Martindale Empowerment has developed a technology called IndustryNetTV, a toolkit for developing industry specific extranets, which process re-engineer the supply chain management and standard business procedures of an industry, saving time, cost, and providing a better quality service or product to the consumer. By utilizing state of the art graphic interfaces which are intuitive to each type of end user, standard off the shelf components, which are tried and tested, and IndustryNet.TV’s revolutionary extranet GUI builder, which enables industry extranets to be built in less than half the time and cost (typically cost 1.5 to 15 million), IndustryNet.TV is able to create industry specific extranets which share the cost of technology across a wide group of people, and allow them to build upon each other’s efforts, rather than re-inventing the wheel.

One project MEC is working on is MortgageNet.TV. The main feature of the system is the ability to provide mortgage loan closings in about a day, sometimes even an hour. Currently loans typically take 2 – 3 weeks to close. This capability would lower the cost per loan to the mortgage company, give them a competitive advantage, facilitate impulse sales, and increase the amount of loans that mortgage personnel could close, increasing the profitability of the mortgage company. In addition, each of those involved in the supply chain would be able to do their job easier, cheaper, faster, better quality service, and reduce “headaches” they would love to have solved (appraiser, title company, lawyer, investor). In 1993, Steve Martindale developed a loan approval process for the mortgage industry, while consulting for the 2nd largest mortgage company in the country, which reduced the approval process from 3 weeks to 15 minutes, which became standard in the industry within a year. At that time, the process wasn’t licensed by Mr. Martindale. In 1993, the closing process couldn’t be reduced due to those in the supply chain (1) utilizing different proprietary systems, (2) without a common user interface and (3) centralization of data, and appraisers not computerized at all. With the advent of the internet providing a common interface, new infrastructure facilitating centralization of data, and an invention by IndustryNet that allows appraisers to enter their data by a wireless computing device, this process can be reduced dramatically.

The Business Model: Each industry extranet will utilize a subscription ASP model, which enables a low cost of entry for the client, reduces liability and overhead, lowers the cost of operation, and the cost of technology is shared by many. The monthly fee will save the client money in their existing budget through overhead savings, and lowering the cost per loan. The monthly fee for MortgageNet will be $1500 per branch per month, $100 per person using the system. Appraisers, Title Companies, lawyers, investors, and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac will use the syste for free. Appraisers will pay a monthly lease of $99/mo. for the palm computer and operating system unique to our system, similar to merchant account swipe systems. There will be a charge for installation, deployment, training, and customization. The highest level of fingerprinting security will be available as an additional fee. Sales of internet services, computer network systems will also be available. Advertising will also be utilized in the video component of the system using video streaming and flash presentations. Training can also be delivered in this manner.

Projects: Until we build an industry-wide extranet, we will utilize this technology to build extranet applications for fixed price contracts. We can build multi-tier web enabled applications in half the time and at less cost than most competitors, which enable us to be very competitive.

System Architecture

The Industry Net System Builder architecture has several key components:

 Database System - Our database system works with all existing databases, but we have focused on Oracle, since it is the most widely used and proven. Oracle can be replicated and scaled to any necessary level, and that work can be outsourced and fine-tuned as needed, so it will not delay the development of a new system.

 Server Systems – Our application servers are built using Java, JDBC, XML, XSLT, JSP, and Java Servlets. The use of Java and other standards allows us to pick and choose the best server hardware available to run our systems. We are completely platform independent, allowing us the flexibility to make use of any hardware advantages that are available now, or in the future.

 Client Systems - Flash 5, HTML, DHTML, XML, XSLT, Java Swing. Our preferred mechanism for delivering User interfaces to the client is through a web browser through any or all of the above technologies. Java Swing is used when a web browser is not suitable. The use of XML as our transportation mechanism allows multiple Interfaces and technologies to be used with the same backend. Using existing Internet protocols allows us to take advantage of existing security mechanisms and systems without having to implement a custom solution.

The overall system works by allowing each individual server machine to run one or more server systems. Synchronization of multiple server systems is achieved by using a single centralized database system. Client systems can then be routed in a number of ways to the server systems. Since Oracle can be replicated and made to be extremely fault tolerant, all of the server systems are exact redundant copies of one another, and there is no single point of failure. If one or more server machines go offline, recovery is immediate and transparent since all synchronization is taken care of by Oracle.

Development Cycles

Our robust database API eliminates tedious coding such as connection pooling and other typical JDBC related tasks. Connecting to a database is as simple as configuring 1 text file. Once connected, you only need to create your application specific queries. Database queries and results have been wrapped by simplified interfaces, including XML conversion and a number of other facilities to reduce development time.

The use of XML as the data transport mechanism allows immediate parallel development by creating an initial set of test XML documents. The front-end developers work from the test data to create the user interfaces, and the back-end developers create databases and server systems to build the test data. In many traditional development cycles front-end development can only begin once significant back-end development is complete.

Another benefit of the use of industry standards is the ability to utilize the many productivity tools on the market available now and in the coming months. Productivity tools are being released every week, and as better tools are releases we will be able to use them to accomplish our goals sooner.

Many task specific processes have been developed as well. In one of our first projects, we developed a proprietary Graphical User Interface (GUI) development process using very simple text files to define complex functional Java GUIs. This approach lets us quickly train low cost workers to develop functional applications directly from artist mockups of the system, allowing the more expensive developers to spend their time more efficiently.

For the database system, once the database has been designed and built, all that needs to be developed are the database queries. Normally weeks or months of development must take place to get to a point that the queries can start being used. We eliminate that startup time with reusable code written and tuned over multiple projects and years. The queries are defined in the initial process engineering and database design phases, making implementation of the functional database system extremely fast and efficient.

With all the existing code and processes we can use almost all of the development cycle creating new and application specific systems. We can quickly and frequently show working portions of the application to the clients for approval. Being able to show clients actual working parts of the system is extremely beneficial on a number of levels. Developers benefit from client feedback and are able to more closely match clients expectations. Clients aren’t forced to wait months before seeing anything. Everyone benefits by having a concrete system to look at instead of just graphs and design documents.