Mr. Johnson also described his efforts to bridge the standardization gap by getting more developing countries, universities, and research institutes involved in ITU-T's standards activities. Over the last seven years, more than 40 new countries have gotten involved, Mr. Johnson noted, with "new countries and new faces at every study group meeting." Responding to a question on how the increase in developing country participation has affected the development of ITU-T recommendations, Mr. Johnson said that it has benefited and has not slowed the standardization process. Developing countries don't have the same national industries that drive technical requirements - primarily, they want to contribute their requirements and understand how to implement the technologies.
In fact, requests from developing countries for assistance with quality and interoperability issues are what drove ITU's interest in a conformity assessment program. Mr. Johnson described the effort, currently a pilot driven by Study Group 11, where an accredited testing laboratory would test a product or service against an ITU-T recommendation. If the vendor wishes, the fact that the test was passed could be published in a publicly accessible ITU online database. This would be a voluntary effort, and would only continue to grow if there is a market demand for a centralized conformance resource of this type. Mr. Johnson acknowledged that there is a long road ahead, and that ITU-T is reviewing other groups' existing conformity assessment initiatives to identify best practices.
"In order to continue our forward-thinking perspective and maintain leadership in telecom, ICT, and IT innovation, the international standardization community must commit to working in tandem towards solutions," concluded S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. "There is no doubt that these industries will continue their meteoric growth, and that's why we need a comprehensive approach - one that involves close coordination between the public and private sectors, and participation by stakeholders nationally and internationally."