COMPUTERIZED COMMUNICATION ADVANCES IN EUROPE

COMPUTERIZED COMMUNICATION ADVANCES IN EUROPE

The web of electronic systems tying the global trading community together grew significantly tighter and the arrival of paperless systems moved closer as the result of steps by leading communications networks.

One of the agreements saw International Network Services establish a full- spectrum electronic link-up with GE Information Services, its U.S.-based parent.INS is regarded as Britain's leading electronic data interchange network. The new tie consolidates the lead of INS and parent company General Electric Information Services as the world's largest EDI network.

At the same time, INS signed a contract with the National Freight Consortium to provide its TRADANET EDI service for manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The National Freight Consortium is Europe's largest road distribution specialist.

EDI is computer-to-computer communication using highly standardized electronic versions of common business documents. These documents are usually either through direct links between large computer systems or by communications networks that specialize in moving EDI-based information. INS and Geis are such networks.

Joining TRADANET will be the NFC Distribution Group, which will use the EDI service to link its 30 depots to head office by this autumn.

NFC Distribution Group, which is Europe's largest distributor to the retail industry, will also use TRADANET to send and receive commercial documents to and from customers.

INS was formed a year ago by Geis and International Computers Limited of Britain to market EDI services in the United Kingdom. Its international link- up with GE Information Services will bring together some 600 U.K. customers with more than 2,500 users worldwide.

EDI's documents do more than convey information. They can be used to track shipments, pay bills and send invoices. Looking to exploit this capability, INS plans to link-up with the Bankers Automated Clearing Service, Britain's largest EDI community, to provide an electronic payment service called BACSNET.

This agreement was also announced Thursday.