Introduction to ICE
Syndication is the controlled distribution of information to a set of individuals known as subscribers. Today commercial publishers (magazines, newspapers) have subscribers and syndicate information in print. Other publishers, such as Boeing, National Semiconductor, NewFlyer Bus Company, provide or syndicate information (such as maintenance or operation) to individuals that have subscribed by virtue of purchasing products from the company. ICE was designed to facilitate electronic syndication of either of these kinds of information on the Web.
On-line businesses have syndication problems as well. In order for eCommerce to succeed, there is a need to describe and easy way to establish on-line, networked partnerships. It has previously been custom, fragile, error-prone and expensive. That is why, until ICE, one don't see this as a predominant Web model. ICE was designed to provide a standard model that can be automated to support syndication for everyone. ICE enables both subscriptions and data delivery.
The information distribution model for TheStreet.com, a provider of financial information is often used as an example of how ICE is used to promote eCommerce. At an ICE summit in 1999, Dan Appelquist of TheStreet.com told the audience that TheStreet.com requires a huge investment in custom code required to support its business model. Appelquist predicted that ICE tools would replace custom code over time. This will enable TheStreet to focus on their business model and not on developing enabling technology. ICE promised to lower costs and increase opportunity for the entire eCommerce community. ICE fulfilled its promise.
A standard format for interoperating between business partners is critical. ICE is not a file format, but rather a bi-directional protocol. According to AppleQuist new opportunities created by ICE include:
- new revenue streams from existing content
- lower cost of networked partners,
- expand distribution of information (increased market share, increased revenue)
- ICE lets us create internet Value Networks, not islands of information