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April 13, 1992


By CBR Staff Writer

A managed global network service claimed to be the largest in the world – it has links to 187 countries – has been announced by a new subsidiary of SITA, the Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques. SITA was set up in 1949 as a non-profit-making co-operative providing communications services to the airline industry, and it has established a subsidiary company called Scitor, based in Hemel Hempstead, to provide commercial services over its network. The new outfit will offer a range of Virtual Private Network services including X25, standard modem connections up to V.32, and SNA/SDLC. Service facilities on these include network management, remote network monitoring, trouble ticket management, dial back-up, public and private gateways and encryption. In addition, the company will offer a range of messaging services: Sitatex is the electronic messaging service used by SITA members, and will now be offered as a commercial service to aviation industry suppliers, enabling them to establish direct communications with customers for electronic mail and file transfer. Similarly, Skyform – SITA’s personal computer-based electronic data interchange service for the aviation industry – will now also be offered to other companies in related sectors. It conforms to the industry’s SPEC 2000 international standard used to exchange procurement information, and provides operational features including review, editing and transmission of messages from a queue, system maintenance, configuration maintenance and message management. Also, the company is preparing X400 services supporting Electronic Data Interchange, electronic mail and Mail Enabled Applications. They will have gateways to other industry networks, local area network-based mail systems and open and closed messaging communities. There are few details on the exact form these services will take, but the company is known to be talking to software developers and suppliers. Although the company is promoting the high number of links it can offer, the coverage it can give is not as wide as is theoretically possible. According to a spokesman, Scitor will not be able to offer its services in all countries where it has links because of regulatory restrictions. While SITA has been granted discretionary approval in many countries for its non-profit making service, this does not extend to the new commercial Scitor offerings. Scitor’s background dates back to 1972 when SITA created the International Telecommunications Services group of companies to provide value added services both to SITA members and other markets. In 1989, International Telecommunications Services BV was created to provide total network services to markets outside the air transport industry and this company became Scitor on April 1. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SITA, profits from which will be passed back to the parent to reduce membership charges. It has already signed up customers including Hilton International, Accor and Budget Rent A Car.

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