Corollaries Between Web Standards and Human Rights Lead to Important Discussions

Posted on July 23rd, 2015

At a summit meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) earlier this year, the question of human rights and standard internet protocols was brought to the fore.  One of the proposals under consideration was the creation of a new subcommittee named the "Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group" (HRPC).

Image: IETF

What does the standardization of web protocols have to do with human rights? It’s a reasonable question; after all, web protocols are technological and sophisticated, while human rights by nature, are are fundamental and human. Still, when you consider the political right of freedom of expression and the expressive power of the internet, the query starts to take on real meaning.

At a summit meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) earlier this year, the question of human rights and standard internet protocols was brought to the fore. One of the proposals under consideration was the creation of a new subcommittee named the “Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group” (HRPC). The group, which is still in the initial review stage for IETF, would focus on if and how the freedoms of speech and association should inform the development of internet protocols and standards. An abstract of the proposal, which is available on IETF’s website, describes the HRPC agenda:

Work has been done on privacy issues that should be considered when creating an Internet protocol. This draft suggests that similar considerations may apply for other human rights such as freedom of expression or freedom of association. A proposal is made for work in the IRTF researching the possible connections between human rights and Internet standards and protocols. The goal is to create an informational RFC concerning human rights protocol considerations.

Given that internet protocols and standards are the “gatekeeping” technologies of the web and that the web is the world’s most preeminent tool of mass communication, it is appropriate that there be a conversation regarding the confluence of open standards and freedom of expression. You can follow the progress of the HRPC proposal using IETF’s Datatracker tool. If you are interested in participating in the conversation of open standards, leave a comment or send us a message.

Posted in News

Open Standards Opportunities: Financial Transactions & Seamless Global Commerce

Posted on July 15th, 2015

Despite today's technological climate, the ability to make global transactions remains challenging. W3C's Web Payments Interest Group is exploring new ways to solve this problem.
Image: W3C

For anyone who has ever sent money abroad, set up an international bank account, or simply made a Web purchase from a foreign vendor, the challenge of translating cost into domestic currency is a familiar annoyance. Beyond the basic arithmetic of conversion, other challenges include additional fees, unavoidable delays, and other technicalities that can frustrate transactions as well as the user. In some cases, an individual may find that a desired transaction is not possible, due to the limitations of the payment systems involved.

The Web’s ability to introduce standardized avenues of communication into disparate systems is well established. Toward this goal, the W3C’s Web Payments Interest Group is working at the forefront of web payments to explore new ways to streamline global transactions. The group has developed a number of ideas for the future of global eCommerce, which range in complexity and promise a number of tangible benefits for users and the global economy.

One possible solution proposed to improve global transactions is to create a new, standardized front-end application layer that masks complicated financial transaction details. This approach leaves existing payment systems in place, leveraging a totally new web application that runs “on top.” The application layer simplifies the user experience and interfaces with back-end systems to seamlessly handles transaction and conversion complexities. This results in an improved and more reliable user experience. Because this solution focuses largely on the application layer, rather than the complexities of disparate back-end systems, it would be unable to produce marked improvements or new consistencies with regard to network interoperability, transaction speed, security or other variables (such as user input required for each transaction).

A second, more ambitious potential solution for streamlining global transactions involves implementing broader changes in Web standards infrastructure for financial payments. Rather than focusing on a higher level application that masks transaction details, this scenario centers on modifying the way funds move from one system to another. This proposed solution would create a new, standardized environment within which users do not have to worry about having a particular payment method in common with a vendor. Instead, the system would ensure complete transferability – connecting all payment methods available to a user – from debit to credit, BitCoin to PayPal and other payment types. While the up-front cost of implementing a new standard like this would be greater, the benefits of this approach would include guaranteed network interoperability, improved speed and security, and lower cost per transaction.

Without question, the Web-based financial transactions area is fertile ground for improvement. Open standards for global financial transactions promise to improve global transactions by improving user experience, simplifying and streamlining transactions, improving security, lowering costs, improving transaction speed and more. While there are some standards already in place for interbank connectivity and communication, such as the electronic data standard ISO 20022, there are no current standards in place that are as ambitious as those proposed by the W3C’s Web Payments Interest Group.

W3C’s Web Payments Interest Group’s Value Web Task Force committee is actively studying the need for Web standards in internetwork transactions. The Task Force is working to gather industry use cases and requirements and uses that data to aid in proposal development. They are currently seeking interested parties such as banks, clearinghouses, cryptocurrency companies, and related organizations that recognize the potential of a standardized field of Web commerce and wish to contribute to future development. Participation is open. W3C is also an affirming partner of the OpenStand Principles.

If you are interested in contributing to the work of the Web Payments Interest Group, you can reach out to them at standards+w3c@ripple.com. If you’d like to have more information about the mission of the Web Payments Interest Group and the Value Web Task Force, you can email public-webpayments-ig@w3.org with the subject line, [value web]. Where you like to see development in the sphere of web payments and commerce? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted in News

Open Standards Development Adds Value to Web TV and Video Streaming

Posted on July 8th, 2015

TV and other video media have been adapting to web infrastructure for over a decade, but open standards are needed to ensure widespread adoption.

Shutterstock, Semisatch

TV and other video media have been adapting to web infrastructure for over a decade. Netflix is now 18-years-old, and YouTube was founded ten years ago. According to a Nielsen report, the number of American households subscribing to an internet video streaming service has reached 40%, but there is still room for improvement. Video streaming experience has yet to live up to user expectations, let alone go above and beyond those expectations.

Some of the challenges of the current user experience in internet video streaming include the lack of seamless integration between broadcast TV and the web, and the length of time a user must wait before it’s possible to view a desired program. For streaming users, it’s typically necessary to wait well past an air date to view a program of choice, which is undesirable in today’s instant-access economy. A second challenge pertains to broadcasters integrating streaming capabilities into their services. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons (stand-alone solutions, lack of integration with cable services, etc.), these services have not achieved broad adoption because of the disjointed TV/web experiences.

Beyond meeting user expectations, Daniel Davis of W3C believes that, “There are also new ways to enjoy content that the web has the potential to realize, such as multiple simultaneous camera views or customizable synchronization with other online and data services.”

In order to achieve widespread adoption of these services, open standards are needed in the field of web TV. The W3C, an OpenStand affirming partner, is actively at work in this area. Several W3C groups are establishing use cases and requirements, and are addressing standards gaps under the support and purview of the Web and TV Interest Group, chaired by Yosuke Fanahashi of W3C, Giuseppe Pascale of Opera Software, and Mark Vickers of Comcast Cable. This group is embracing the principles of collaboration, effective empowerment, and voluntary adoption and reflect the values of the OpenStand Principles.

According to Davis, some of the needs his group has identified, to date, include:

  • Multi-screen content delivery
  • Stream synchronization
  • TV function and channel control
  • Mixed media sources and content overlays
  • Stream recognition and identification
  • Server-side content rendering (e.g. for low-powered STBs)
  • Improvements to existing features (e.g. adaptive streaming, timed text)

Groups and projects have been mobilized to address these gaps as follows:

  • GGIE (Glass-to-Glass Internet Ecosystem) Task Force: With a goal of “identifying essential elements in digital video’s life cycle and features that would be appropriate for recommendation for standardization in the appropriate SDOs [standards development organizations], not just W3C,” they are currently gathering use cases and facilitating discussion in the interest group.
  • TV Control API Community Group: This group is developing an API to “control TV-like content and features…eventually producing a new standard for media devices, set-top-boxes and of course televisions.”
  • Multi-device Timing Community Group: This newly developed group is focused on synchronization of media streams across the web, opening up some of the unique potential of web viewing vs. traditional one-stream viewing.
  • Media Resource In-band Tracks Community Group: This very standards-focused project is building a spec to define and allow web applications access to in-band informational elements like metadata and captions through the media element itself.
  • Second Screen Presentation Community Group & Working Group: Davis points out that this group has evolved from an idea to a standard. It began as a collaborative proposal brought to W3C to be drafted by stakeholders, which eventually set the foundation for a new Working Group. Today, Davis says, “it’s officially on the standards track and further stabilization should see it implemented and brought to a big screen near you.”

What opportunities for video content distribution and development on the web do you see? What current problems with web video could be solved with further open standards development? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted in News

Open Standards Opportunities: Tokenization and Ecommerce Security

Posted on July 1st, 2015

Tokenization may be the answer to some of the pain points in ecommerce today, including improved payment security but in order to ensure widespread adoption, open standards are needed.
Shutterstock, Rawpixel

The Web Payments Group of the W3C, an affirming partner in the OpenStand Principles, has been making progress on payment integration as part of the Open Web Platform and is doing a series of interviews on web payments. W3C’s Ian Jacobs interviewed Drew Jacobs and Tom Poole of Capital One, and Siva Narendra, CEO of Tyfone, probing into the vast potential of ecommerce and the open web, and the implications of tokenization to improve transaction security. The full transcript of this interview can be found here.

Drew Jacobs highlighted a number of  “gaps and pain points across the value chain, from consumer, to merchant, to financial institution,” which include:

  1. Convoluted purchase processes
  2. Lengthy checkout
  3. Masses of data being submitted, without the guarantee of security
  4. Online credit card transactions that leverage less-secure static data.

While he acknowledged efforts to solve current dilemmas, citing such as vendors like Amazon implementing one-click payments, he says they are seeing a trend toward tokenization.

Tokenization is a process flow similar to a checking system in banking, where the user is provided a token or placeholder (in digital terms, a meaningless sequence of numbers) by their financial institution. When a purchase is made, the user supplies that to the merchant, who then redeems it with the bank or credit-holder. This process is appealing for the same reasons as checking accounts; both the user and the merchant carry reduced liability with a tokenization system.

The problem is, as Jacobs points out, that tokenization is not a cohesive cross-channel solution. Without open standards tokenization is simply one of many other payment execution methods. Jacobs asserts, “Tokenization should not be a separate process from other forms of payments, we need a cohesive solution across channels.” He emphasized the needs for collaborative development in order to ensure widespread voluntary adoption of a standard tokenization system.

Narendra agrees that in order to be effective, there much improvement is required. One of the key areas that must be focused on is security. He states that,

“…there is a fraud rate of about .9% for ecommerce while it is .09% for other forms of transactions. So the fraud rate for ecommerce is 10 times what it is for non-ecommerce. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that passwords are not very effective. Tokenization, as Drew mentioned, is an important path for the future. But securely authenticating the right user is being provisioned the right token is necessary, otherwise criminals can steal tokens, too.”

Introducing more payment options will not solve the security and privacy problems involved in data sharing and online payments. Jacobs and Narendra agree that security and authentication for both the user and the transaction has to be first priority in order for tokenization to become the tenable, cohesive market solution.

In response to this need, W3C is working on a Web Crypto API, which Narendra explains, “gives developers access to cryptographic operations from JavaScript.” He continues,

“I think there’s an assumption in the browser community today that the only token that browsers will support is FIDO Alliance-based. But I think we need greater interoperability. We do need to be looking at secure elements, but chips in phones are not the only way to achieve that. There is a large existing infrastructure for security and we need to extend those capabilities to the Web to achieve scale and success.”

Tom Poole of Capital One identified a few key targets for more specific security improvement opportunities:

“There are three different levels where payments could be improved. The first involves adding support for secure storage of information, such as via a browser plug-in. An open standard would enable multiple providers of such plugins (and of course, browsers might provide their own solutions). The next level up is the “white label container” like Softcard that could provide consistency for payment scheme providers, but still allow for innovation. The third layer would be to build on something like Apple Pay, but that would mean very little differentiation and a single vendor would drive the normalization of payments. But I don’t think many people want to invest in that sort of centralized solution. “

There are opportunities at all three layers mentioned by Poole, but according to Jacobs, the most important reason for forming the working group is focusing on “the unique opportunity [for WC3] to provide underlying infrastructure standards that leverage existing work around tokenization. That is the biggest pain point for us today: tokenization doesn’t exist easily online, and we need greater security online. We think browsers can play a role in bringing this together. We also see opportunities around improved authentication and identification of the real user.”

The interview sheds light on yet another reason why open standards are critical to solving problems that impact each one of us. By working together and embracing essential principles for Open Standards development, we can unlock hidden potential and benefit global society. If you believe in the necessity of open standards, please Sign Your Name to voice your public support of the OpenStand Principles.

Posted in News

ISOC’s Kolkman Calls for Collaborative Internet Security

Posted on June 24th, 2015

Never before has the need been more evident for open standards that support privacy and security. The question is where do the solutions to our current security problems lie?
Shutterstock, STILLFX

Never before has the need been more evident for open standards that support privacy and security. Olaf Kolkman, open standards advocate and CTO of the Internet Society (ISOC), (an affirming partner of the OpenStand Principles) has been focusing on the need for collaborative security. Kolkman authored this recent article for ISOC in which he asserts that use of the Internet, or participation in this great innovation we call the world wide web, carries with it collective responsibility:

“When you connect to the Internet, you become a part of its ecosystem. Even more, across the Internet there is no clear line between consumers and suppliers; every participant is a contributor.”

Kolkman argues that this collaborative and egalitarian culture is part of what makes the Internet so powerful. The outcome of the collaborative nature of the Internet creates valuable opportunities. However, as more and more participants join and increasing power becomes inherent in various functions, security and governance is becoming a more apparent concern both for end-users and service providers.

We recently highlighted ISOC’s powerful new stance on collaborative security, here on the OpenStand Blog. ISOC’s stance, outlined in a recent white paper, highlights the importance of  “fostering confidence and protecting opportunities” in the internet environment. Unfortunately, Kolkman argues, there is little economic incentive for individual providers to develop, deploy and maintain key security technologies. In fact, Kolkman points out that because they will most likely bear the expense for assuming a more proactive position with regard to security, there is likely to be dis-incentive for providers to act more decisively—even if raising the level of security in the system and reinforcing confidence in the Internet are stated outcomes.

As a solution to this problem, some point to establishing legal mandates driving increased security measures for providers. However, as Kolkman points out:

“That approach would go against one the fundamental and foundational principles of the Internet: as an organic system, a network of autonomous networks, not built from a global blueprint but developing in accordance with local needs and conditions, deployment depends on voluntary agreement and collaboration. Forcing security and scalability through global mandates may be slow, and may have unintended side effects.”

Accomplishing global deployment of secure, resilient, future-proof Internet technology is better done, as Kolkman calls it, “the Internet way”: at the initiative of individual actors, based on their own decisions and leadership; and through sharing know-how and experience, both voluntary and professionally.

He points to the example of the recently launched Internet.nl initiative, in which the Dutch Internet community collaborated to set up a website for the purpose of communicating deployment and access status for key internet technologies.

Kolkman argues that the solutions to many of our current security problems problem do not lie so much lie in legislation as they do in leadership. Leaders and supporters of the collaborative Internet must continue to be vocal and visible about advocating for open standards. They must be more transparently and openly collaborative in their security innovations and solutions, in order to achieve a more secure future ”the Internet way.”

Posted in News

Open Standards Opportunities: Electric Vehicle Charging Technology

Posted on June 17th, 2015

As the sales of electric vehicles in America increase, the collective need to build, operate and supply charging stations represents an opportunity for open standards.
The Energy Collective
While the sale of electric vehicles represent a small percentage of overall vehicle sales in America, their numbers have skyrocketed over the past few years. As sales increase, the collective need to build, operate and supply charging stations represents an opportunity for open standards. Edward Dodge posted recently about this on the Energy Collective Blog, following the work of Greenlots, a leading advocate for open standards in EV charging. Greenlots’ platform allows for demand response communication to help manage power on the grid with utilities providers. In order to manage power efficiently, there needs to be a communications layer interfacing between charging stations and central utility management. This layer, commonly called Automated Demand Response (ADR), “is simply the use of computers and internet communications to enable demand response to be completely automated and seamless to the user,” and presents an opportunity for open standards to facilitate communications. There is already some work being done here; Greenlots is a member of the OpenADR Alliance, a 130-member consortium dedicated to open standards for the Smart Grid. According to the article:

OpenADR is a communications protocol that standardizes messaging for dynamic price and reliability signals used by utilities, Independent Systems Operators and other participants on the power grid. OpenADR hopes to bring network protocol standardization to power grids globally, much in the same way that TCP/IP enables all devices on the internet to speak the same language.

OCPP is a communications layer between EV charging stations and central management systems [created by OpenADR]. OCPP is an emerging specification that is not formally recognized by international standards bodies nor adopted across the entire EV industry. There is great hope that OCPP will emerge as an international standard ensuring that hardware can operate across vendors’ networks and prevent customers being stuck with useless equipment should their vendor go out of business.

In an emerging market like electric vehicles, a commitment to open standards is commendable. In the pursuit of new solutions, we encourage consortia such as OpenADR Alliance to embrace the OpenStand Principles of cooperation, adherence to standards, collective empowerment, and voluntary adoption as they move forward to pursue national and international standardization.

It’s easy to become an OpenStand Advocate and publicly endorse the principles that have brought us decades of open innovation, simply:

Sign Your Name to express your public individual or organizational support.

Get a Site Badge to display your support on your site or blog.

Submit a formal endorsement from your organization for our site.

Posted in News

The Next Decade: WSIS+10 and the Debate Around Asserting the Principles of Open Internet Governance

Posted on June 3rd, 2015

In preparation for the World Summit on the Information Society's 10-year Review at the end of the year, discussions around policy and governance are already taking place.
Shutterstock, Pavel Ignatov
Bill Dutton, a Michigan State University Professor, closed the recent UNESCO Connecting the Dots Conference in March 2015 with an intriguing statement:

“Over the past decade, the focus has been on the Internet technology’s development; I believe the next decade will be about policy and governance.”

As Constance Bommelaer, Senior Director of Global Internet Policy for the Internet Society discussed in a recent review of the UNESCO conference on the ISOC blog, the statement marks the starting point of a nearly year-long conversation leading up to the World Summit on the Information Society’s (WSIS) 10-year Review, which will take place at the end of December this year.

The WSIS+10 review was called upon by the Tunis Agenda of the original 2003 WSIS to review the implementations and findings of the WSIS by the end of 2015, establishing a two-day high-level meeting of the General Assembly to “take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the [WSIS] and address potential information and communications technology gaps and areas for continued focus, as well as addressing challenges, including bridging the digital divide, and harnessing information and communications technologies for development.”

In preparation WSIS+10, and in line with the guiding discussions around policy and governance, Bommelaer highlights a response to a report on Internet Universality presented by UNESCO, proposing that the Internet should be definitively Rights-based, Open, Accessible to all, and nurtured by Multistakeholder participation (ROAM).

A strongly delineated definition like this one has the effect of disrupting some deeply-held assumptions and polarizing opinions. In her post, Bommelaer highlights some some of the deeper questions raised at the UNESCO conference included:

  1. If human rights are universal by nature, how is it possible to ensure that privacy frameworks are effectively interoperable between regions and countries?
  2. Beyond the development of Internet infrastructures, what training do people need to be empowered by the technology?
  3. How do we organize meaningful and accountable multi-stakeholder participation mechanisms?

These questions point to the potential necessity for policy and governance frameworks. Bommelaer asserts that the direction of the discussion indicates that a time has come to establish and assert principles around these very human values. The current democratic opportunity for any stakeholder to contribute to the shape and definition of the internet that will be must be acted upon in order to continue upholding the values of openness and transparency that helped bring it into being.

Bommelaer passionately presents the values of openness and integrity as integral to the development and government of the internet:

The principles of openness and transparency have been a catalyst in allowing the Internet to evolve constantly. They have contributed not only to unleash innovation and creativity but, equally significantly, they have allowed the Internet to manifest its full potential in terms of social empowerment, political expression and economic development.  Additionally, they have produced a fertile ground for the organic growth of a set of abilities that have further enriched our societies: the ability to connect, to innovate and to communicate, but also to choose and to share.

The UNESCO conference, while questioning assumptions and asserting values, facilitated the ongoing development of “a shared vision affirming faith in an open governance model,” according to Bommelaer, with provenance on the need for human rights protection online, as documented in a final outcome document that can be read online here.

OpenStand Principles are based on the foundational principles responsible for driving over two decades of internet and high technology growth. The OpenStand Principles embrace openness, transparency, cooperation, empowerment and voluntary adoption for open standards development. However, these principles may have an influential role in establishing a common set of values for global technology development and the open internet, which lay the framework for future governance and oversight. We invite professionals from all walks of technology, academia, media to check out the OpenStand Principles and stand with us as OpenStand advocates.

Posted in News

IoT Alliance Between Open Interconnect Consortium and Industrial Internet Consortium

Posted on May 27th, 2015

A strategic alliance formed between the Open Interconnect Consortium and the Industrial Internet Consortium displays even furth the need for interoperability in the Internet of Things.

Shutterstock, yurok

A recent press release announcing the strategic alliance agreement between the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) and the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) serves to underscore the idea that more open collaboration is necessary to develop the kind of interoperability necessary to ensure the success of the Internet of Things.

Under the collaborative, information-sharing agreement terms, the IIC will share its use-cases and architectural requirements from the perspective of the industrial market. The corresponding contribution by the OIC will focus on implementation; relying on the use-cases and architecture information to validate their feature specifications and open source project (IoTivity) in an effort to create a more streamlined implementation model–essentially bringing the use-cases into the realm of possibility.

With the proliferation and growth of IoT technologies, clustering and collaboration have been inevitable. However, going beyond open source, we also encourage the OIC and IIC to also embrace the OpenStand Principles to help secure an open future and open standards in support of the IoT. While there’s no guarantee the collaboration will conform to the OpenStand Principles, we see this collaboration between these two critical industry consortia as a positive step toward more open collaboration within industry. The OIC, with it’s more than 50 members including Dell, HP, Siemens, and Honeywell, and the IIC with its 141 member companies spread out over 20 countries, are certainly representative of some hugely influential global innovation and implementation potential.

Imad Sousou, Vice President of Intel’s of the Software and Services Group and General Manager of their Open Source Technology Center, is also the Vice President of the board at the OIC. According to him, the strategic liaison between the OIC and IIC is, “extremely complementary and a huge win for the industry. By ensuring the standards and associated open source software from the OIC support the use cases and requirements defined by the IIC, we can accelerate the delivery of an industrial-grade communications framework for the IoT.”

With 4.9 billion connected devices to be in use in 2015, the need for this kind of collaboration in the IoT space is paramount and we hope to see more industry consortia embracing the OpenStand Principles, such as open collaboration, in the future. To voice your public support for the OpenStand Principles, please Stand With Us by signing your name here.

Posted in News

Open Standards: Expanding and Enhancing Wearables in eHealth

Posted on May 20th, 2015

Open standards have a critical role to play in empowering medical wearable devices.
Shutterstock, Georgejmclittle’s

In a recent mHealthNews article, Carole C. Carey, Chair of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society/Standards Committee addresses the critical role open standards have in empowering medical wearable devices.

It doesn’t require extensive research to understand the benefits of wearables for E-Health innovation. From heart rate and diabetes monitoring, personal wearable devices are helping patients and caregivers better assess and manage health and wellness in a variety of contexts. However, to date, some of the practices governing the capture and use of data for E-Health monitoring have limited the expansion of innovative technologies.

For example, for years, the practices supporting blood pressure meters assumed the capture of data from a traditional blood pressure cuff. While the technology for “cuffless” blood pressure assessment has been around for a while, a true, technically validated standard was missing for data capture from cuffless meters.  Earlier cuffless devices required detailed and error-prone calibration techniques. To progress monitoring further, a new standard would be required to help disparate devices properly capture, calibrate, measure, assess, transfer, and archive blood pressure data.

Carey highlighted a new standard, developed by IEEE, which answers this call, making the capture of blood pressure data extensible much broader range of devices, enabling “cuffless” or less obtrusive blood pressure assessment and monitoring through wearable devices. The new IEEE standard brings uniformity, helps ensure safety, interoperability across devices and serves as a building block for developers that will help accelerate eHealth innovation. As Carey writes,

“IEEE 1708 was designed to set into a motion a host of positive developments with regard to wearable, unobtrusive, cuffless blood-pressure monitors. With the availability of a standardized way to evaluate and calibrate the devices, the hope is that more manufacturers will be encouraged to develop wearable, cuffless blood-pressure monitors, and more healthcare practitioners will be encouraged to use them. Further … the standard could help accelerate the adoption of the wearable, cuffless devices for more telemedicine and mobile healthcare applications. This standard may help fuel the larger trend toward predictive/preventive care that is intensifying around the world. In such ways, IEEE 1708 adds an important new dimension to the growing portfolio of IEEE standards designed to drive e-health innovation.”

The open standard for cuffless blood-pressure measurement is a perfect illustration of how the development of open standards, far from delaying innovation, play an increasingly important role as building blocks for innovation — expanding the relevance and impact of new technology through effective and practicable implementation. As Carey puts it, in effect “unlocking the benefit [of innovation] for humanity.”

Posted in News

Open Standards Will Help Drive Interoperability and Good User Experience for Health and Fitness Industry

Posted on May 13th, 2015

As the development around the Internet of Things, smart devices, and wearable technology continues to explode, industries that serve end users are zeroing in on the importance of interoperability and user experience. Open Standards can play an important role in these industries.

Shutterstock, wavebreakmedia

As the development around the Internet of Things, smart devices, and wearable technology continues to explode, industries that serve end users are zeroing in on the importance of interoperability and user experience. Open Standards can play an important role in these industries, as we pointed out in a recent post featuring Kevin Meagher, VP of Lowe’s, on the role of open standards development for the interoperability of smart home devices.

In the wearables arena, the health and fitness industry represents another ripe arena for better UX and interoperability. In 2013, the health and fitness industry bosted revenues of $22.4 billion. Today, with companies like Facebook and Google handing out wearable fitness trackers as standard employee onboarding kits, fitness is not just big business but a global business priority for corporations and the insurance companies that serve them. The number of wearable fitness trackers and health monitoring devices is growing exponentially. As the number of devices proliferate, interoperability and extensibility will provide a market edge for device manufacturers, who are today becoming more concerned with how to craft a better user experience across a wide array of devices, apps, brands, locations, and use cases.

A recent press release announced that FIT-C, a non-profit organization focused on encouraging increased collaboration and enhancing user experience through technology in the fitness industry, welcomed Netpulse, a provider of branded mobile apps for health clubs, to its council. The release brought up several interesting points that connect to a wider discussion of how the need for open standards affects the particular concerns of fitness tech industry.

Kelly Sweeny, head of business development at Netpulse, referred to open standards’ uniting influence directly in her press release quote:

“The fitness industry has evolved tremendously over the last several years. This is a perfect time for us to focus on creating open standards that unite and empower club owners, vendors, and members to reach their goals.”

By joining the council at FIT-C, Netpulse shows a recognition of the same collaborative spirit that guides the OpenStand Principles of cooperation, collective empowerment, and voluntary adoption. John Ford, CEO at Netpulse, also focused on this in the press release, saying:

“To bring the best services to our apps and screens, we integrate with the best companies in the industry. None of this works well without the open and collaborative industry that FIT-C is driving.”

As the IoT continues to evolve and the effects of the new technology influence a wider range of industries at a personal user level, we are seeing more specific examples of the critical influence of open standards development.

You can join us in supporting the OpenStand Principles by signing the petition to Stand With Us, and be sure to let us know in the comments if you’ve seen examples of how open standards are affecting other industries and end users.

Posted in News
Next »