April 18, 2002, Stockholm, Sweden

The OBI (Open Buying on the Internet) standard was created 1996 but have in its original form so far only been moderately successful.  A part of the problem has been limited interoperability, an OBI-specific client security-solution, as well as a lack of extensibility.

Therefore late 2001, an effort was initiated, set to move OBI into the 21st century, by "cloning" the simple, but yet brilliant (and much copied) OBI-method of transferring business data between the buying and selling sites through the user's browser, with the emerging Web Services standards.  The enhanced OBI standard has been renamed to OBI Express, as it is more than just a revision, it is rather a total redesign.

A novel feature of OBI Express, called "Web Services Discovery", only requires a single URL to find out and exploit the e-commerce capabilities of a business partner.  This eliminates the reliance on external e-services currently only in pilot stage like UDDI or ebXML-registries, as a company's "e-commerce URL" can equally well be published on their home-page, be sent with e-mail, be printed on paper, or even be given over the phone.

By the addition of other key-technologies like XML-schemas and XML-signatures, as well as authentication techniques similar to OASIS's SAML, OBI Express easily and securely allow business parties to "connect" in a truly many-to-many, plug-and-play fashion.

To facilitate completely distributed user-administration, as well as not imposing particular requirements on client-security solutions, OBI Express was designed from the ground-up using organization-level, server-based PKI.

Fully exploring the seller-centric OBI model, OBI Express enables ordering of customized products of any complexity like computers and airline tickets, without requiring purchasing systems, to actually "understand" these.

The net effect of those enhancements, makes OBI Express suited also for extremely cost-sensitive ASP-operations like Internet-banks, where the current payment functionality can be augmented with a "purchasing account", making true B2B-purchasing (Sign-on, Orders, Invoices, Quotes etc.) within reach for companies of any size.

Although in an early stage, major Nordic banks are currently evaluating OBI Express as an add-on service for their SME-customers.

A public Proof-of-Concept system is currently available for evaluation
at URL https://buyer.x-obi.com/BuyerASP/buyer

Anders Rundgren
OBI Express project manager
+46 70 - 627 74 37

Trademarks: OBI and OBI Express are trademarks of CommerceNet