General Electric’s Geisco computer services unit and ICL have finally announced formation of their joint electronic data interchange company, with it, news that they have beaten IBM to two three-month pilot contracts, with the Lloyds Insurance Broking Committee, LIBC, and with the Corporation of Lloyds in the City for an electronic insurance service. The new International Network Services Ltd, INS, based in Feltham Middlesex, is 60%-owned by ICL and 40%-owned by Geisco. Lloyds, a steadfast IBM equipment user, and the LIBC, have already conducted trials with IBM to automate the settlement data which is passed around the City each week on magnetic tape. But the trial with IBM evidently failed and INS is hopeful of getting the business in place of IBM, which is the hardware supplier at five of the six sites in the trial. INS is calling the pilot service Limenet, for London Insurance Market Electronic Network, and hopes it will become the first new service to be jointly developed by ICL and Geisco. INS aims to be a UKP50m company by the early 1990s, growing at between 20% and 50% per annum. Geisco and ICL will complete physical interconnection of their two networks by the end of 1987 and the main focus of the year will be to integrate Geisco’s EDI Express service with ICL’s Tradanet service to form International Tradanet. Both Geisco and Mercury Communications lines will be used to carry traffic within the UK and Geisco’s leased lines will be used outside the UK.
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