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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

BT Ignite, the services and solutions business of BT Group Plc, aims to be one of the first vendors outside of the software sector to offer commercial web services, and plans to launch a managed web services offering in January 2003.

Some newly announced tie-ups with Microsoft Corp and Flamenco Networks Inc, as well as the creation of a component library of reusable third-party software components, and a proposed managed web services deployment scheme, will see BT Ignite initially target key BT customers that wish to design and deploy low-risk web services.

As its first alliance partner for web services, BT will work closely with Microsoft to develop a .NET web services deployment schema suitable for both commercial and internal web services. Similar joint initiatives are expected with the likes of Sun Microsystems, BEA and IBM.

Pivotal to this first offering is the development of an application component library, known as WSACL (for Web Services Application Component Library), designed to channel rapid access to a directory of reusable components. One example of component types held in the library include a system for anti-credit card fraud made up of an SMS gateway, a customer profiling tool, and a facility that enables users to update their own records via the web. Together these three elements will identify unusual spending patterns and verify with the credit card holder whether the payment is genuine.

To underpin the web services offering, BT has licensed a management layer called Web Services Management Layer (WSML) from Alpharetta, Georgia-based web services networking software vendor, Flamenco Networks. Its software will handle all aspects of web services security, control and performance. A deployment layer could be based around either Microsoft .NET or Sun's J2EE, using BT's Web Services Deployment Environment (WSDE) as a managed, hosted service first to pilot and then to run proposed web services.

BT claims to have tested its proposal for web services internally in applications that allow online checking of the availability of BT broadband services, as well as various BT order repair and status checking programs.

© ComputerWire

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