KeyTrust is sitting on a sleeping giant since its appointment as managed security services provider for the Australian Automobile Network Exchange (AANX) and is inviting other channel players to get a piece of the action.
Driven by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry, the AANX is an IP-based extranet that supplies interconnectivity via the Internet and leased lines to Australian automotive industry players. The network currently links four vehicle manufacturers - Ford, Holden, Toyota and Mitsubishi - to their respective suppliers, and will eventually connect to individual car dealerships.
All connections between the trading partners are based on virtual private networks (VPNs), while encryption and security are used to provide confidentiality, integrity, authentication and non-repudiation of data.
KeyTrust has been charged with managing security services and operational risk for the AANX from its data centre in Melbourne. CEO Charles Greatrex said the potential opportunities are enormous for KeyTrust, particularly once the network starts connecting dealers and is eventually linked up with similar networks currently used overseas.
KeyTrust is inviting resellers and integrators with a number of years of security and networking experience to resell the network as an end-to-end service, which includes connectivity, security, installation and customer services.
Greatrex said partners would primarily be charged with providing billing and front-line helpdesk services and some installation services.
"The AANX is the hottest thing happening in the industry at the moment. We're looking at signing up channel partners with substantial experience in digital certificate generation and management, who are compliant with Federal Government requirements (i.e. Gatekeeper), have competencies in client and site-level VPN techniques, and own management monitoring tools and infrastructure."
The AANX initiative commenced in Australia in August 1999, and is modelled on similar networks operating in the US, Europe, Japan and Korea.
According to AANX business development manager Klaus Jahn, initial uptake of the network has been predictably slow in Australia. In the US, it took four years before the automotive industry embraced the Automobile Network Exchange. He said that while the US program was initially criticised by the press, it has now been widely applauded, with at least 1,400 automotive companies now connected to the network.
Greatrex said he has seen a marked increase in the number of companies joining the network over the last six months and is reaping the benefits. "The pick-up in this market has been incredible lately. Most of the tier-one and tier-two automotive suppliers have been signed up, so our next target is the dealer network."
However, Jahn said that AANX representatives are still looking to appoint more automotive suppliers before extending the network to dealers.
The AANX network infrastructure is supplied by Equant and AAPT subsidiary Connect Internet Solutions and currently links trading partners in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.