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ANSI Responds To Challenges of IT Standardization

ISSB Sponsors its Second Standards Coordination Conference

New York, Aug 06, 2002

Acknowledging that information technology and e-business have become fundamental components of nearly every industry sector, ANSI's Information Systems Standards Board (ISSB) recently held its second Standards Coordination Conference, "Challenges for IT Standardization" on July 9 and 10, 2002 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

With more than 110 individuals in attendance-among these policy developers and decision makers from both industry and government, IT users and developers, product managers, system integrators, and standards developers-participants explored ways for the IT industry to coordinate efforts in order to avoid duplicative and conflicting standards. The consensus was that traditional and non-traditional (e.g., consortia) standards developers serve complementary roles and can each be utilized as needed in the deployment of standards.

"The conference really gave all groups that are involved with and that use standards, formal and informal development organizations, a chance to air their differences," said Michael Glickman, ISSB chairman. "It helped everyone recognize that there is no great advantage to being one or the other, but rather that we must all work together."

The ISSB conference kicked off with a presentation from keynote speaker, Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards, who identified challenges that the IT industry faces when dealing with standardization. He noted that "there is a need for efficiency in the IT standardization process to complement the momentum in the innovative and dynamic IT sector, which has a very short time to market deadlines." The conference was prompted by similar questions posed previously by Congressman Ehlers at a congressional hearing regarding the impact of standards on the U.S economy as well as the nation's ability to compete in the global marketplace.

The conference was broken down into five sessions falling under the categories of: e-business within industry sectors, across industry sectors, across national borders, federal uses of standards, and case studies on speeding up the process of standards and testing development. The 20-featured speakers, including industry experts from retail, wireless communications, and healthcare, presented a broader scope of the work currently being done in their particular fields as well as their latest projects to support future applications of information technology. [Note: Click here to view presentations and list of speakers.]

The common thread of all the presentations was the idea that coming together as a single IT-standards development community that includes government, consumers, and industry is the most crucial factor in succeeding. When asked if the IT industry should shift towards using consortia-developed standards, Don Deutsch, VP of Standards Strategy and Architecture, Oracle Corporation, responded, "it is not a question of should; the industry is using a spectrum of standards development mechanisms increasingly, including consortia, joint-development agreements, as well as formal Standards Developing Organizations."

In a presentation detailing the use of standards in government, Belinda Collins, Deputy Director of Technology Services at NIST, added that she, "encouraged Federal Agencies to benefit from the expertise of the private sector, to promote participation in [voluntary standards developing bodies] to ensure the creation of standards that are useable by Federal Agencies, and to reduce reliance on government unique standards where private sector standards would suffice."

Along with ANSI ISSB and NIST, the conference was organized and co-sponsored by the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DoD DISA), Health Level Seven (HL7), Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), Uniform Code Council (UCC), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), RosettaNet (RosettaNet), SHARE (SHARE), Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and Open Applications Group, Inc. (OAGI).

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