15. Should every project interface with standards organizations

Sometimes a project from the early proposal stages has a clear objective that research results will be proposed as new standards for industry. But, not all IST projects that eventually include standardisation activities start with a specific objective of creating a new industry standard. Some see standardisation as less important because they are developing innovations above the technology layer where standards exist, while others see their role as only assembling and integrating standards-based technologies to create new platforms or frameworks.

Even without a specific goal of contributing to standards, a project may still find that broad dissemination and take-up of research results requires interfacing with standards bodies. Given the tasks and the resources involved to interface with standards bodies, it can be a major challenge for the project partners to accommodate standardisation activities within an existing project programme or budget, if not planned for in advance.

In determining whether your project should include plans to interface with standards bodies, there are no simple rules or formulas. However, there are some common characteristics that can help identify if an IST project is likely to need activities related to standardisation. Consider if your project has one or more of the following characteristics:

• Adding domain-specific elements to an existing standard – projects often overlook the need to establish consensus within the specific domain concerning the new elements.

• Using an existing standard for an application not originally envisioned – the original specification often needs to be extended or modified in some way when used for applications not originally envisioned when the standard was created.

• Integrating different standards into a platform, framework or architecture – usually more complicated than most researchers realise and often requiring modifications to one or more of the standards to avoid clumsy workarounds.

• Dissemination channel to end users has several vendors each with small market shares – if there are many customers and many suppliers, standardisation becomes the critical path to ensure project results are widely disseminated.

• Research results are intended as basis for a new generation of products or services – industrial organisations considering developing new products will often require standardisation processes be underway in order to reduce investment risk.

If any of the above characteristics apply, it is likely that your project will eventually need to interface with standards bodies. Including some provisions in the original planning for the project will avoid problems later on when the project is well underway and resources difficult to reallocate. Also, it is advisable to identify areas for possible cooperation with standards bodies already at an early point in time.

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See also

  1. What are Open Standards
  2. How do I identify cooperation possibilities with standards organizations
  3. Should a project contribute to standardization itself or should this be done through its consortium partners
  4. When should a project start to think about standardization

Created by Bart Brusse & Rigo Wenning
last updated $Date: 2006/11/03 13:56:16 $