Yesterday, the Deputy CTO of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a press release highlighting the efforts (and success) of the Obama Administration in getting data compiled at public expense into the hands of the private sector for commercial repurposing. The release refers to a McKinsey & Company report that estimates that making such data publicly available “can generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value in seven key domains of the global economy, including education, transportation, and electricity.”
If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants
Sir Isaac Newton, 1676
If the phrase “open innovation” has a familiar ring, that’s not surprising. It’s not only a popular buzz phrase, but it has the type of virtuous ring to it that instinctively inspires a favorable reaction. But like most simple phrases, it intrigues rather than enlightens. For example, is open innovation feasible in all areas of creative, commercial and scientific endeavor? If so, do the rules, challenges and rewards differ from discipline to discipline, and if it’s not universally feasible, why not?
The big news in the standards arena yesterday was a joint announcement by five of the standards setting organizations (SSOs) that have been most essential to the creation of the Internet and the Web: IEEE, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Internet Architecture Board (IAB), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and Internet Society (the last three being closely affiliated entities).
Joint announcements by SSOs are rare, and the subject matter of this announcement was more so: each organization was joining in the endorsement of a set of five principles that they assert support a “new paradigm for standards” development.
It’s very rare for me to write a blog entry directed solely at what someone else has written, but there’s an exception to every rule. This one is directed at a posting by Alex Brown, entitled UK Open Standards *Sigh*.
The short blog entry begins with Alex bemoaning the hard, cruel life of the selfless engineers that create technical standards:
It can be tough, putting effort into standardization activities – particularly if you're not paid to do it by your employer. The tedious meetings, the jet lag, the bureaucratic friction and the engineering compromises can all eat away at the soul.
The following is the introduction to the Feature Article in the most recent issue of Standards Today, the free "eJournal of News, Ideas and Analysis" that I have been writing for the last seven years. You can read the entire article here, and sign up for a free subscription here.
For more than 100 years, the United States has been the exemplar of the "bottom up" model of standards development. Under this methodology, society relies on the private sector to identify standards-related needs and opportunities in most sectors, and then develops responsive specifications. Government, for its part, retains ultimate control over domains such as health, safety, and environmental protection, but preferentially uses private sector standards in procurement, and also references private sector standards into law when appropriate (e.g., as building codes).
Until recently, government agencies in the United States commonly developed their own standards for procurement purposes. This era of separate but equal standards creation officially came to an end with the passage of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995. With this legislation, Congress directed government agencies to use "voluntary consensus standards" (VCSs) and other private sector specifications wherever practical rather than "government unique standards," and to participate in the development of these standards as well. In 1998, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119 was amended to provide additional guidance to the Federal agencies on complying with the NTTAA.
The pace of technology is wondrous indeed. No corner of our lives seems safe from digital invasion, from picture frames to pasta makers. For years now, we have been threatened with Internet-enabled refrigerators, and perhaps 2011 will see it so.
Nor is the process likely to stop there. Soon, we are told, our homes will become infested by "mesh networks" of sensors, each one whispering information surreptitiously to its neighbor, in order to render our lives more energy efficient. But in so doing, they will observe our every move and report it to heavens knows whom.
On December 8, the U.S. National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) issued a public Request for Information on behalf of the recently formed Sub-Committee on Standards of the National Council of Research and Technology. The titular goal of the RFI is to assist the Sub-Committee in assessing the “Effectiveness of Federal Agency Participation in Standardization in Select Technology Sectors.” Although the publication of the RFI gave rise to not a single article in the press, this event was none the less extremely consequential.
Standards cover an awful lot of ground — how big things are; how much they weigh; how fast they go; how much power they consume; how pure they are; how they must be shaped so that they fit together — the list goes on and on. But despite the enormous range of characteristics that standards define, you notice that they all have one thing in common: you can describe them by using the word "how."
In short, standards relate to measurable things. Indeed, the earliest formal standards created in societies everywhere were usually those related to weights and measures. Invariably these were established when trade became more sophisticated than tribal bartering. Ever since, the history of standards has largely been one of establishing ways to define more and more measurable characteristics as they became important and as the scientific ability to test them came along.
There is, however, one exception to this rule. Curiously enough, it involves a standard that is as old as weights and measures themselves. And despite its ancient lineage, nations still can't agree for very long on what measuring stick should be used, or how it should work. This is rather remarkable, given that the standard in question is perhaps the only one that nearly everyone makes use of almost very day of their lives.
That standard, of course, is money — dollars, Euros, renminbi — each one a measure of value.
The last issue of Standards Today focused on XML - the underpinning of ODF and hundreds of other standards - and one of the most important standards ever developed. Here is the editorial from that issue.
One of the many intriguing concepts mooted by Pierre Tielhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest with polymathic insights (his academic explorations range from paleontology to the meaning of the Cosmos) is the "noosphere." In de Chardin's vision, the reality of the world encompassed not just the geosphere (inanimate matter) and biosphere (all forms of life), but an ever expanding nimbus of knowledge representing the fusion of the minds and knowledge of all humans.
In a short while, an important vote will be taken in downtown Denver, Colorado. If as expected that vote is in the affirmative, a unique and important public-private partnership will spring into being. It will also have an extremely ambitious goal: to assess, assemble, explain and promote the complex and evolving web of standards that will be needed to make the vision of a Smart Grid in the United States a reality. It will also mark the end of the first chapter in a journey that began with the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
What is a Smart Grid, compared to what we have now? Today, we have centralized production of electricity, with distribution of that power being handled by somewhat interconnected, regional networks to commercial and home users. We also have burgeoning green house gas emissions, growing dependence on foreign oil, both as a result of our need to keep increasing our generating capacity in order to meet whatever the peak national electrical need may be.
Quote of the Day
“Through this Notice, NTIA seek s broad input from all interested stakeholders...on the potential benefits and challenges of [the Internet of Things]and what role, if any, the U.S. Government should play in this area”
-National Telecommunications and Information Administration Request for Information
TC260 Increases Standardization Efforts on Data Security Protection USITO.org Weekly May 25, 2016 - On May 12, the National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee (TC260) held the commencement meeting of the Personal Information Security Standard Drafting Working Group in Beijing....The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) Cybersecurity Bureau Director-General, Zhao Zeliang,attended the meeting, and stated that this standards project is designed to implement President Xi's cybersecurity strategy to focus on protecting the people. In addition to personal information security specifications, the Drafting Working Group will also work on personal information protection guidelines. Gao Lin, TC260's Secretary General and Deputy Director-General for the MIIT Information and Software Department, announced that China's personal information protection standards and policies will focus on two aspects:
- Data collection requirements on information service providers and software design (the relevant national standard has already been submitted for approval)
- Big data management
According to Gao, standardization on data security protection needs to find a balance between regulation and industry promotion. Standards will act as a baseline, while upcoming policies in this area will determine how the standards are used and implemented. ...Full Story
SIPO Releases New Patent Guidelines USITO.org Weekly May 23, 2016 - On May 12, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) issued three patent related guidelines: the Guidelines for the Determination of Patent Infringements (for Trial Implementation), the Rules of Evidence on Patent-related Administrative Law Enforcement (for Trial Implementation) and the Guidelines for Administrative Mediation of Patent Disputes (for Trial Implementation). The three documents are combined into a 176 page PDF document, which can be found here. These guidelines will be adopted and enforced by local patent administrative authorities.The guidelines for infringement have two major changes:
1) It deleted the clause about standard-essential patents (SEPs)
2) It deleted the clause about joint infringement
These changes were made to avoid controversy. ...Full Story
Public Comments Sought on Proposed Guidelines Regarding Cybersecurity Information Sharing ANSI.org Weekly News May 20, 2016 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages all members and interested stakeholders to comment on nine recently released Request for Comment (RFC) documents regarding the development of effective voluntary standards and guidelines to foster information sharing on cybersecurity risks and incidents among private-sector entities and the federal government. Reflecting the work of the Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) Standards Organization (SO), the RFCs were developed in response to the White House’s Executive Order 13691, Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing....The development of voluntary standards and guidelines will help companies work together with the federal government to quickly identify and protect against cyber threats. The RFC documents, which span a range of topics represented by the ISAO SO’s six Standards Working Groups (SWGs), are still under development, and ANSI encourages suggestions from stakeholders at this stage.
Comments are due by Friday, June 17, and can be submitted to the ISAO SO via the Draft Products page.... ...Full Story
SES Conference to Spotlight “New Frontiers in Standards and Conformity Assessment” ANSI.org May 19, 2016 - SES-The Society for Standards Professionals has opened registration for its 65th Annual Conference, which will take place August 8-11, 2016, at the Grand Hyatt in Denver. The event may be of particular interest to managers of company standardization programs; people who design standardization programs or apply standards; government agencies applying management and standardization techniques; and organizations trying to improve their standards development process....Attendees will hear from expert panelists and moderators representing government, associations, academia, standards boards, and leading organizations and companies on a number of topics, with headline session topics to include:
- Harmonizations and Conformity Assessment—Challenges and Opportunities
- The Impact of the Legal and Regulatory Environments on Standards and Standardization
- On the Frontier: Standards for Tomorrow
- The Changing Landscape of Standards—Technological and Societal Impacts
- The Invisibility of the Virtual World—My Microwave Is Also My Smart Phone
- Bridging the Gap—Leveraging the Value of New and Seasoned Standards Professionals
- New Frontiers and Strategies with Digital Publishing.
Educational courses will be offered in conjunction with the conference. On Monday, August 8, attendees can register for “Fundamentals of Standards and Conformity Assessment: Basic Knowledge and Tools for Today’s Professional,” [AND]...“Industry Update on Intellectual Property Issues—Birds Eye View and Interactive Workshop"... ...Full Story
European Unified Patent Court goes Open Source Submitted Paolo Vecchi EU Joinup May 18, 2016 - The Unified Patent Court is the institution that will unify the management of patent claims across the member States reducing costs and complexity especially for the smaller patent holders.
To manage the workloads that will derive from managing claims and cases coming from many nations and in many different languages they need a set of tools that are extremely efficient and that can be adapted over time to the changing requirements of the stakeholders....
The team in charge of the project, led by Mark Craddock at Newport's branch of the UK Intellectual Property Office, had to create a brand new web site, Case Management System and a Collaboration platform from the ground up and after having consulted several vendors and suppliers they came to the conclusion that only Open Source based platforms would allow them to complete the difficult task at hand without having to invest a very large budget, depend on vendors proprietary platforms and wait for the long delivery plans dictated by large consulting companies.
The result is that...the UK IPO team has been able to deliver the project earlier than planned and under budget to the Unified Patent Court team.... ...Full Story
Finance industry bodies call for tech-neutral measures to address cyber risk Out-Law.com May 17, 2016 - A group of trade bodies representing businesses from across the financial services sector has called on regulators and standards-setting bodies to ensure that measures they draw up to enhance cybersecurity are technologically neutral.
The bodies have drawn up new international cybersecurity, data and technology principles that they hope the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) will consider when setting "policies and standards regarding cybersecurity, data and technology"....the bodies said. "Policies that require specific technology requirements, detailed technical reviews or other processes by regulators will be reactive to the threat environment and to adversaries that seek to take advantage of vulnerabilities....The best approach for developing technology policies is open and transparent formulation and implementation, which allows stakeholders to provide meaningful input to regulators...." ...Full Story
IEEE Rebooting Computing Initiative Press Release IEEE May 16, 2016 - IEEE today announced the launch of the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS), a new IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Industry Connections (IC) program to be sponsored by the IEEE Rebooting Computing (IEEE RC) Initiative in consultation with the IEEE Computer Society. Together, this group will ensure alignment and consensus across a range of stakeholders to identify trends and develop the roadmap for all of the related technologies in the computer industry.
The IRDS represents the next phase of work that began with the partnership between the IEEE RC Initiative and the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors 2.0 (ITRS 2.0). With the launch of the IRDS program, IEEE is taking the lead in building a comprehensive, end-to-end view of the computing ecosystem, including devices, components, systems, architecture, and software. The Methods of governance, reports, and strategic roadmaps developed by the ITRS and ITRS 2.0 will inform the IRDS within the IEEE-SA IC program.... ...Full Story
TC260 Sets Focus Based on President Xi's Recent Cybersecurity Meeting USITO.org Weekly May 16, 2016 - On May 7, the National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee (TC260) held a symposium in Beijing to study and implement the main components of President Xi's recent speech on China's cybersecurity and informatization development.
At the discussion, TC260 committee members acknowledged that cybersecurity standards are a core component for national competition in cyberspace. Furthermore, the relationship between development and security, open and indigenous innovation and management and service all need to be considered when developing and implementing standards. ...Full Story
The Benefits, Challenges, a nd Potential Roles f or the Government in Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things US National Telecommunications and Information Administration May 13, 2016 - Recognizing the vital importance of the Internet to U.S. innovation, prosper
and cultural life, the Department of Commer
ce has made it a top priority to
encourage growth of the digital economy and ensure that the Internet remains an open platform
for innovation. Thus, as part of the Department’s Digital E
conomy Agenda, the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is initiating an inquiry re
the Internet of Things
(IoT) to review the current technological and policy landscape.
this Notice, NTIA seek
s broad input from all interested stakeholders — including the private
, and civil society
— on the potential benefits and challenges of
these technologies and what role, if any, the U.S. Government should play in this area. After
he comments, the Department intends to issue a “
green paper” that identifies key
issues impacting deployment of these technologies, highlights potential benefits and challenges,
and identifies possible roles for the federal government in fostering the advancement of IoT
technologies in partnership with the private sector.... ...Full Story
Open wireless standards could chop city costs by nearly a third David Curry ReadWrite May 13, 2016 - Choosing open standards could cut costs by 30 percent and promote more cities to utilize IoT, according to Machina Research.
The market intelligence firm predicts that by 2025 smart cities may spend $1.12 trillion on deploying smart tech, but might save up to $341 billion if they use open wireless standards instead of proprietary.
On top of the lowered cost for deployment, Machina also sees 27 percent more connected devices by 2025, if open wireless standards are adopted by smart cities and IoT providers.
Machina makes mention of two open standards, Bluetooth Low Energy and OneM2M, that are available to use without license....The current issue is IoT providers are bundling proprietary wireless tech with their deployment software, instead of utilizing open source alternatives....
230 companies — including AT&T, Samsung, IBM Europe, and Verizon — have backed the OneM2M standard. Even more have backed Bluetooth Low Energy, especially smart home manufacturers.... ...Full Story