A word about standards, or lack thereof

The Chunnel: a fine example of standards resolution?

Quote of the week:

"If the French and the English can agree on one set of standards for a train passing underneath the English Channel (and now running German trains!), then why can't the IT industry standardize a first name, last name. and street address? It will eventually, but why didn’t it happen earlier? The easy answer is because they (we!) didn't have to. It was much more efficient to sell tools to tame the chaos.... So how do we go about it? The obvious answer is to enable machines to read human communication instead of the other way around. The moment the paradigm shifts and data becomes readable to non-technical people first and machines second, will be the moment that machines begin to help us with our daily chores. They will finally understand what we want and need."

- Juergen Geck, CTO, Open-Xchange, quoted in GigaOm Ostatic.