Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail

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Currently some applications run from the OEM's Information Systems servers in the dealerships and some run on central servers accessible through the Internet. It is the vision that all OEM applications will run from central servers located separately from the dealership's site accessible through the Internet using browsers (see Figure 1, “System Migration” ). Legacy applications are currently being rewritten to work within the newer environment (see each OEM's addendum for specific information).

Figure 1. System Migration

System Migration

An external path to the data on the central server is required. Due to the volume of traffic required for dealership applications, the existing link to OEMs using the current satellite technology may not be adequate. Even small dealerships might find the delay of the medium unacceptable. That leads to the need to communicate over a faster and larger medium. The most likely choices include telephone services like a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and a T1.

Data circuits using telephone technology have been used for years in situations where capacity or speed is critical or where the number of sites cannot justify broadcast media such as satellite. Many dealerships use data circuits today to link remote sites with a central office or other dealerships. Though very efficient and reliable, some offerings are expensive. This is especially true if separate circuits are required for individual purposes. Therefore, a key to using a data circuit is to leverage the cost by getting as much reuse as possible.

The growth of e-commerce and customers utilizing the Internet to gather and compare information is driving the need for every dealership to use the Internet on a daily basis. Combining the dealers need to access Internet with the need to exchange data with OEM's is a logical approach to maximize the benefit of the internet.