Past Issues of Government Technology

E-COMMERCE

The Internet is becoming the trade route of the future as it moves from the distribution of information to a secure place to conduct business.

by / November 30, 1999 0
When Marco Polo traveled to China, he followed the Silk Road, a trading route that stretched 4,000 miles between the old Roman Empire and Cathay. Over this road, East met West and ideas were exchanged as readily as products, such as silk, wool, gold and silver. The road created fortunes and changed cultures. The Internet is today's Silk Road, and while trade upon it is still relatively small, that's about to change.

According to a report from the investment-banking firm Goldman, Sachs & Co. called "B2B: 2B Or Not 2B?" e-commerce markets for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business are poised for explosive growth. The report estimates that the business-to-business e-commerce market in the United States will grow from $39 billion in 1998, to approximately $1.5 trillion in 2004.

The move into e-commerce and Web-based services comes at a time when government agencies are trying to increase their performance and reduce cost.

While government agencies' presence on the Internet has increased, many agencies are simply providing generic information and have not yet begun to provide full-scale transactions for information exchange, buying and selling online. This restraint is partly the result of concern about network and transaction security.

Additionally, concern over transaction security has made many consumers averse to making payments over the Internet. In general, security concerns in e-commerce can be divided into concerns about user authorization and concerns about data-transaction security.



Electronic Payment Systems
Electronic payment is an integral part of electronic commerce. Broadly defined, electronic payment is a financial exchange that takes place online between buyers and sellers. The content of this exchange is usually some form of digital financial instrument, such as encrypted credit card numbers, electronic checks or digital cash that is backed by a bank or an intermediary.

The goal of online commerce is to develop a small set of payment methods that are widely used by consumers and widely accepted by merchants and banks.

Electronic or digital cash is based on digital signatures. By supplying all customers with its public key, a bank enables customers to decode any message or currency encoded with the bank's private key. If the decryption key by a customer yields a recognizable message, the customer can be confident that the bank encoded it. Over the past two decades, digital signatures have been as secure as the mathematics involved and have proved to be more resistant to forgery than handwritten signatures.

Electronic checks are modeled on paper checks, except that they are initiated electronically, use digital signatures for signing and endorsing and require the use of digital certificates to authenticate the payer, the payer's bank and bank account.



EC Products
While fundamental computing issues are just now beginning to be raised and solved -- both in the area of legislation and new technologies -- a variety of industries are developing new applications that target government, consumer and business markets.



E-Mail and Web-Access Security
Conducting secure, electronic business transactions requires solid security products that go far beyond Web browsers' Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or basic e-mail encryption.

Unisys' Single Point Security suite --SP File and Mail Security -- enables users to store or send encrypted information to mail users both internally and externally.

The product uses a point-and-click toolbar that delivers strong encryption and digital-signature capabilities. It allows folders to be designated as "vaults" where any files stored in them will be encrypted as well.

In addition to the file and mail security program, Unisys offers "a Web-access control product, called Authenticate, that allows users to protect specific pages of their Web site. Unless a person shows you the specific security token -- a password or biometrics fingerprint -- they cannot access the protected page," said Cathleen Wilkening, security-marketing manager of Unisys.

Unisys also offers e-commerce security using biometrics or fingerprint network-security identification software and hardware products. Biometric products are designed to replace PINs or passwords with fingerprint identification for system and network access.

File and Mail requires Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000. Authenticate runs on Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

According to the company, one state is in the process of piloting its Medicaid data and processes using SP File and Mail Security.

Additional information is available by contacting Unisys



E-Commerce Integration
With the extraordinary introduction of new technologies, business models and the revising of fundamental intra- and inter-enterprise business processes, application integration has become more diverse and more difficult to manage.

Geneva is an enterprise application-integration tool that gives enterprises, systems integrators and independent vendors the power to access mission-critical data no matter where it resides on corporate enterprise networks. It is suited for Web access and integration, office integration and legacy/package software, e-commerce integration, etc.

According to Greg Lomow, Geneva integrator product manager, "Geneva serves as ... a bridge between your Web server and core-processing system and the core-processing system of your trading partner. It supports customer-to-business and business-to-business e-commerce."

It runs on Windows NT or 2000 and supports XML messaging as a built-in data format and allows other data formats to be converted to XML automatically.

According to the company, Colorado is currently using the software.

Additional information is available by contacting Level 8 Systems Inc. at 919/380-5245.



Payment and Collection
Cardservice International provides all the necessary tools for processing bankcards, ATM/debit cards, travel and entertainment cards, check guarantees and business-to-business authorizations.

In April 1998, Cardservice International announced Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) as another product for new and existing merchants. EBT programs are becoming increasingly popular as states replace benefit checks and paper food coupons with plastic EBT cards. These benefits must be processed through point-of-sale terminals at retail, grocery and convenience stores. Retailers wishing to participate in the EBT program must be equipped with a terminal, printer and PIN pad.

EBT is expanding dramatically. Over half of the states will be operating EBT programs by the end of the year, and projections show that all 50 states will be delivering benefits via EBT programs by Oct. 1, 2002. Programs such as unemployment, government pensions, Medicare, and Medicaid will be added to the card in the future.

Additional information is available by contacting Cardservice International Inc. at 800/456-5902.



Online Payment Processing
CyberSource provides an easy and simple way for sites to accept credit cards or other payment methods. It provides secure payment-processing functionality and direct links to banks and credit-card processors worldwide.

All payment information is transferred from the commerce site to CyberSource using the Simple Commerce Messaging Protocol.

The customer payment information is encrypted to prevent alteration or tampering. Further, the message is authenticated to verify the identity of the partners sending and receiving the payment-processing request.

Each of these measures ensures that payment authorization and settlement are handled with the utmost security.

The software comes in Windows NT or UNIX versions.

Additional information is available by contacting CyberSource Corp. at 408/
556-9100.



Electronic Billing
CheckFree allows users to write a check online, pay bills electronically, receive bills electronically and monitor their own account activity to find out who got paid when.

Additional information is available by contacting CheckFree at 678/375-3000.



Purchasing and Bidding
Way2Bid provides interactive purchasing and biding services over the Web.

Users can generate requests for bid/quote, requests for proposal, terms-boilerplate, bid tabulation spreadsheets, purchase orders and invoices.

Additional information is available by contacting Way2Bid or Darren Henderson at 888/292-9224.



Electronic Billing
CyberCash provides multiple payment types including credit card, micropayment and Internet check transactions. It provides interactive billing and payment (IBP), the presentment, payment and posting of bills on the Internet.

The lead component of IBP is the PayNow electronic-check service. However, a biller can offer CyberCash's other services, CyberCoin and credit card for payment options to consumers.

IBP is well-suited for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.

Additional information is available by contacting CyberCash at 510/263-4300.



Electronic Stamp
The U.S. Postal Service has licensed E-Stamp Corp. to sell Internet-based postage.

E-Stamp consists of software and a small, highly secure device, called an "electronic vault," which downloads the postage and allows it to be printed by home or business computers.

Customers get and pay for the postage by connecting to E-Stamp's Internet site over a secure network.

Additional information is available by contacting E-Stamp Corp.



Web Order Processing
Miva Order is a Web-based order form and back-end order-processing system that enables businesses to link their existing Web site directly to a complete order-processing system and conduct transactions.

Businesses simply incorporate a link from their Web site where their products or services are sold, permitting customers to seamlessly access the order form and make purchases.

It includes provisions that simplify the process of configuring sales tax, shipping costs and currency formatting.

It is fully customizable and supports five different payment methods including Cardservice International, CyberCash, Cybersource, PaymentNet and simple credit card validation.

Additional information is available by contacting Miva Corp.



Encryption Upgrade
Users of Netscape Communicator can upgrade their browser's encryption from Netscape's Web site .

It allows users to upgrade their browsers from 56-bit to 128-bit encryption, making online shopping online, banking and bill paying safer. Many sites require 128-bit encryption to conduct business over the Web. Upgrading to 128-bit security also allows Netscape communicator users to improve the security of their encrypted mail.

Additional information is available by contacting Netscape Corp.



Voice Transaction
Nuance speech-recognition and voice-authentication solutions allow deployment of speech-enabled applications for customer service and order management.

It includes Nuance's speech-recognition server software, a set of SpeechObjects combined to define the voice user interfaces to packaged applications, and user interface design and tuning services. The Customer Support Suite automates caller/
customer identification, new customer registration, product identification, support-level validation, problem status updates and initial problem determination.

Additional information is available by contacting Nuance at 888/682-6238.



EC Builder
ecBuilder software enables smaller organizations to create, maintain and update a commerce-capable Web site.

It accepts orders using a series of wizard-driven screens that walk the user through the steps to answer inquiries, and provide product and marketing information online.

Visitors to an ecBuilder Web site can purchase multiple items and pay for them with credit cards and other electronic methods.

Over 30 customizable templates provide users with a plethora of design options to choose from. Users can add up to 2,000 catalog items and 100 marketing messages.

It allows organizations to showcase products and services with photos, graphics, animation or sound by supporting 35 file formats, as well as most audio, video or document files on a PC.

Additional information is available by contacting Multiactive Software at 800/804-6299.



Phone Link for Web Site
Web Call Center 2.0 is a Web-based customer-interaction product that allows users to create a Web and phone portal for a variety of customer interactions, such as sales,
customer support, IT help desks or constituent service.
osoft Internet Explorer.

According to the company, one state is in the process of piloting its Medicaid data and processes using SP File and Mail Security.

Additional information is available by contacting Unisys



E-Commerce Integration
With the extraordinary introduction of new technologies, business models and the revising of fundamental intra- and inter-enterprise business processes, application integration has become more diverse and more difficult to manage.

Geneva is an enterprise application-integration tool that gives enterprises, systems integrators and independent vendors the power to access mission-critical data no matter where it resides on corporate enterprise networks. It is suited for Web access and integration, office integration and legacy/package software, e-commerce integration, etc.

According to Greg Lomow, Geneva integrator product manager, "Geneva serves as ... a bridge between your Web server and core-processing system and the core-processing system of your trading partner. It supports customer-to-business and business-to-business e-commerce."

It runs on Windows NT or 2000 and supports XML messaging as a built-in data format and allows other data formats to be converted to XML automatically.

According to the company, Colorado is currently using the software.

Additional information is available by contacting Level 8 Systems Inc. at 919/380-5245.



Payment and Collection
Cardservice International provides all the necessary tools for processing bankcards, ATM/debit cards, travel and entertainment cards, check guarantees and business-to-business authorizations.

In April 1998, Cardservice International announced Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) as another product for new and existing merchants. EBT programs are becoming increasingly popular as states replace benefit checks and paper food coupons with plastic EBT cards. These benefits must be processed through point-of-sale terminals at retail, grocery and convenience stores. Retailers wishing to participate in the EBT program must be equipped with a terminal, printer and PIN pad.

EBT is expanding dramatically. Over half of the states will be operating EBT programs by the end of the year, and projections show that all 50 states will be delivering benefits via EBT programs by Oct. 1, 2002. Programs such as unemployment, government pensions, Medicare, and Medicaid will be added to the card in the future.

Additional information is available by contacting Cardservice International Inc. at 800/456-5902.



Online Payment Processing
CyberSource provides an easy and simple way for sites to accept credit cards or other payment methods. It provides secure payment-processing functionality and direct links to banks and credit-card processors worldwide.

All payment information is transferred from the commerce site to CyberSource using the Simple Commerce Messaging Protocol.

The customer payment information is encrypted to prevent alteration or tampering. Further, the message is authenticated to verify the identity of the partners sending and receiving the payment-processing request.

Each of these measures ensures that payment authorization and settlement are handled with the utmost security.

The software comes in Windows NT or UNIX versions.

Additional information is available by contacting CyberSource Corp. at 408/
556-9100.



Electronic Billing
CheckFree allows users to write a check online, pay bills electronically, receive bills electronically and monitor their own account activity to find out who got paid when.

Additional information is available by contacting CheckFree at 678/375-3000.



Purchasing and Bidding
Way2Bid provides interactive purchasing and biding services over the Web.

Users can generate requests for bid/quote, requests for proposal, terms-boilerplate, bid tabulation spreadsheets, purchase orders and invoices.

Additional information is available by contacting Way2Bid or Darren Henderson at 888/292-9224.



Electronic Billing
CyberCash provides multiple payment types including credit card, micropayment and Internet check transactions. It provides interactive billing and payment (IBP), the presentment, payment and posting of bills on the Internet.

The lead component of IBP is the PayNow electronic-check service. However, a biller can offer CyberCash's other services, CyberCoin and credit card for payment options to consumers.

IBP is well-suited for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.

Additional information is available by contacting CyberCash at 510/263-4300.



Electronic Stamp
The U.S. Postal Service has licensed E-Stamp Corp. to sell Internet-based postage.

E-Stamp consists of software and a small, highly secure device, called an "electronic vault," which downloads the postage and allows it to be printed by home or business computers.

Customers get and pay for the postage by connecting to E-Stamp's Internet site over a secure network.

Additional information is available by contacting E-Stamp Corp.



Web Order Processing
Miva Order is a Web-based order form and back-end order-processing system that enables businesses to link their existing Web site directly to a complete order-processing system and conduct transactions.

Businesses simply incorporate a link from their Web site where their products or services are sold, permitting customers to seamlessly access the order form and make purchases.

It includes provisions that simplify the process of configuring sales tax, shipping costs and currency formatting.

It is fully customizable and supports five different payment methods including Cardservice International, CyberCash, Cybersource, PaymentNet and simple credit card validation.

Additional information is available by contacting Miva Corp.



Encryption Upgrade
Users of Netscape Communicator can upgrade their browser's encryption from Netscape's Web site .

It allows users to upgrade their browsers from 56-bit to 128-bit encryption, making online shopping online, banking and bill paying safer. Many sites require 128-bit encryption to conduct business over the Web. Upgrading to 128-bit security also allows Netscape communicator users to improve the security of their encrypted mail.

Additional information is available by contacting Netscape Corp.



Voice Transaction
Nuance speech-recognition and voice-authentication solutions allow deployment of speech-enabled applications for customer service and order management.

It includes Nuance's speech-recognition server software, a set of SpeechObjects combined to define the voice user interfaces to packaged applications, and user interface design and tuning services. The Customer Support Suite automates caller/
customer identification, new customer registration, product identification, support-level validation, problem status updates and initial problem determination.

Additional information is available by contacting Nuance at 888/682-6238.



EC Builder
ecBuilder software enables smaller organizations to create, maintain and update a commerce-capable Web site.

It accepts orders using a series of wizard-driven screens that walk the user through the steps to answer inquiries, and provide product and marketing information online.

Visitors to an ecBuilder Web site can purchase multiple items and pay for them with credit cards and other electronic methods.

Over 30 customizable templates provide users with a plethora of design options to choose from. Users can add up to 2,000 catalog items and 100 marketing messages.

It allows organizations to showcase products and services with photos, graphics, animation or sound by supporting 35 file formats, as well as most audio, video or document files on a PC.

Additional information is available by contacting Multiactive Software at 800/804-6299.



Phone Link for Web Site
Web Call Center 2.0 is a Web-based customer-interaction product that allows users to create a Web and phone portal for a variety of customer interactions, such as sales,
customer support, IT help desks or constituent service.

Customers can choose to speak to an agent, which initiates a phone-based callback to the customer requesting personal attention.

It can be integrated into existing Web pages using HTML and standard authoring tools, and is compatible with popular browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Additional information is available by contacting Teloquent teloquent.com> at 978/671-5211 or Laura Nelson at 401/438-0614.

Customer Management

E-volve v3.0 offers a fully integrated, Web-based suite that supports
all of a company's e-commerce and
customer-relationship-management processes in a single suite.

It is Java- and XML-based and, according to the company, is compatible with all existing systems platforms.

Additional information is available by contacting e-solutions at 877/438-6583 or Marc Cohen at 770/717-5312.



Creating Networks
SiteMan and SiteMan Storefront allow large organizations to rapidly deploy and maintain centralized control of a distributed network of individual and locally created Web sites.

It is well-suited for companies that need to control the integrity of their brand used by members and affiliates on their Web sites, as well as for vertical portals building communities of independent Web sites, and organizations that want to provide or resell e-commerce site opportunities to their customers, such as financial-services firms, publishers and others.

Additional information is available by contacting kinzan.com at 408/879-7340.



Easy Does it
eXcelon Developer Network (EDN) is a Web-based educational facility and support program designed to help people master XML eBusiness development for applications such as Web e-commerce,
electronic-data interchange, enterprise-application integration and knowledge management.

Users can access educational materials and exchange information on XML development. Resources on the EDN site include code samples, live demos, success stories, free utilities, discussion forums, white papers, job postings and beta software.

Additional information is available by contacting Object Design Inc. at 781/674-5300.