Standards are In
Last week I noted the launch of a new standards group for video conferencing and calling, Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC). The development of these standards organizations is important for the success of IP communications. Consider that we make phones calls using the traditional telephone network with no thought. The standards developed by AT&T (of old) and CCITT (International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee) provided for the development of a worldwide telephone network that transmits telephone calls and communications services seamlessly. In fact, in the developed nations, it is nearly ubiquitous. However, IP communications is principally data oriented and impacted by the advent of new operating systems, devices, applications, infrastructures, security requirements and much more. There is no monotheistic body or group that manages the development and growth of IP communications. Moreover, many, including me, do not want to see the creation of such a group as we believe it will stifle creativity and innovation. However, unless we want to see the rapid progress devolve into islands of technology and fractured groups, we do need to embrace some standardization.
Today, I mostly follow the effort of the ITU (formally CCITT) and the Internet Society (ISOC). The ISOC is the group that authorizes the functions of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). While these organizations provide for a consistent infrastructure, they do not drive the open standards required at the application layer. Therefore, the OVCC, IEEE and groups working to address security, cloud computing and device interoperability standards are necessary. They must avoid impacting innovation while maintaining the integrity of the IP ecosystem. It is a fine line and only through our support and participation will they be successful.