In an era of unprecedented global economic growth and technological advancement, it’s In hard to understand why mobile and online payment systems seem limited and cumbersome – especially with regard to global, person-to-person transactions,

The majority of global e-commerce transactions today rely on time-tested Visa and Mastercard networks to get the job done. However, when it comes to person-to-person transactions, there are fewer options for secure online payments, especially in developing nations. This need for such payment systems has led to the growth of new online and mobile payment networks, many of which are not tied to legacy banking systems.

Some of the more innovative systems are spinning out of developing nations that are seeing exponential growth in mobile adoption due to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) expansion, like Africa. In this post, Jeremy Malcolm cites the M-PESA system as one of the early success stories for mobile transactions. The M-PESA system was birthed in Kenya, but has today been replicated in a dozen countries around the world. It allows payments to be exchanged using simple SMS messaging, even from simple-feature phones that remain the most ubiquitous communications platform in Africa today.

Google Wallet offers a similar experience for smartphone users in the United States, using NFC (near-field communication) technology. Although innovations like PayPal, M-PESA and Google Wallet have made great strides in facilitating Internet and mobile transactions around the world, there are still challenges to overcome.

“PayPal and Google Wallet are still linked with legacy banking networks, and generally still require users to have a bank or credit account, which many consumers, especially from the developing world, don’t have,” said Malcom, “Whilst M-PESA and the like don’t require that, they are still closed systems – access to the M-PESA network is only available through one mobile phone provider, and if you want to make a payment overseas, you are out of luck.”

This is where the development of new, open standards for online and mobile banking may play an important role. As we pave the way to the future, open standards can help establish a set of interoperable service protocols to enable global, mobile commerce through mobile networks and email programs. These protocols could make it possible for individuals to quickly and efficiently conduct financial transactions, regardless of geographic location.

The Web Payments Community Group at the W3C has taken on the challenge of addressing such standards. Manu Sporny, the chair of the current Web Payments Group, predicts that the development of new interoperable service protocols for financial transactions will be taken up as an official global standardization project by the W3C after the March Web Payments workshop in Paris. The Web Payments Community Group is creating a set of universal payment technologies to make sending and receiving money over the Web as easy as sending an email. These technologies include: product descriptions, transactions, receipts, verifying the identity of sellers, security and APIs.

Perhaps most importantly, says Malcom “ standardized online payments won’t require you to use a single intermediary such as Paypal, or indeed a cartel of intermediaries such as the Visa or Mastercard networks,” Instead, he continues, “The standards would allow you to use any funding source, and any currency – including virtual or crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.”

The potential of new, open standards to redefine the future of commerce and business is amazing – and open, global participation will be key. We hope you will join OpenStand as an advocate for the creation open standards of tomorrow. Please show your support today by signing your name on our Stand With Us page or adding a Site Badge to your website!

Image: opensource.com
Image: opensource.com

On their own, open source development and open standards are beneficial to business and industry. Open source code and development practices provide developers greater latitude for collaborative development that fuels innovation and growth. Open standards serve as the foundational building blocks for products, helping streamline product development and ensure product improvement in the areas of efficiency, safety, performance, interoperability, and more. Put open source and open standards together, and the results can be game-changing.

When open source code and open standards are used in conjunction, however, “some serious business magic” happens, according to Tesora blogger Ron Miller. Miller uses the open source cloud platform OpenStack, as an example to prove this point.

“While there isn’t a standards body per se, OpenStack.org is working actively to implement a standard set of procedures for communicating with the various levels of the cloud stack.” says Mille, who asserts that by putting new standards together to make the various parts of the cloud stack interoperable, it becomes even more powerful. “That’s precisely what the OpenStack community is trying to do” Miller said.

OpenStack’s software controls large pools of computer, storage and networking resources within a data center, managed via dashboard that provides administrator control while allowing developers to instantly provision resources through API or Web interface. So far, this is working well, as over 1,200 companies have joined the OpenStack Foundation expressing a commitment to support the open-source cloud platform.

Tesora is one such supporter that is collaborating with and contributing to one of OpenStack’s latest projects called “Trove.” The mission of Trove is to deliver an enterprise-class database as a service platform. The Trove project takes advantage of the shared services, computer, networking and storage found within OpenStack, so that users can provision database as a service in their environment.

“The combination of standards and open source can drive a project and help create open and interoperable systems” said Miller. “…for a business, you can’t get much more flexible than that.”

If you support open development, open standards and the open internet, aligned to the Principles of OpenStand, we hope you’ll Stand With Us and help keep the future open.

We are approaching the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. Over the past decades, the Internet has become much more powerful, interactive and intertwined with our lives, and there are now billions of people connected to the internet. However, in many countries the Internet access is tightly controlled and monitored. It is also estimated that over 40 percent of the world’s population still lack access.

In this emerging era, fundamentally new questions about the Web are being asked and answered. Are Internet rights becoming human rights? And if so, how far do those rights extend?

In 2012, The UN Council on Human Rights adopted a resolution to protect the freedom of speech of individuals on the Internet. With that resolution, the UN acknowledged that Internet rights are tightly entwined with human rights.

Currently, The Council on Human Rights is working on putting together a report identifying the challenges that lie ahead in the fight for human rights. Web inventor, Tim Berners-Lee addressed the Council at a recent 2013 Human Rights Day event on Building a World Wide Human Rights Web. Here’s what Tim had to say:

 

Mr. Berners-Lee identified three rights that he believes are essential to the Internet:

  1. Affordability of access
  2. Information rights
  3. Freedom to communicate without being blocked or spied upon.

Berners-Lee argued that if access to information is a fundamental right for all people, then it must be affordable for all, and not only the wealthy and educated. He also stressed the importance of open data and transparency for government, arguing that government data, which is typically collected using taxpayers’ money, should be made available to the public. In addition to government transparency, he argued that open data creates economic opportunities for businesses. Perhaps most importantly, Berners-Lee stressed that people must not live in fear that they are being spied on when they search for information online.

Berners-Lee ended his presentation with an announcement that the World Wide Web Foundation (W3C) had launched a global campaign called “Web We Want” to start a dialogue on Internet rights. Berners-Lee encouraged everyone, from consumers to national leaders, to engage in a global dialog to define the Internet rights that are most important and determine how to ensure these rights can be afforded on a global scale. Web We Want is an example of a movement that is built upon the OpenStand principles, serving as an open, global forum for discussion.

As the world debates the future of the Internet, more than a few tough questions are being asked related to access, information and freedom. For example, as we approach the development of new standards for identity management in an increasingly unsafe world, we must ask ourselves whether privacy and security are mutually exclusive. While helping to ensure the privacy of world citizens, we must also develop mechanisms to protect society from harm.

As new rules and standards define the future of the Internet, it is essential that consensus is driven by the broadest-possible range of global participants, from industry to public advocates, academia to public policy. The OpenStand Principles offer a time-tested, voluntary and open framework for collaboration, consensus building and market adoption, laying the groundwork for future success.

Credit: IAB
Credit: IAB

Last October marked a year and a half after the OpenStand Principles were agreed upon by the IAB, IEEE Standards Assocation, the Internet Society and the W3C. The IAB revisits their commitment to the OpenStand Principles with a statement, laid out in full below.

Statement from the IAB: The Internet depends upon standards developed in an open and transparent manner which facilitates wide review. Openness allows any interested party to participate, review, critique, or question the work of others. Transparency provides visibility into all steps of the process and provides appropriate audit trails for inspection. Broad consensus, after review from a wide range of interests and perspectives, fosters agreement on the resulting standards.

While the OpenStand principles cannot ensure that all participants are acting in good faith, following the principles is the best way we know to decrease the risk that any participant can inappropriately manipulate the standards development process. We believe organizations that operate according to the OpenStand principles create the most robust basis for a trustworthy standards in all fields of technology, including security and privacy.

As the dialogue ensues about the role of standards internet governance, there’s an even greater need for inclusive, global collaboration. As various stakeholders look at how to get involved in the standards development process, the Modern Paradigm for Standards provides a solid framework for global consensus. As the IAB eloquently put it, “… OpenStand principles offer the best known defense against interference by any actor.”

Please sign your name to Stand With Us. You may also add a Site Badge to show your support for OpenStand.

In a day and age where trust is critical, open innovation and open technology standards development principles are increasingly hailed as playing a critical role in driving market-driven innovation. In truth, this isn’t anything new. In fact, OpenStand principles have been effectively used for decades and have served as the foundational principles upon which the Internet and Internet-related technologies were built.

This model works because the OpenStand principles are by nature, globally inclusive, transparent, accessible and embrace voluntary adoption of market-driven standards, based on technical merit. Participants include technologists, inventors, developers, professionals, scientists, engineers, architects, members of academia, industry players, students, civic and government leaders, and other professional organizations.

A parallel model for global standards is one of national body representation. In this model, countries – not companies – are responsible for establishing technical standards, with assigned representation that is not open to all participants.

While OpenStand is not meant to replace the National model for standards development, it is suggested that an open, inclusive, voluntary participation and adoption model for standards development will help ensure market-driven innovation and serve the needs of humanity.

Recently, Karen Bartleson, the Senior Director of Community at Synopsys and the President of IEEE Standards Association summarized these points as follows:

“So the big deal [about OpenStand] is that market-driven standards are being clearly recognized as viable, necessary and beneficial to society. The standards are developed without geographical borders. OpenStand provides a means for articulating to governments and emerging economies what modern global standards can be made of.”

Karen Bartleson, Senior Director of Community at Synopsis; IEEE-SA President
Karen Bartleson, Senior Director of Community at Synopsis; IEEE-SA President

Stand With Us and show your support for the Modern Paradigm of Standards as an empowered method for people around the globe develop, deploy and embrace technology for the benefit of humanity.

Image credit: TheOpenAgenda via Telefonica
Image credit: TheOpenAgenda via Telefonica

#TheOpenAgenda was launched last September at Campus Party Europe in London, with the goal of accelerating the adoption of open standards and ethos across three key areas – web, data and innovation. The first phase of the campaign brings together leading thinkers to focus on the future of the World Wide Web. Online and offline contributors to the campaign at the Campus Party, included Tim Berners-Lee, Web inventor, W3C Director, and Founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO, Mitchell Baker, Executive Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, Jon ‘Mad Dog’ Hall, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, Katherine Parsons, Co-Founder of Decoded and Maximiliano Firtman, international author and industry pundit.

One hot topic of debate was whether mobile platforms threaten open Internet standards. It’s no secret that today, most people are connecting to the Internet through smartphones and other connected devices. Panelists identified the rise of ‘owned’ ecosystems, which force mobile access to web services through app stores, as one of the biggest threats to the openness of the web. Representatives from Telefonica compared the current dominance of the iOS and Android app stores to the early days when America Online and CompuServe sought to control the content consumers could access. This model did not work for long.

Panelists and contributors agreed that when defined and used correctly, standards can be a platform that drives innovation, consolidation and creates cost efficiency by lowering barriers to entry and lowering development costs through interoperability. The panel also examined new data produced by Telefonica that suggests that while the web is an integral part of every aspect of young people’s daily lives, Generation Z may not be interested in helping to continue developing the web. During #TheOpenAgenda’s Campus Party, Telefonica conducted a focus groups with 16 year-olds across the world to understand their attitudes toward ownership and regulation of the web. Study participants voiced an interest in shaping the web as consumers by using and rating websites, products and services, rather than through development.

It was suggested that this attitude among teens may be causal. While teachers may be teaching young students with the aid of tablets, they may not be teaching students the nuts and bolts of programming and helping them explore their creative potential as developers. As life continues to become more digital, the panel highlighted the need for basic digital literacy is a necessary and critical skill.

Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded, worries about student apathy towards web development. “I strongly believe that everyone should feel an innate sense of responsibility for the web, as ultimately all of our lives have been dramatically affected, in ways we could never have imagined. Coding is not longer a ‘nice to have’; it is a need to have.’”

Open innovation and open technology standards development are most certainly critical to the future. As individuals and organizations advocate for OpenStand Principles, we also have a responsibility to empower next-generation innovators with an understanding of the importance of internet and standards development.

We encourage the public to Stand With Us for OpenStand principles. To get started you can Sign Your Name to our supporters list and get a Site Badge for your website as a sign of your commitment to promoting Open Standards.

Incorporating open standards in cloud computing will accelerate the pace of technical innovation in our increasingly interconnected world. They will also help unlock opportunities for startups and large companies, as well as the individuals they serve, by offering affordable, fundamental building blocks that will speed time-to-market, fuel performance, drive interoperability, scalability and more.

In a recent post on IBM’s Smarter Planet Blog, Jim Smith, General Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, said that “Open Standards enable essential powerful computing capabilities at entrepreneur friendly cost points, and reduce the high licensing and operating expenses that closed software and hardware solutions impose.” Smith continued by saying, “The open cloud provides startups the reach, speed and scale that support entrepreneurial creativity and agility. It is the canvas for developing the revolutionary mobile, social and big data technologies that will change our world.”

Smith explains why Open Standards are important for startups:

Technology innovators and entrepreneurs are inventing new ways to leverage the open cloud to radically change what is possible in the healthcare, energy and video communication industries. Open standards are critical in driving both speed and scale of innovation.

For example, collaborations such as OpenStack, Apache CloudStack, and OpenNebula stand at the forefront of open cloud standardization as a creators of open source software that is publicly available throughout the design and development process. Such cloud-based stack solutions enable businesses to rapidly roll out new products, add new features, and improve internal systems while preventing technology lock-in with solutions that are supported by a broad range of IT industry leaders.

The OpenStand Principles of cooperation, adherence to principles, collective empowerment, availability and voluntary adoption are essential to the development of open cloud computing. They are also critical to amplifying the pace of technical innovation. Said Smith, “When everybody has a common goal, and a community that is contributing to that common goal, then innovation can truly advance at a more rapid pace than if that system were closed.”

Join with us and support OpenStand Principles here.