StandICT and the independent experts in standardization

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19 Dec

StandICT and the independent experts in standardization

There is a gentle buzz of active conversation at coffee time in the reception hall at ETSI, interspersed with hearty laughter. Experts in all subjects have gathered for a wide range of discussions. In small meeting rooms with great formality, they discuss the order of the day, but, over coffee, they share history and experience, present difficulties and future promises. This is where you find your support for a new standard, where you learn what is worrying people and where you make real progress! has made a bold move in choosing to support individuals and micro SMEs in standardisation. Already it has made a difference. With financial support, comes the possibility of an agreed program of meetings. With this comes events that drive the process of creating new standards. From concept to adoption, creating a standard can take five years - and that’s when the market is behind it. Technology is changing much faster. It was estimated recently that new core technology is coming to the market every 18 months. This is also complicated by the fact that many people in the industry are changing their job/department frequently.

Independent experts need the security of modest, external financing to guarantee their long-term participation and to facilitate their ability to attend meetings and create events.

Standardisation experts are individuals. There is no set template for their experience or knowledge. Many are employed by the major companies who understand that setting a standard can make or break the market entry of a new product. These experts are likely to be well funded by their employers and have confidence which gives them strength in the debate. They are unlikely to be visitors to But in return for knowing where they stand, they are inevitably bound by certain restrictions of their company’s business model. 

The financing is empowering a group of experts who first and foremost are working in standards because they believe in the value and importance of them. They are certainly not there for the money!  Financed usually by ad hoc consultation, they may well have 20 years of industry experience and they come to the SDO with the conviction of their beliefs, the strength of their practical knowledge and experience to support it. No mavericks or crazies, these are people who often hold strong views and are capable of passionately defending their approach. When decisions are taken by consensus, they offer a powerful ‘check and balance’ on the new technologies developed by large companies.

There is a camaraderie amongst standardization experts which is very helpful to the new entrant and established chairman alike. There are not many women but this is not because we are not welcome but rather a sad reflection on the state of industry 20 years ago. We hold many internet-based meetings. These are an efficient way of managing text drafting and plenary sessions. But they never give the return and support engendered by those gentle coffee sessions when we meet face to face. To do this we have to travel. Again, this is no holiday! I have met board members who take the bus from the airport. But well worth the effort! has supported a modest but important aspect of the standardization process which will bring about positive results for the future.


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