ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

Over 100 Stakeholders Gather for 2009 Open Forum for Standards Developers

New York, Oct 15, 2009

Over 100 participants gathered together last week for the 2009 Open Forum for Standards Developers. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) hosted the event on October 6 as part of the Institute’s 2009 World Standards Week series of events.

This year’s gathering was the largest Open Forum ever held in the five-year history of the event. It brought together representatives from a diverse range of organizations, including ANSI-accredited standards developers, consortia and other fora, industry, government, and consumers. Addressing current standardization issues in the U.S. and abroad, the Open Forum provided an opportunity for all voices from the standards community to be heard.

“We know that having hundreds of standards-setting organizations participating in the U.S. standards system can create an environment in which there can be occasional overlap or duplication,” said ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia in his opening remarks. “But this also creates an opportunity for cooperation and collaboration that marks the spirit of the Open Forum that brings us together each year.”

Panel topics covered at the event highlighted three critical and timely topics in the standards community: cybersecurity, sustainable buildings, and social media.

During the first panel of the day, Cybersecurity and Its Impact on Your Organization, speakers agreed that cybersecurity is a shared priority in the standards community, calling for shared objectives that address a shared threat. Panelists demonstrated just how critical the issue of cybersecurity has become for many organizations. Mark Leary, a panelist and director and deputy CISO of Northrop Grumman, reported that of thirteen billion messages received by his company, one billion are malicious. Overall, panelists agreed that standards provide a competitive advantage in protection against cyber threats.

The Forum’s second panel addressed Building a Sustainable Future. Panelist Toby Considine, chair of the OASIS Technical Committee oBIX, emphasized the importance of taking actions toward sustainability goals that can be concretely measured, seen, and verified. Another panelist, Jeffrey Stone, representing ASTM International Committee E60, noted his perspective that sustainable measures have to address environmental, social, and economic factors – not just one of the three.

An active and informative question and answer session followed this panel. Attendees raised important issues that must be considered when discussing sustainability, including how to measure the efficiency gained by following a standard’s requirements. Others questioned the measures needed to maintain sustainable technology. For example, automatic faucets in public bathrooms may save water when functioning properly, but what happens when they break? If more water is used when the faucets are broken, and more resources are required to fix them, can it really be considered technology that supports sustainability? These and other concerns encouraged the audience to delve further into the real-world applications of standards and sustainability considerations.

The final panel of the Forum detailed Social Media Technologies. Panelist Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), discussed using the “spaghetti approach” to social media: throw everything at the wall, and see what sticks. By using many varied forms of social media to spread different kinds of information, an organization can see what social media is most effective in different scenarios and for different groups. Ms. Carli mentioned that the NFPA, for example, saw a tremendous pickup numbering eighty thousand views of a video showing a Christmas tree fire that promoted fire safety during the holiday season.

Ed Steinberg, another panelist and relationship manager of LinkedIn, advised attendees on how they could make the most efficient use of their time using social media tools. Mr. Steinberg recommended having a specific plan and objective when signing into social media sites, and logging off the site once this objective has been met. Through the question and answer session following this panel, attendees learned that some organizations have dedicated staff for social media tools and that many are exploring how to optimize their use.

“When we founded the Open Forum five years ago, we wanted to create a place where traditional SDOs and more non-traditional groups like consortia could come together,” concluded Mr. Bhatia. “I’m pleased that each of our panels had representation from both the SDO and consortia communities. This has been a very informative and interactive Open Forum, and I thank all attendees for joining us to discuss the future of standardization.”

The program and individual presentations from the 2009 Open Forum are available on the event's proceedings webpage.

Standards Portal