Concept


Context

An opportunity presents itself to have a workshop on standardization in the area of ICT on December 15th, 2010 within the program of the Future Internet Conference Week, in addition to other ICT related research events organized at ICC in Ghent, Belgium at that time, and also under the umbrella of the Belgian EU presidency. This standardization workshop is a one day activity.

Moreover, from a European perspective, the relevance of having a debate on standardization with all related communities and stakeholders, is clearly stated and suggested in the white paper ‘Modernizing ICT Standardization in the EU – The Way Forward’ by the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/files/whitepaper_en.pdf). Also it is understood that ICT and Standardization may be addressed in the new Digital Agenda of the Commission.

Contacts have been established between IBBT, other research centers in Belgium, FITT consortium partners, standardizations organizations such as MPEG, IEEE, W3C and CableLabs, and Belgium’s largest employers’ organization and trade association Agoria. Some contacts have also been made with European Commission officials and with the Belgian government.

Concept

Standardization, while promoting innovation, is an important part of the R&D-activities. Even in the very early stage of research, standardization is yet an issue, e.g. for the new technology to be universally recognized, having a quick launch to market, ensuring quality and facilitating trade, enhancing visibility and transparency…

Main focus of the workshop is to discuss the role of research in the domain of standardization, including in relation to other stakeholders in this field such as industry and policy organizations. In particular, following aspects can be part of the discussion

-          Research results  (intellectual property, possibly protected) fitting for standardization

-          Research institutions’ availability or accessibility to standards (in progress)

-          Research leading to standards, and vice versa, standards generating further need of research

Followed by some key presentations and testimonials, having a constructive and summarizing debate with all three stakeholder groups, and hereby pointing out the position of research in the area of standardization, will lead us to a successful event. The idea of the ‘standardization workshop’ is to bring organizations involved and their stakeholders together in order to effectively and efficiently reach the target focus and closely interact within the research-industry-policy triangle. This will enable an interesting debate across different disciplines and communities and raise the visibility of the achievements with public authorities and companies.

In relation to patents, there are commonalities as well as potential conflicts.

Patents and standards are opposed in terms of monopoly versus free collective use. It is quite a challenge to find the balance.

  • Rights of patent owner to enjoy benefits
  • Third parties want to make and sell interoperable products corresponding to the standard
  • Public (user, consumer…) wants freedom to choose between different products even after a standardization
  • Standardization authority cannot define a standard that will be blocked

Especially for research environment, where patenting is a rather recent and less common activity (certainly in Europe, and even more likely in ICT), it is not easy to elaborate the right patent strategy related to sometimes overwhelming standardization aspects.

IBBT focuses strongly on the link between ICT technology and its application domains. We recognize that software, communication technologies & networking, service platforms, etc. are crucial component for a number of industries such as health-care, mobility and media.

The industry invited for the standardization workshop will complement this point of view from an industrial and more commercial perspective. Present policy organizations will further clarify and enforce societal challenges and international co-operation aspects.

IBBT being a partner in the European FITT-project for fostering interregional exchange in ICT technology transfer, and in which the aspect of standardization is considered at a European level, all other FITT consortium partners are invited to participate to this event. By its presence the FITT consortium can and will play an important role on this workshop.

Finally, European ICT associations such as ETNO and Digital Europe should be approached and informed about this plan or initiative, including their potential role during the workshop could be further discussed.

Implementation

First initiative originating from IBBT already more than one year ago, the standardization workshop has become a co-operation between IBBT, Agoria and FITT consortium partners.

 The format of the program is based on suggestions from the organizing parties, originating from the needs of the different communities. As to location and timing, the event is taking place on December 15th, 2010 at ICC in Ghent, incorporated in the Wednesday offer of the Future Internet Conference Week at that time.

The idea related to schematic presentation above is to have a few keynote speakers from standardization and policy organizations, which are further invited for the closing panel debate. In addition, a research and an industry team respectively will also join the panel debate.

The research testimonials, as well as the presentation from Agoria will be rather short, i.e. about 15min each. A large-scale industry company and a SME are also invited for about 15min on their related experience in standardization matter. All keynote speakers, i.e. from standardization and policy organizations, are programmed for 30min each.

The standardization workshop will include the following outline:

The idea related to schematic presentation above is to have a few keynote speakers from standardization and policy organizations, which are further invited for the closing panel debate. In addition, a research and an industry team respectively will also join the panel debate.

The research testimonials, as well as the presentation from Agoria will be rather short, i.e. about 15min each. A large-scale industry company and a SME are also invited for about 15min on their related experience in standardization matter. All keynote speakers, i.e. from standardization and policy organizations, are programmed for 30min each.