IBM Corp chose the Internet Commerce Expo in Los Angeles yesterday to announce a clutch of upgrades to its internet commerce offerings. As well as the second version of its Cryptolope secure Java component product line. IBM has also revved its Net.Commerce e-commerce package to version 2.0 and split it into three versions aimed at small, medium and large companies, called Net.Commerce Start, Net.Commerce SmoothStart and Net.Commerce Pro respectively. IBM also announced CommercePoint Payments which features electronic wallets, e-Till and electronic cash register; IBM CommercePoint Gateway to link institutions to the internet and IBM registry for Secure Electronic Transaction 1.0 (SET) transactions, which is a server to issue and manage digital certificates. Net.Commerce is based around and includes IBM’s DB2 database, although it also features Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) drivers and is a way of establishing ‘store-fronts’ on the web. The software package supports SET, and features such thing as wizards for building online catalogs, caching of the most recent pages to keep pricing information up to date, online shopping carts and calculation of tax and shipping charges. Net.Commerce Start costs the same as version 1.0, at $5,000. In addition to the wizards, it also features templates in the form of ready-made storefronts for retail and wholesale. SmoothStart features the same software but adds services in the areas of installation, configuration and training. Pricing is not fixed yet, but SmoothStart is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000, according to IBM. The Pro version adds two additional features: merchandising tools to enable customers to find products easier, for instance by asking questions if the customer is not sure what he or she wants and integration into existing environments, such as SAP, JD Edwards and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) environments. Net.Commerce is up on AIX, Windows NT, Solaris, AS/400 and OS/390 mainframes. IBM says it has got 40 pilots of CommercePoint going on around the world – the first version was launched last year when SET was still in its embryonic stage. It says elements such as the e-Till and Gateway, which will be sold to banks and other financial institutions, will be available separately. CommercePoint Payment goes into beta next month, with availability slated for around early December.
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