Tuesday, October 11, 2005

In the frame of Muscle-WP9 activities 'Liaison with other standardization bodies' it was decided to take part to the

2005 IEEE Conference "Standards for Global Business - The European Conference on Collaborative Trends in European and Global Standardization"

that took place in Munich, the 26th and 27th of September 2005. 

The conference was organized by the Corporate Standards Program of the IEEE Standards Association - the IEEE association particularly devoted to "Standards".  

It was the first of this type with the aim of bringing together industry leaders and international and regional standards bodies (SDOs), to:

- explore the many trends affecting the creation of industry standards,  

- shares insights into the latest trends and  

- transfer to the audience knowledge to realize successful business objectives. 

The issue of creating standards is now, in fact, more intricate than in the past because of: 

- More strict time requirements due to the fast development of technology, and thus, business (accelerated product life cycles); 

- The growing demand for global standards and 

- The variety of organizations devoted to the development of standards that must increase their collaboration. These can be national, regional and international standards development organizations (SDOs), witch may cause repetition of similar work.

Most of the world standards organisms, SDOs, besides IEEE of course, were represented at the conference (IEC, ETSI, ISO, CENELEC, ITU-T, ECMA, etc.). The ways their organizations work were presented together with the procedures that each one has adopted, the relative peculiarities concerning the kind of technology dealt with and their evolution over the years.  

As well as SDOs, many industries were present with their corresponding responsible for standardization and took an active part in the various discussions. The companies represented were Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic, Philips, Siemens, Sony, and other industries in the electronics and the communications area. 

The conference was organized mainly by panel discussions, were a moderator introduced the issue to be discussed. Each panelist then presented his organization and/or his position regarding the issue in object. The floor was then given to the audience.

Time was given for socialization to allow the participants meeting and discussing. Participants were mostly from industry and, besides, the impression was of a close community of people well acquainted with each other.

Still, people who, for the first time, joined this community was much welcomed and could find a friendly environment and to meet and discuss informally. This was a good opportunity to gather some impression on the present and the future trends.  

Concluding, some opinions that could be collected during the conference: 

- The focus of the conference was on what and how standardization should proceed, thus the standardization process, and means to ameliorate it was the subject of the majority of the speeches and discussions; 

- Unanimous consensus does not work in standards: there must always be a compromise between the various interests (economical, political etc) of the organizations taking part into the standardization process; 

- There was a general consensus on the fact that "interoperability" is the most important issue to be tackled in present days; 

- "Collaboration" is also a "must", and this applies at all levels including SDOs, industries consortia for standards, single industries and researchers etc. and of course one cannot have collaboration without interoperability; 

- There were suggestions that there should be "one global standard" for various markets rather than different standards for each market and this also implies a different way of implementing standards, not as a single piece but by means of different building blocks to be integrated. 

- "Specifications" are fundamental and they must be common, proved correct and complete (bug-free) - this is also a must; 

-"Openness" in standards is important: "open" source is an important issue but there must also be space for "proprietary" - and for each standard its level of "openness" should be declared with regard to its various aspects: how openly it is defined, maintained, what about copies, use etc., and of course this implies 

- Intellectual Properties Rights (IPR) is an important and sensitive issue, and there is the need for rules to handle IPR legislation and standards. 

As in particular for Multimedia Metadata Standards, from private conversations the following information and comments were gathered:

- TV-Anytime was suggested as a very promising standard for multimedia metadata. There is a web site: http://www.tv-anytime.org/ and there is also a standard for metadata that can be freely downloaded from the web. ETSI is the organization to which to refer for this standard. The documentation is in fact released by ETSI (http://www.etsi.com/). 

- The following organizations should also be considered within ICT:  

*WS-I (http://www.ws-i.org/) an Organization for Web Services Interoperability across platforms, Operating Systems and Programming Languages;  

*OASIS (http://www.oasis-open.org/home/index.php) a not-for-profit global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards;  

*OAG (http://www.openapplications.org/) Standards for Business Software Interoperability;  

*ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36 Standards for: Information Technology for Learning, Education and Training (ITLET) - http://jtc1sc36.org/

Details on the Conference Programme 

The conference started with the welcome address to the audience from Dr. W. Charlton Adams, Program Director of Standards at IBM Corporation, member of the IEEE-SA Standards Board of Governor and Chair of the IEEE-SA Corporate Advisory Group, and Steven M. Mills, from Hewlett-Packard and vice Chair of the IEEE-SA Corporate Advisory Group and Chair of the IEEE-SA Standards Board.

The following sessions were then hold: 

a) Panel Discussion on Corporate Perspectives on Emerging Collaborative Trends in European and Global Standardization;

The facilitator of the panel was Dr. Robert S. Fish, Panasonic Digital Networking Laboratory and Vice President of Panasonic Research and Development Company of America;

The panelist represented the area of IT, Consumer Electronics, Manufacturer Organizations, Communications and Communications Equipment,  

In particular: Onno Elzinga from Ecma (an industry association for the standardization of Information and Communication Technology and Consumer Electronics), Dr. Bilel Jamoussi from Nortel's Startegic Standards, Dr. Georg Luetteke from Philips, Dave Penkler from HP OpenCall, Mikko Puuskari from Nokia, Maximilian Riegel from Siemens and Bob Suttor from IBM.

b) Panel Discussion on Standards Organization's Perspectives on Emerging Collaborative Trends in European and Global Standardization

The facilitator of the panel was Dr. Bilel Jamoussi from Nortel's Startegic Standard.

The panelist represented the following Standards Organizations: IEC (International Electro-technical Commission), ISO (International Organization of Standardization), ITU (International Telecommunications Union), CENELEC, ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), IEEE. 

In particular, they were represented by the following panelists: Ben C. Johnson for IEEE, Kevin A McKinley for ISO, Dr. Luigi Ricossa for CENELEC, Karl H. Rosenbrock for ETSI, Jack Sheldon for IEC and Houlin Zhao for Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) of ITU.

The first day of the conference closed with a Panel and Audience discussion on "Opportunities and Synergies from Emerging Collaborative Trends in European and Global Standardization.  

The second day the conference was organized as follows: 

c) The Evolution of Standardization

The speakers were: Dr. Knut Blind from the Innovation Systems and Policy Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and James Williamson , Sony Electronics;

d) The Evolution of Standardization in the IEEE: individual, IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization and the IEEE-SA Corporate Program

The following IEEE corporations were represented: IEEE 802; IEEE-ISTO; IEEE-SA Corporate Program: Batteries and IEEE-SA Corporate Program: Broadband Over Power Lines

The panelists were: Dennis B. Brophy from Mentor Graphic, Dr. James T. Carlo consultant for Huawei Technologies - China, Jean-Philippe Faure from Ilevo-Schneider Electric Powerline Communications, Peter B. Lefkin spoke for IEEE-ISTO and Chuck Powers from Motorola's Corporate Standards department.

e) Panel Discussion: The Role of Standards in Meeting the Business and the Market Needs of European and Global Industry.

The panelists were: Renaud Di Francesco from Sony, Dr. Ing. Uwe Klausmeyer Professor at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (Germany) and Jim Wilson consultant at KCX Inc.

f) Panel and Audience Discussion:The Role of Standards in meeting the Business and Market Needs of European and Global Industry

The panel was chaired by Guido Guetler from IEEE Board of Governor and IEEE Strategic Planning Commitee.

g) IEEE Initiatives

This concluding session was held by Dr. Michael R. Lightner, the 2005 IEEE President-Elect.

The link to the Conference website is http://standards.ieee.org/corpforum/europeconf/. There the slides of the presentations can also be found.