STAR Conference to be held at IBEX

CHICAGO – The Marine Association for Technology Exchange Standards, National Marine Manufacturers Association and Assurant Solutions have joined forces to host the annual STAR (Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail) Fall Conference, taking place Oct. 9-11 in Miami in conjunction with the 2007 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference.

MATES is extending an invitation to all marine IT professionals interested in data standards, XML, Web services and emerging technologies to attend the three-day event, organizers reported in a release yesterday.

STAR develops voluntary, multi-industry standards and researches emerging technologies for the benefit of dealers. While STAR is considered the principal IT standards organization for the retail automotive industry, in recent years other vertical industries—including marine, powersports and heavy trucks—have joined the organization to leverage a common schema/database of transactional data standards.

During the conference, STAR leadership will present project updates and special interest group reports, which provides a forum for discussion and discovery of the organization’s work on behalf of its members and their respective industries. A “lessons learned” presentation will be also be delivered by representatives of the recreational marine industry focusing on the Discover Boating Remote Lead Export System, which uses the MATES/STAR format for sales leads originating from the Web site

A third day of special sessions is being held Oct. 11, during which the powersports industry will provide an update on their Partners Standard Protocol. STAR technical staff will provide an in-depth session about a new open source software program debuting at the conference for use in standards development and working with XML, a non-proprietary data format.

“This conference is a unique opportunity to learn first hand about the organizations MATES partners with throughout the year,” says MATES executive director John Warnik. “Marine IT professionals will be impressed by the collection of open source software STAR has assembled for working with the standards and for Web application development.”

STAR’s Board Chair, Eric Purdum of BMW Financial Services, will be the keynote speaker at the IBEX Industry Awards Breakfast on Friday, Oct. 12. Through his address, Purdum will offer insight into the ways BMW has helped build recognition and “lifestyle” perceptions that drive consumers to the brand. In addition, he’ll discuss how incorporating standards has paid dividends for his organization at the dealership level.

For more information about the conference, including free registration for a limited number of attendees on a first come, first serve basis, contact John Warnik at (312) 946-6295;

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