Safeguarding Standardization and Innovation

Feb 22 2018

The Internet Society 2017 report- Paths to our Digital Future advocates open and voluntary standards as being the core of the Internet’s success. The report also argues that they will, however, be challenged in the future by the speed of Internet innovation, the complexity of the emerging infrastructure and services, and the emergence of proprietary systems and walled gardens. Standards development processes are also under increasing threat from companies that can use their powerful market presence to create de facto standards, bypassing open standards processes and risking fragmentation.

In the words of a technologist from Asia-Pacific Region, the optimism is that so-called Internet of Things which is propagating a move towards proprietary networks and services will fade in significance, as the existing Internet is evolving and expanding with increasing numbers and varieties of connected devices. Successful manufacturers of these devices will have embraced the Internet ecosystem, in terms of open standards, Internet best practices, and appropriate measures to ensure security and longevity of their devices. To summarize, services based on open standards have long contributed to the success on Internet, and this trend is expected to go on.

However, established approaches to formulating Internet standards must also evolve if they are to remain relevant going forward. Simply put, the challenge for established standards organisations and processes includes engaging the innovators who either do not see the benefits of standardisation, or for whom the process of standardisation is too cumbersome.

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