GXS Unveils New AS2 Module

Module helps users connect to trading partners securely through the Internet.

GE Global Exchange Services (GXS) announced today the release of a new module that helps users connect to trading partners securely through the Internet.

The AS2 module is part of the GXS Enterprise System 7.5 integration broker offering and is the software version of the Applicability Statement 2 protocol that establishes standard point-to-point connections in business-to-business document transactions.

In draft format now, AS2 is a standard by which vendor applications communicate EDI [electronic data exchange] or other data, such as XML, over the Internet using HTTP.

Like its predecessor AS1, AS2 only specifies the means to connect, deliver, validate and reply to data.

"A lot of companies have installed integration brokers, and most have offered ways to move documents over the Internet. But none move documents in the same way, so there is always needed an intermediary," said John Radko, chief architect at GXS, in Gaithersburg, Md. "AS2 will enable brokers to interoperate directly. It defines an envelope, a security scheme [digital certificates], and the way it handles receipts."

GXS—along with software makers bTrade Inc., Cyclone Commerce, IPNet Solutions, iSoft Corp., SeeBeyond Technology Corp., TrailBlazer Systems and webMethods Inc.—earlier this month completed an interoperability test that validated the ability of software vendors to interoperate and communicate with EDI data via AS2.

The test was sponsored by the Uniform Code Council standards body and the Drummond Group, an interoperability conformance consultancy group.

GXS also announced today that one of its customers is using the protocol as part of GXS 7.5 integration broker software.

Transportation and logistics resources provider Transplace is using version 7.5 and the AS2 module to connect new trading partners over the Internet.

Transplace was formed in July, 2000 through a merger of the six logistics business units of large truckload carriers, including J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., M.S. Carriers Inc., Swift Transportation Co. Inc., U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. and Werner Enterprises Inc.

"The exciting thing for us is we have someone using the protocol," said Radko. "I guarantee the other side they are talking to is not us."

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