The UMA Standards
Marketplace grows out of work beginning in 1997, organized by CommerceNet,
Bizbots, and other organizations committed to open standards for electronic
commerce. It was subsequently funded by an Advanced Technology Grant from
the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The Universal Marketplace can be described as a domain-specific open
agent communication meta-architecture. The framework proposes to provide
an open environment for self-interested commerce agents to participate
at market, using both technologies that are currently available and currently
under development. Thus, we have attempted to build extensibility into
the architecture so that new protocols can be accommodated as they arise.
Our goal is not to lead the invention of new languages and methods of
agent interaction, but rather to enable advanced forms of more profitable
The key is
that through an electronic medium changes to a business
can be made dynamically. For example, real-time stock levels can achieve
just-in-time inventory management. This helps a company to optimize the
return that it anticipates through the pursuit of the business model.
Furthermore, the inter-connection capabilities of the Internet can create
an exponential number of cross-selling opportunities. In general, the
reach. Larger potential customer base. Retailers that embrace
the web enjoy the potential of selling to an ever-growing community
of well-informed shoppers. Geographic boundaries become less relevant
and operating hours are limited only behind the hardware and software
that runs the web site.
revenue. The web opens up significant and new sales and distribution
channels. Merchants can leverage a tremendous geographical coverage
and sheer volume of web users to establish a global marketplace at a
very, very low cost.
savings. Electronic commerce makes it possible for merchants
to drastically reduce the costs associated with holding large physical
inventories. Some businesses on the Internet today hold no inventory
at all, but instead offer a range of products from several manufacturers
and link their order entry systems to the manufacturers' systems for
relationships are improved. Online commerce enables merchants
to form interactive personal relationships with customers. The Internet
can save time and money and improve order accuracy by eliminating the
intermediaries in the business chain between the buyer and seller.
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