Car group Convisint upgrades to XML

Car industry e-services exchange Covisint has launched an IT consortium that aims to replace existing Electronic Data Interchange...

Car industry e-services exchange Covisint has launched an IT consortium that aims to replace existing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messaging with more flexible, cheaper XML systems.

Covisint said the industry consortium includes DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors, and parts and technology suppliers Johnson Controls, Lear and Delphi. 

Covisint spokesman Paul Manns said the group is being launched to help find cheaper and more efficient ways for car makers to communicate directly with suppliers about parts availability, engineering concerns and other issues.

For years, the car industry has relied on complex and antiquated EDI technologies for inter-company communications, which companies have been hesitant to abandon because of past investments.

The system, which the consortium hopes to have in place by the end of the year, will use XML and a combination of off-the-shelf products and custom coding. 

As the consortium works to develop the system, other Covisint members, including other car makers and parts and equipment suppliers, will be invited to use the technologies.

"We really believe that when companies see the flexibility and ease-of-use of the system... and the powerful XML capabilities" that they will also join the effort, Manns said. 

The XML system will have another benefit, according to the group, because it will enable smaller companies that cannot afford or use EDI now to connect to customers and suppliers. 

The system will also allow Covisint customers to send and receive electronic data to applications behind each other's firewalls, as well as to Covisint applications.

It will support the latest internet-based protocols, XML standard messages and will be compatible with the millions of EDI messages exchanged daily in the automotive business. 

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