Actra Business Systems, a joint venture between Netscape and EDI supplier GEIS, will release real time EDI software in early March.
The software will consist of a transaction server that will enable businesses to exchange documents such as invoices over the Internet, plus a storefront building application for creating a Web presence.
By providing secure EDI transactions on the Net, Actra claims its technology will remove the main obstacle to EDI - the need to rely, for security reasons, on proprietary forms and value added network services. This in turn has driven up the costs, especially for small businesses.
Actra will be one of the first EDI developers to deliver products implementing the Secure Sockets Layer, as well as digital signatures and encryption, to ensure security on the Net. The back end system will use Netscape's Directory Server and Certificate Server to manage user names and authentication, while at the front end users can access EDI through a standard browser.
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