How to Modernize the Smartphone Network with Open Standards

Posted on July 19th, 2017

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According to online publisher TechCrunch, by 2020, globally there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users, led by huge growth in less mature markets. That works out to approximately 70 percent of the world’s population using these devices. In addition, research giant Ericsson predicts that “regions like Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa will account for 80 percent of all new subscriptions” by 2020.

As the need for access and communication across the globe grows, smartphones will only continue to grow in popularity. They are often the user’s primary lifeline to the Internet, and that doesn’t just mean while away from home. A growing share of smartphone users are now using their devices as their primary means of online access while at home.

So, with the growth of smartphone usage and the clear benefits of open standards, why have only 11 percent of Federal Agencies embraced an open networking approach?

That question is at the heart of a recent video from Brocade Communications Systems. The battle for proprietary versus open standards in the era of smartphones has long been debated and documented. However, this video offers the opinion that open standards help to drive down costs and amp up innovation which will serve to benefit and give choices to the millions of people using smartphones every day. Oftentimes, many agencies incorrectly believe that proprietary standards mean a more secure network. However, the opposite is true. As our Principles of Open Standards show, innovation and collaboration within the framework of open standards allows for better global interoperability, scalability, stability, and resiliency as well as enabling global competition and continuously encouraging providers to provide the best security possible.

Mobile devices are creating an opportunity for dynamic Internet resources to become available to greater and greater numbers of people. Because of that, keeping the Internet safe, stable, open and interoperable is of greater importance than ever. Open standards that align to our Principles will continue to play a critical role in creating an open internet and driving open innovation, serving as the building blocks for future development of the expansive Internet community.   

Where do you land on the proprietary versus open standard argument for smartphones? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Recent Merger Helps Counter Open Source Proprietary Solutions

Posted on July 12th, 2017

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Recently, vendors have been utilizing open source platforms to develop closed proprietary solutions. In a move to counter this activity, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) unveiled the Open Innovation Pipeline (OIP). The OIP was created within the merger arrangement between ONF and the Open Networking Lab.

According to the announcement from the organizations, the OIP will “tap into network virtualization work behind software-defined networking, network functions virtualization and cloud technologies, with those contributing work into the OIP being able to benefit from inclusion into ON.Lab’s Open Network Operating System project and central office re-architected as a data center platform, and vendors gaining access to operator deployments.”

Using these open platforms to create closed solutions provides little, if any, advantage to the broader Internet environment. The ONF’s Open Innovation Pipeline will work against this trend by “offering greater returns to members who participate in the ONF’s collaborative process.”

According the to the announcement, the ONF also said it plans to promote interoperability with diverse components of the open source ecosystem by using a software defined standards approach to developing interoperability application program interfaces and data models.

“It is very important to us that all the pieces of this new ecosystem can play well together and we see this expanded focus as central to enabling the crafting of solutions from the disaggregated components now taking shape across the industry,” explained Timon Sloane, VP of Standards and Membership at ONF.

The aforementioned merger of ONF and the Open Networking Lab has been in the works for a while, officially announced in October of 2016. The new combined entity will exist under the current ONF name. It will be headed by by Guru Parulkar, ON.Lab founder and Executive Director. The merger will likely not be fully complete until later in 2017, and each entity will remain focused on focused on SDN and open source platforms until completed.

While collaboration and cooperation is at the root of our Modern Paradigm for Standards, allowing open platforms to be used to create proprietary solutions or standards does not provide the necessary collaboration and openness that open standards thrive upon. Standards specifications must made accessible to all for implementation and deployment. Industries moves like this one are a step in the right direction.

What do you think about both the merger and collaborative initiative? Do you think it serves to effectively combat the issue at hand? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Smart Home Window is Open for Open Standards, but for How Long?

Posted on July 4th, 2017

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There has been much talk and speculation around the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) for some time now. In fact, over a year ago, OpenStand highlighted an industry white paper that projected that the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring billions of new devices to the Internet inside of ten years. We’ve been seeing a rapid increase in IoT devices from smart cars to smart cities, and the use of IoT in healthcare.

One area in particular is the growth of IoT enabled homes, also called “smart homes” or  “connected homes.” Connected homes are a major market opportunity as consumers further recognize its benefits — such as increased security and controlling energy costs. It is also tempting for many to have a home that will learn to change and alter the home environment based on the owner’s preferences.

However, as we discussed in this blog before, interoperability among the IoT devices within the home are crucial to the success of the smart home. In a recent IoT Business News article, there was a focus on the opportunity communications service providers (CSPs) have to lead the smart home marketplace. Only with adopting open standards can “risks be minimized and CSPs start to build their presence in people’s front rooms as the central control system for the connected home. There will only be a handful of standards that make it and the front-runners are already becoming clear. So CSPs should bet strategic and think long term, but not be too cautious if they are to strike while the iron’s hot.”

Regardless of who wins the race to own the smart home market, the need for open standards is front and center. The multiple IoT devices of a connected home must be able to work together seamlessly and without any unnecessary security risks. The article encourages CSPs to open their Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to third parties and “form ecosystem relationships with other service providers, symbiotic relationships can develop that will enable ‘services within a service’ to be offered; for example, a virtual assistant that can order your favorite pizza simply by hearing a voice command; a call out to your regular local plumber in the case of water leaks in the home, or a mapping app that offers taxi booking services through their platform.”

Using open standards that follow the Modern Paradigm for Standards  can help ensure the development of the highest quality, market-driven standards by the largest possible audience. And when it comes to our homes, that’s exactly what we want.  

If you agree with the principles of openness, transparency, accessibility, and market-driven standards adoption, we hope you’ll consider becoming an OpenStand Advocate. You can help spread the word by displaying a site badge or infographic on your website.

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Language and Definitions are Key to Setting Open Standards for Cybersecurity

Posted on June 28th, 2017

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The fundamental root of understanding and relating to each other is reliable communication. Since the beginning of time, humankind has worked towards a fixed and agreed upon way to share and exchange information. Even so, we’ve all been on the receiving end of miscommunication. It can be as complex as speaking completely different languages to something as simple as misusing a common term of phrase or even using an inside joke with an unfamiliar audience. Regardless of the level, miscommunication can be extremely frustrating and certainly impede progress.

Recently, an article from the online publication Dark Reading discussed the critical need for a more fully engaged cross-industry dialog within the context of cybersecurity in order to truly overcome cyber security risks. The article states, “to successfully fight threats across industries, we must all use the same terminology.”  To us, that means there also is a fundamental need for an increase in standardization across the industry, beginning with the basics of language and definitions.

By creating a consistent framework that begins with language, those working within that framework will be able to work more efficiently. In another recent blog post on Andrew L. Russell’s book Open Standards and the Digital Age: History, Ideology, and Networks, we discussed how, by making everyone follow the same rules, it opens up more opportunity for innovation. By standardizing terms and the basic ways we define things, we begin to “speak the same language” and can move forward faster, innovating within the common vernacular framework.

Similar to cybersecurity, where there are ‘at least 16 different definitions of the term “cyber attack” globally’, the internet at large has a massive number of different terms and definitions for the same concepts. Miscommunication can often lead to mistrust and an overall breakdown in progress. “Without a common language in cybersecurity, we can’t achieve intelligent information-sharing both within a single organization or between the complex web of vendors and solutions in today’s market. Lack of defined key terms is blocking the industry from effectively implementing anything beyond passive defensive mechanisms.” The same can be said outside of cybersecurity and across the board, reinstating the need for unified standards.  

The OpenStand principles work by understanding and respecting the “autonomy, integrity, processes, and intellectual property rules of the others.” However, before that respect can be realized, there must be a common understanding when it comes to terms and definitions – a standardization of that area.  

What are your thoughts on the overarching need for more standardization in the industry, starting with language and definitions? Leave them in the comments below!

If you’re interested in learning more about OpenStand, check out our OpenStand infographics.

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Open Standards Empower the IoT for Vehicle Connectivity

Posted on June 21st, 2017

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Each day seems to usher in new and exciting developments in the world of the Internet of Things (IoT). Recently, the GENIVI Alliance and the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) announced a liaison agreement wherein the two organizations will work to co-develop open standards for vehicle connectivity and vehicle data exchange. These open standards will include a unified model for secure discovery and exchange of information between smart homes, connected cars, and other IoT devices.

According to the press release, the joint effort will “attempt to address end-to-end security challenges and with the aim of becoming the basis for a growing number of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) solutions.”

As part of this joint effort, GENIVI and OCF will work closely with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Automotive Working Group. This collaboration with WC3, an affirming partner of the OpenStand principles and leading advocacy group for web standards, will expose vehicle data to web application developers.

In the world of IoT, there are billions of connected devices, from phones to computers to vehicles and beyond. These devices should ideally be able to have seamless communication with each other regardless of manufacturer, operating system, chipset or physical transport. To that end, the OCF is “creating a specification and sponsoring an open source project to make this possible. OCF will unlock the massive opportunity in the IoT market, accelerate industry innovation and help developers and companies create solutions that map to a single open specification. OCF will help ensure secure interoperability for consumers, business, and industry.” By joining with GENIVI, a non-profit organization making large strides towards broad adoption of open source, In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) software is working towards providing open technology for the connected car. This collaboration is helping both organization make even greater progress in open standards within IoT.

As regular readers of this blog know, we put out a call to all IoT Alliances and Consortia to support the mission of OpenStand and adopt and embrace our Principles. We believe that the future of the IoT needs to embrace these Principles, not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of humanity. There are many Alliances and Consortia formed around the IoT and we ask that they join the OpenStand movement and its Partners in our stand as we embrace a modern paradigm for standards where the economics of global markets, fueled by technological advancements, drive global deployment of standards regardless of their formal status.

The level of progress we will see through this type of agreement is putting us in exactly the right direction.

What do you think about this collaborative effort in IoT? How do you see it benefitting, or not benefitting, IoT development? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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FCC Likely To Scrap Open-Standard Proposal For Set-Top Boxes

Posted on June 14th, 2017

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As the old adage says, nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes — and the frustration caused by internet and cable providers. Okay, so maybe we added that last part, but as incredible as it is that we can have access to the world of the Internet in our very home, the hassle of dealing with cable companies is something we can almost all relate to.

Recently, a proposal was introduced to the FCC that would to allow third-party manufacturers to create their own set-top TV boxes, giving consumers an alternative to leasing devices from cable and satellite providers. This proposal would, in theory, open the industry and help increase competition and, thus, innovation.

The original proposal claimed that the current rules regulating this industry are archaic, and that this new proposal would end the need for multiple remote controls and benefit consumers due to extra competition in the market, which would lower the overall product prices. Unfortunately, the open-standards plan for set-top boxes was ultimately scrapped.

Opposition to the bill included all cable and satellite companies, music labels, Hollywood studios, and various unions. They argued that the opposite would occur — that “opening up the market to third-party manufacturers would endanger current copyright policies, stifle innovation, and result in new business expenses which would consequently be passed onto consumers and negate any potential end-user savings.”

While this particular movement in the world of open standards may have met an untimely end, it still underscores how important open standards are in our daily life. As we mentioned before, frustration with the proprietary nature of internet and cable providers is a pretty common theme among us. The need for open standards is not reserved for highly complicated and out of reach technology; the need is grounded in our everyday lives. As such, each of the pillars in our Modern Paradigm for Standards revolves around encouraging open standards to the benefit of all in every aspect of our lives.

Where do you see open standards impacting your day-to-day life? How do you feel about the scrapping of this particular open standards bill? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Internet of Things and Open Standards: Enabling Progress in the Industry

Posted on June 7th, 2017

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly changing and shaping today’s modern digital world, as well as laying the groundwork for our future. As such, the growth rate of IoT and connected devices shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to Statista, the global smart home market is forecasted to reach almost $60 billion and Gartner Research reports that spending on IoT security is expected to reach $547 million in 2018.

Vendors within the IoT arena will have to start to differentiate themselves as the demand for and number of these devices grow. A recent article, An Overview of Open Standards for IoT Communication Protocols, points out that there will be a subsequent explosion of vendors seeking to make our homes, factories, vehicles and healthcare more connected and thus “smarter.” As that occurs, there are a number of protocols consumers should look for when thinking about IoT devices.

This “connection” of devices can serve to improve our daily lives, creating innovative ways for our world to work together. Things like self driving cars are already in play, and soon our homes will be full of devices that, with the right standards, will be able to work seamlessly together. As both the article and several posts from this blog point out, open standards are the way to create interoperability between devices from different vendors. But communication between these devices, while benefiting from standardization, are also at risk for attack. In response, the industry has created a variety of IoT communication protocols and standards “designed to simplify IoT designs and increase the ability of vendors to innovate quickly.”

The recent article outlines these protocols, which you’ll see a brief description of below. While this is just a general look at the protocols, the article provides more in depth explanations.

OPC-UA

OPC Unified Architecture is an industrial machine-to-machine (M2M) communication protocol for interoperability developed by OPC Foundation.

AMQP

The Advanced Message Queuing Protocol is an OASIS standard or specification for application layer protocol in message-oriented middleware.

CoAP

The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a specialized web transfer protocol for use with resource constrained devices and networks (in IoT). CoAP is designed based on RFC 7252 for M2M applications such as smart energy and building automation.

XMPP

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (formerly Jabber) is a communications protocol for message-oriented middleware. The core specifications for XMPP are developed at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Various server and client implementations are available for review at http://xmpp.org/software/.

DDS

Data Distribution Service (DDS) is a machine-to-machine (M2M) middleware standard promoted by Object Management Group (OMG) that aims to enable scalable, real-time, dependable, high-performance and interoperable data exchanges between publishers and subscribers,that is, for M2M communication.

In the end, open standards are the best way to create the standards necessary for industry progress. However, finding the best protocol for networked solutions is something that many in IoT and other engineering fields have had to deal with for many years. The technical requirements are only one side of the coin. The protocol within the device must also meet what Tim Mackey refers to as the Minimum Success Criteria to avoid even the possibility of a security recall

If you are interested in this topic further, see also: How we can’t build the IoT without open standards.

To become an OpenStand advocate please review the OpenStand Principles.

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Embracing Openness and Cooperation in Open Source Building Blocks

Posted on May 31st, 2017

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When you take a look at the The OpenStand Principles, it’s clear that they work towards and embrace openness, transparency, cooperation, and voluntary adoption. Those qualities align nicely with the concepts in the open source community. A major player in the open source community, The Linux Foundation, provides tools, training, and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. As such, they are entering a new phase in their organization’s open source networking initiatives with the goal to to “foster Open Source Networking innovation in the entire ecosystem.”   

In a webinar titled “Open Source Networking and Orchestration: From Proof of Concept to ProductionArpit Joshipura, The Linux Foundation’s General Manager of Networking and Orchestration, commented that The Linux Foundation “is creating the greatest shared technology investment in history” and that The Linux Foundation is the leader in building open source ecosystems “that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption.”  

To that end, he announced Linux’s third phase of open networking and orchestration. “Phase 1 was the disaggregation of network components and was characterized by trials and proofs-of-concept (POC). Phase two introduced production-ready components and was characterized by initial deployments. This new third phase is production-ready, end-to-end solutions with harmonization being the key difference. The key message being that open networking is now ready to move out of the lab and beyond field trials to real production networks. It ensures the technology in question can work in real end-to-end deployment scenarios.”

During this webinar, Joshipura also introduced a new project the Linux Foundation is taking on –

the new Linux Foundation Open Source Framework and Architecture – also called The Whole Stack Open Source Building Blocks.

“With this disaggregation and multiple options at every level of  integration, end-to-end testing and thus harmonization become critical success factors.  While this new model gives enterprises and service providers choices at each layer it also adds integration complexities.” As part of this third phase, along with the Open Source Framework and Architecture, deployment barriers will be removed and the time required for deployments will be expedited.

How should open standards players embrace and accommodate open source development? Share your thoughts below!

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The Best CEOs Are Asking the Right Questions About Open Standards

Posted on May 24th, 2017

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Recently, an article from Harvard Business Review pointed out that proof of a good digital business minimizes costs and protects against changes in the user base, technology, and regulatory environments. It also outlined the top questions a CEO should consider in order to “protect the economic viability of his or her business while also making sure to explore the areas of greatest risk and change.”

Companies today are venturing further into the world of digital – and for good reason. Businesses wishing to remain competitive have to continually invest in building their digital footprint – doing so (or not doing so) is the difference between growth and high margins or limited growth and declining margins. An organization’s digital operation reaches into nearly every sect of the business and gets to the core economics of the company: revenue, growth, and margins.

Among the “top questions” in the HBR article is the relationship between current and future open standards. In our opinion, when it comes to developing a successful digital business, open standards and open source create an ecosystem that benefits the core economics of a company. That article points out that, “While this may result in less control and less margins for the competitor, the reduced overall costs, the ability to scale, and the increased rate of innovation afforded by open source can outweigh the benefits of a proprietary platform.”

An example of this is Google, a company that has invested into an open source Android operating system versus Apple’s proprietary and closely controlled iOS. There are clear implications for building a technology platform as part of an open source and open standards community. This type of decision requires not only an in-depth understanding of the open standards landscape, but also requires predicting and “envisioning how the digital business will fare in different scenarios.”

As we grow digital businesses, the conversation around standards will continue to have an increasing presence. Those familiar with our principles of open standards, as well as this blog, understand the importance open standards have in this conversation. When it comes to “future-proofing” technology, open standards are and will continue to be a critical area to consider.

Interested in technological standards, the digital business and the policies that guide them? Then be sure to subscribe to the OpenStand blog, where we cover all kinds of issues that influence technology and communication standards!

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Standards and Innovation: Are Standards the Ally of Creative Genius?

Posted on May 17th, 2017

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Can having a routine really free up your mind for more creative pursuits? According to a recently published book titled, Open Standards and the Digital Age: History, Ideology, and Networks, the answer is yes.  

The book, authored by Andrew L. Russell, Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Program in Science & Technology Studies in the College of Arts & Letters, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, takes readers through an interdisciplinary history of information networks that pays close attention to the modern politics of standardization. The primary focus of the book is on the larger concept of how openness became a foundational value for the networks of the twenty-first century.

In the book, Russell points out that, as counterintuitive as it may seem, by making everyone follow the same rules, more opportunities for innovation actually open up. This isn’t a new theory. Russell quotes Albert Whitney, a leader of the standards movement in the 1920s, who said “standardization saves the human mind and human energies because it can reduce things that are already settled to the level of routine therefore liberating the creative genius.”

Whitney, living in the post World War I era, was witness to the impact of mass production on many industries. However, some industries, such as the construction and fashion industry, did not lend themselves to mass production as easily. These industries understood there were fundamental processes they needed to put in place first before they could unleash creativity and innovation; they needed industry standards. What better way to increase the efficiency of something than to make it routine? This concept still holds true today. Standardization, innovation, and creativity are, and have always been, connected.  

Our friends and affirming partner of the OpenStand principles, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), have developed an excellent six-part series looking at the concepts of the book. We highly recommend you check it out and give the book a read.

You can learn more about Russell’s book here. You’ll benefit from learning how the “rhetoric of openness has flourished — for example, in movements for open government, open source software, and open access publishing — but such rhetoric also obscures the ways the Internet and other ‘open’ systems still depend heavily on hierarchical forms of control”.

Have you read the book? What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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