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Does JSON have a role in ACORD Standards?

Setting standards for exchanging data in the insurance industry is an ACORD fundamental. Initially, data was exchanged via standardized paper ACORD forms; as technology matured, ACORD moved into AL3 exchanging data with EDI standards. XML, which could be expanded and used to transmit more granular data in different formats and types, was introduced next, and remains the communication of choice in server-to-server messages today.

Transformation in the world of data exchange continues to evolve, and JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) has emerged as a potential lightweight alternative to XML. Compared to XML, JSON is easier to load, read and manipulate; it provides an object in a simple concise package, as opposed to large XML file. JSON is structured and can have different variable types, such as numbers, arrays, Booleans, dates and strings.   With JSON, data is stored in the same structure as you would store data in your programming language.  

As ACORD members leverage new technology at a faster pace to expose their applications to mobile phones, watches and telematics devices, new operating systems, cloud services and many smaller transactions, the advocacy for JSON becomes more prevalent. 

Is JSON here for the long haul? Is it a replacement for XML, or simply an alternative method of communication? Should ACORD consider a JSON specification? To further engage with ACORD and your colleagues in a discussion on JSON and other strategies for developing and implementing ACORD Standards, please join us at ACORD2015 November 2-4th in Boca Raton, Florida for a session on “Standards of the Future: Tomorrow’s Technology Yesterday.”