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XML—Lingua Franca of Energy Commerce

A case study from Maryland on electric restructuring.
Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 2001
  • to implement incompatible variations.
  • The format of the EDI message requires the use of prescribed data elements, like "LIN", that are more machine friendly than people friendly.

Why has XML overtaken EDI to become the preferred language for commerce over the Internet?

  • XML supports complex data structures used by business in commerce.
  • An ever-growing list of products are XML-enabled.
  • XML is popular with Web developers and interfaces neatly with the Internet.

The consensus among industry executives, analysts, vendors and others is that the use of EDI will not disappear, but neither will it grow. What will happen is that as collaborative communities form around highly efficient and accurate shared business processes, commerce will continue to migrate onto the Internet. XML therefore will increasingly solidify its place as the dominant data format standard-the of energy commerce.

The Players
Organizations and Groups Promoting XML Standards

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential as a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding. The W3C defines the specification of XML as a tool to facilitate commerce over the Web.

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) is a non-profit, international consortium that creates interoperable industry specifications based on public standards such as XML and SGML, as well as others that are related to structured information processing.

The Utility Industry Group Inc. (UIG) is a voluntary, not-for-profit, industry action group dedicated to the advancement of EC, EDI, and electronic business processes within the utility industry. UIG has formed a working group for the development of XML-based standards for retail energy.

The Gas Industry Standards Board (GISB) serves as an industry forum for the development and promotion of standards leading to a seamless marketplace for natural gas, as recognized by its customers, business community, participants, and regulatory entities. GISB has formed a task force for the development of XML-based standards for wholesale gas.

Energy Trading Standards Group (ETSG) , an industry consortium that will develop standards to automate the sale of wholesale energy and improve information sharing between energy trading companies.

XML-PIPE.ORG is a member-sponsored organization established to further the development and acceptance of XML in the energy industry. To date, XML-PIPE.ORG has released standards for XML based transactions serving the retail energy industry.


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