Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) is both a registry project designed to provide a repository containing details that businesses need in order to interact with each other, and the code or mechanism by which that interaction will take place.
According to its founders, IBM, Ariba and Microsoft, UDDI will allow firms to find business partners for the goods or services they require and then carry out
e-business transactions without the need for technical intervention.
This is made possible by the common language provided within XML-based UDDI and its carrier Soap (Simple Object Access Protocol), the mechanism for invoking UDDI transactions.
The UDDI registry went live earlier this month. Membership currently stands at about 70 companies.
Mark Brockbank, software technical architect for IBM, said, "Technically, the users have to decide what they want to do. The tools are there to wrap their services and products, using Soap, and allow procurement systems to interact with minimal human intervention.
"It cannot be a mass volume product yet because no-one has had the code to operate with. The key is, though, this is the way e-business is going."
Analyst Alan Lawson of Butler Research was less convinced. "What this technology allows is for companies to be visible to others and available to trade. But the drawback is that the suppliers want things their own way and conflicting standards arise. What the user needs is open standards. Also, how valuable is it for all businesses to trade with, say, Taiwan?" he said.
Information on how to take advantage of UDDI can be found at www.uddi.org
What is UDDI?
The advantage of UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration) is its ability to allow speedy discovery of potential business partners and to provide seamless integration with their IT systems for order processing.
Touted as the future of e-business, UDDI is an XML-based specification for a registry of businesses and the service they provide. IBM, Ariba and Microsoft led its development. The standard and directory service went live in May. Business information in UDDI is carried by Soap (Simple Object Access Protocol), which invokes interaction between those seeking particular products or services.