Application Performance Management 

General Mayhem & Crysisler

GM and Chrysler, combined, will be closing about 3000 dealerships across the U.S., leaving many out of work, and hurting local economies across the country.

GM and Chrysler, combined, will be closing about 3000 dealerships across the U.S., leaving many out of work, and hurting local economies across the country.

On the bright side, however, this is a strange opportunity for networking companies. See, car dealerships and the car companies they franchised with, were some of the earliest adopters of electronic data interchange (EDI) networks; the idea being to connect a large number of automobile dealers and lenders. The EDI systems provided an alternative to paper documents, meetings, faxes, etc., which is one of the major reasons that you can walk into a dealership today and drive off the lot with a new car, instead of waiting a few days for the paperwork to clear. But it also meant that car companies could have dealers select cars to order, and have the network apps automatically order parts for building the car from suppliers, issue instructions on how to assemble the car, invoice the dealer, and pay suppliers. Enterprise IT networks, therefore, are a major priority for many if not most dealerships.

So my question is – what’s going to happen to all the networks running to car dealerships? Some dealerships will rebrand, in which case they’ll probably keep the capacity but route it to the new affiliate, but others, who either close up shop, sell to a non-dealership, or go the used car route. This seems to me to be an interesting, under-tapped networking resource.

Because – and let’s be frank here – there are an awful lot of car dealerships in America, and 3000 car dealerships is 60 dealerships per state. Granted, it’s highly unlikely that the closing car dealerships will be uniformly distributed geographically, but anyone looking at starting up municipal broadband – or even a for-profit Mom & Pop broadband shop – might want to take a look and see if there’s a closing car dealership in the area.

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