Information Technology

Gartner Glossary

Digital Dial Tone

A Gartner term describing the combination of XML and Internet transport protocols — such as HTTP, SMTP and FTP — to create a ubiquitous capability to exchange structured information. The metaphor relies on the contrast between previous business to business (B2B) message exchanges — such as electronic data exchange (EDI) using X12, EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transportation (EDIFACT) and various vertical-industry-specific standards — and the unstructured communications media of telephone and fax. The former required considerable investment and the interposition of a private network — or substantial bilateral negotiation — to achieve interoperability, while the latter are ubiquitous and broadly interoperable. With the Internet and ubiquitous software to implement Internet transport protocols, business partners can reduce the cost, delay and risk of implementing B2B messaging.

Internet transport protocols by themselves do not constitute a complete digital-dial-tone solution. For secure application messaging to occur over the Internet, communicating systems must be programmed to additional specifications in key areas such as security, routing and access control. Ubiquity will not be achieved until integration products agree on standards for meeting these requirements.

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