Hitachi unveils broad e-commerce systems

Hitachi early next year will begin shipping a line-up of software for building electronic commerce applications.

Hitachi early next year will begin shipping a line-up of software for building electronic commerce applications that use RSA Data Security's strong encryption, company officials say.

Shipping in Japan in February 1997, the Hitachi Commerce Solutions set will eventually be sold outside of Japan but specific plans have not been set, the officials say. The products are designed for any organisation that needs a secure means for conducting transactions over the Internet, officials say. Potential customers include distributors, banks and manufacturers using the system for electronic data interchange.

Available for the Windows operating system and HP-UX, the Hitachi Commerce Solutions are comprised of different combinations of software applications that can be used to build systems for setting up online shopping malls, conducting online shopping and settling payments securely, they say.

Two of the applications include a "mall server", for establishing an online store, and a store manager, which enables users to update product information through a graphical user interface. Other pieces to the set include a payment server, payment gateway and an authentication server, they say.

The set uses a combination of RSA's 1024 and 2048 public key encryption and the 56-bit Digital Encryption Standard symmetric private key encryption. Though the export from the US of RSA's strong encryption is not allowed under US law, Hitachi obtained a licence for the technology from RSA's Japan unit, officials say.

Pricing for the combinations depends upon the operating system, but pricing examples given for Windows NT 3.51 range from US$7800 to about US$12,000.

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