ITU: Standardization critical for global industry

Technology heads from major companies call for "overhaul" of ICT standardization and offer recommendations to better address needs of industry.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

A band of IT heads is urging the need for an "overhaul" of the global infocomm technology (ICT) standardization framework, calling upon the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to champion such efforts.

At the ITU headquarters in Geneva this week, 19 CTOs from industry players including BT, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Nokia Siemens Network, as well as the ITU senior management, gathered for a meeting to discuss the current standardization landscape.

The delegates highlighted the importance of global standardization for the ICT market, in this rapidly-changing information society, to ensure interoperability across the industry.

Standards, they said, are the "universal language" that drives competitiveness, efficiency and innovation. They can also open up new markets are organizations from emerging markets are able to join a level playing field.

"Standards are a proven and key driver in the successful growth and deployment of new ICT products, services and applications," said Malcolm Johnson, director of the ITU's telecommunication standardization bureau, in a press statement released Thursday.

"While there are many examples of successful standards collaboration, a fragile economic environment and an ICT ecosystem characterized by convergence makes it all the more important to streamline and clarify the standardization landscape," said Johnson.

The CTOs noted that the standardization landscape has become complicated and fragmented, comprising different industry forums and consortia. It is also increasingly difficult to prioritize standardization resources.

They urged the ITU take the lead in "an overhaul" and review of the global ICT standardization landscape. The IT heads listed recommendations and actions that they said would better meet the changing needs of a fast-moving industry, facilitate the launch of new products and services, promote more cost-effective products, combat climate change and address the needs of developing countries for greater inclusion in standards development.

Johnson said: "We have agreed on a number of concrete actions that will help us move toward this goal and strengthen understanding of standards' critical role in combating climate change, while better reflecting the needs of developing countries."

The ITU will host a Web portal providing information on the interrelationship of standards and standards bodies. This, the industry body said, will facilitate the work of industry and standards makers and promote cooperation and collaboration while avoiding duplication.

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