Electronic shopping pilot ends second phase

Electronic shopping pilot ends second phase

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

MARCH 20—Cross-catalog product searches moved a step closer to reality today with completion of the second phase of the Catalogue Interoperability Pilot, spearheaded by a government and industry coalition led by CommerceNet, an electronic commerce industry association in Palo Alto, Calif.

The first phase of the electronic comparison-shopping pilot ended 15 months ago (see story at www.gcn.com/archives/gcn/1998/december14/8.htm). The second phase tried out actual purchases via smart cards, public-key infrastructures, digital signatures and secure data transmission.

"There is now a realistic opportunity to apply the lessons learned to enhance the buying experiences of the federal government," said Mary Mitchell, co-chairwoman of the General Services Administration's Federal Electronic Commerce Program Office. "It is time to make recommendations that enable buying and paying processes to take advantage of new, more open solutions."

Some issues persist before such a system could be fully deployed, however, said James M. Galvin, president of eList eXpress LLC of Sykesville, Md., which worked on the project. Perhaps the most difficult issue will be making product descriptions uniform across catalogs, he said.

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