americas, a subsidiary of NewsCorporation, a technology company acknowledged as the leading conditional access provider of Pay-TV applications. As one of the world's most advanced data security providers, NDS is providing a public-key smart card-based network security technology.

Oracle Corporation is the world's leading supplier of software for information management, and the world's second largest software company.

SAQQARA Systems is a leading Internet catalog software vendor with advanced parametric search technology. SAQQARA's role in the pilot is to enable users to quickly search and compare products after aggregating query data from multiple sources.

Sybase, a world leader in database technology, is assisting agencies in integration processes and in implementing the new technologies.

V-ONE Corporation, the leaders in Virtual Private Network (VPN technology), has company and product information available at (www.v-one.com) and at 1-800-495-VONE. They are providing an end-to-end security foundation for the pilot through authentication, encryption, and access control.

Veo Systems is developing open products and services for automating Internet commerce across trading partner networks. The XML-based Veo server and catalog integration service utilized in the pilot are the first commercial implementations of eCo System, CommerceNet's framework for "plug and play" commerce. Contact Dr. J. M. Tenebaum, the founder and Chief Scientist of Veo Systems at (650) 858-7711. (www.veosystems.com).

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