Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail

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11.2. Requirements

The focus of Internet connectivity is on the mechanism of connecting to and interoperating on the public Internet with other automotive organizations. A wide variety of options exist for how an organization can connect to the Internet from non-addressable dial-up connections, to high speed static IP VPN connections. Selecting the Internet connectivity mechanism is dependant on the requirements of the complete set of involved trading partners. This section will define the full set of requirements necessary to address in order for all STAR trading partners to interoperate.

11.2.1. Message Handshaking and Feature Set

There are more than twenty unique partner-to-partner interactions defined for transporting requests and responses between dealers, manufacturers, an RSP, and 3rd parties. In order to communicate as STAR members, each partner’s Internet connection must allow it to connect to a partner system with the following capabilities:

  • Exchange Business Messages between users over various Internet transport Protocols (TCP/IP HTTP/S, and optionally SMTP/S.)

  • Message transfers must be capable of providing a secure, consistent, reliable means to exchange Business Messages.

  • The messaging solution must support both a connected and disconnected mode of operation.

  • Messages must be able to be passed both synchronously and asynchronously.

  • The messaging solution must be able to support both Internet addressable and non-addressable endpoints.

  • The solution must be able to support messaging between two endpoints in both client initiated as well as bi-directional messaging (where each endpoint can act as either the sender or the receiver.)

11.2.2. Flexibility of Implementation Cost and Footprint

A key requirement is for a wide range of solutions be supported regardless of the Internet connection. These solutions must range from a low cost, low footprint solution that will provide small dealerships with the necessary connectivity to a large scale solution that can scale for performance and capacity of a large automotive manufacturer. However, in all cases they must:

  • Support the ability to build a full range of implementation options from a low cost single user implementation to a highly scalable robust implementation.

  • A selected standard should not limit the implementation to a partially interoperable solution, but rather should allow for building minimal solutions or robust reliable solutions using standards to insure interoperability and adaptability.

  • In each case the options need to be able to connect to the Internet and interoperate with the expected service levels.

11.2.3. The Ability to Support Open Standards Based Messaging Solutions

STAR standards selections are expected to help foster competitiveness and innovation in the industry and lead to better quality and less expensive solutions for the automotive industry as a whole. The STAR requirements that help drive competitiveness and lower cost are:

  • The implementation of each node should not be bound to proprietary specifications or products.

  • The implementations should be supported on multiple platforms, operating systems, using multiple component models and languages.

  • Solutions should provide protection of the automotive industry from proprietary dependencies, vendor lock in, or potential “Internet messaging tolls”.

  • The solutions define a full stack of cross-vendor B2B Interoperability among participants.

11.2.4. Internet Connectivity Types

Based on the described requirements and the set of partner-to-partner interactions that have been defined, a set of Internet connectivity types have been defined. These make up the core set necessary for all types of STAR organizations to interact over the Internet. The three unique Internet connectivity groupings provide flexible, cost effective alternatives for STAR organizations to select; a large OEM and a mom and pop type dealership have different requirements and need options in how they connect to the Internet. These three classifications provide the necessary Internet connectivity solutions for all types of STAR members while maintaining the ability to provide reliable, secure, interoperable STAR messaging solutions. These Internet connectivity usage patterns are as follows:

  • Non-Addressable Endpoint Solution

  • Addressable Endpoint

  • Addressable Hub

These three Internet connectivity solutions satisfy all of the twenty-two messaging interactions and provide the flexibility and range to support the cost and capability needs for all STAR organizations.