One could point to certain early, catalyst events—the introduction of the web browser and unleashing commercial use of the network, for example—that played key roles in setting the Internet revolution into motion. But, largely, the Internet’s rise has been a market-driven, organic explosion.

This phenomenon has been in evidence in the standards underlying the Internet. IEEE, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) collectively represent a suite of standards that forms the foundation for the Internet in market to market around the globe. Together, these standards have been a key facilitator for the growth of a global economic and social model that has touched billions of lives. These global standards were developed with a focus toward technical excellence and deployed through collaboration of many participants from all around the world. The results have literally changed the world.

IEEE standards for the Internet’s physical connectivity, IETF standards for end-to-end global Internet interoperability and the W3C standards for the World Wide Web are not the only examples of the modern paradigm for global, open standards in action, however.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is maintained and enhanced by the USB Implementers Forum, an organization of companies that want to implement USB in their products with high quality for their end customers. The USB standard is obviously market-driven and not confined by a concept of national boundaries.

Another example of such global standards is comprised by the suite of design-automation standards that is widely adopted across the globe, enabling a giant leap forward in our ability to define complex electronic solutions. Most, if not all, of the key standards in the electronic-design industry are market-driven. SystemVerilog, the Unified Power Format (UPF) and the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM)—among others that are critical to successful chip design flows and methodologies—are prime examples of the execution of the modern standards paradigm that the OpenStand principles define.

Another technology space that figures to demand such standards over the next decades is the global smart-grid effort, which seeks to augment regional facilities for electricity generation, distribution, delivery and consumption with a two-way, end-to-end network for communications and control.

The OpenStand principles convey the power of bottom-up collaboration to the standards of any technology space that will underpin the modern economy moving forward. The principles demand:

  • cooperation among standards organizations;
  • adherence to due process, broad consensus, transparency, balance and openness in standards development;
  • commitment to technical merit, interoperability, competition, innovation and benefit to humanity;
  • availability of standards to all; and
  • voluntary adoption.

IEEE, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), IETF, Internet Society and W3C on 29 August 2012 announced that they have signed a statement affirming the importance of the jointly developed principles. Fellow standards organizations, as well as governments and individual companies, are invited to join with these organizations at and support the principles.

The modern paradigm defined by the OpenStand principles is proven in its ability to efficiently yield the kind of globally scoped standards that have the most significant impact in terms of creating global markets, fostering job creation and economic opportunity and yielding better products at more competitive prices. Such standards are essential to bringing about the world that humanity desires and figure to playing even greater roles in industry to industry and market to market around the world in the years ahead.

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