The Power of Collaboration

Posted on September 13th, 2012

By Russ Housley, Internet Engineering Task Force chair, and Steve Mills, IEEE Standards Association president

One of the hallmarks of the OpenStand principles is respectful cooperation among standards organizations, whereby each organization respects the autonomy, integrity, processes and intellectual property rules of the others, and the reason is simple: There is no value—for companies, for customers or for governments—in one standards organization performing additional processing on a high-quality standard from another. In fact, it can prove harmful to the original standard’s technical merit. Coordination and collaboration among standards organizations eliminates duplicated effort (and associated overhead of process that is ultimately shouldered by industry) and helps make the international standards landscape less complex and costly for all stakeholders.

In the modern paradigm of global, open standards that is defined by the OpenStand principles and that is taking root in varied technology spaces and industries, coordination and collaboration occurs across whatever traditional geographic and organizational boundary necessary to achieve the market’s needs.

Such coordination and collaboration are evidenced in the OpenStand movement itself, in fact. IEEE, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Society and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on 29 August 2012 announced that they have signed a statement affirming the importance of the jointly developed OpenStand principles, which are based on the effective and efficient standardization processes that have made the Internet and Web the premiere platforms for innovation and borderless commerce. Now fellow standards organizations, as well as governments and individual companies, are invited to join with these organizations at open-stand.org and support the principles.

Beyond cooperation among standards organizations, participation in the OpenStand modern standards paradigm requires:

  • adherence to fundamental principles of due process, broad consensus, transparency, balance and openness in standards development;
  • commitment by affirming standards organizations and their participants to collective empowerment by striving for standards that are chosen and defined based on technical merit, provide global interoperability, scalability, stability and resiliency; enable global competition; serve as building blocks for further innovation, and contribute to the creation of global communities that benefit humanity.
  • availability of standards specifications to all for implementation and deployment; and
  • voluntary adoption of standards, with success being determined by the market.

The Internet has provided the world with valuable lessons in terms of how to quickly yield standards that can be adopted broadly across geographic regions … standards that lower barriers to market entry and foster global competition … standards that support the rollout of sound and interoperable products to flexibly address business needs … standards that can keep up with the world’s rapid technological advances and safety, quality and interoperability demands. The organizations responsible for these standards, through their constituents, were and are driven by the momentum of the market to innovate and provide products for global consumers.

Informed precisely by the lessons learned through the Internet’s effective and efficient standardization processes, the OpenStand principles foster the borderless, modern paradigm for global, open standards that the world of borderless commerce requires. They convey the power of bottom-up collaboration in harnessing global creativity and expertise to the standards of any technology space that will underpin the modern economy moving forward.

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