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Stakeholders Call for Increased Cooperation at Open Forum for Standards Developers

New York, Jun 21, 2006

On June 20-21, nearly one hundred stakeholders from standards developers, consortia and other forums, industry, government, and consumers gathered in New York City for the Open Forum for Standards Developers hosted by American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The forum’s panel discussions, presentations, open dialogue, and networking opportunities allowed the attendees to exchange perspectives on the most salient issues facing standardization today with the purpose of identifying opportunities for harmonization and collaboration.

“To succeed in today’s global marketplace, we must foster positive cooperative relationships between our respective organizations and help to establish standards, testing programs and marks, if needed, that are suitable for implementation worldwide,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “One fact is crystal clear: new types of standards developing activities and more flexible approaches can, and in some places are, addressing marketplace needs.”

The program gave voice to the diverse perspectives at play among standards users and providers. Participants examined various stakeholder perspectives on third-party recognition and the benefits and challenges of taking standardization to the international level. Discussions also focused on identifying potential hurdles and creative solutions to issues posed by cross-sector convergence in the marketplace, joint efforts in standards development, dual logos, and intellectual property rights. Case studies offered attendees an in-depth analysis of domestic, regional, and international harmonization efforts currently underway in the arenas of healthcare information technology, the electrotechnical industry, and electronic commerce.

Common themes among various stakeholder groups that emerged from the event underscored the need for standards that promote interoperability between products, services, and other standards; the challenges of accelerating the standards development process; and the benefit of harmonizing standards to reduce duplication of efforts. Forum participants explored the paradigm shift in standards development where convergence of technologies is presenting challenges that are forcing the community to adapt and evolve in order to meet stakeholder needs.

Calls for increased collaboration to develop mutually beneficial solutions were echoed by the myriad stakeholder groups represented at the event. In particular, observations of sparse consumer involvement in standards setting underscored the need for a renewed focus on engaging this important group in development activities. Attendees also highlighted the value of the forum’s extensive networking opportunities in building new partnerships. Standards users emphasized the need for standards that are technically sound, globally relevant, accessible, market driven, and affordable.

“ANSI’s challenge is to determine how we can further support these activities by supplementing and enhancing what has been done to date, by helping to create new structures and solutions if needed, and by facilitating connectivity,” said Bhatia.

In response to needs expressed by attendees at the event, ANSI has committed to several follow-up collaborative activities. Planning will begin soon for a spinoff event that will focus on significant legislative outreach efforts initiated by the standardization community. The Institute has also made a commitment to continue and expand its successful, use-case based standards panel model, and plans to launch in 2006 a new activity on identity management and protection[See related article, New Standards Panel to Coordinate Identity Theft Protection Standards Activities]. Finally, ANSI will engage new data content providers—including consortia and other forums—to expand the range of standards metadata housed on the NSSN: National Resource for Global Standards search engine. Actions will also be taken to increase the frequency of data update cycles in order to provide the most relevant metadata to standards developers and users.

Click here to view the program and presentations from the Open Forum.

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