Open Standards and Government Policy

Open Standards and Government Policy

Mogens Kühn Pedersen (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark), Vladislav V. Fomin (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania) and Henk J. de Vries (Erasmus University, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-320-3.ch013
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The fast growth in globalization stimulates the trend of open standards and challenges governments in devising policies for the national information infrastructures to foster equal access to and even distribution of knowledge among citizens and business. In response, governments may seek a more active role in standardization as they face challenges from being stakeholders in use of standards; a need for new standards may drive governments to become participants in the standardization process, and to require conformance assurance by the market, and search for a policy on migration from an installed base of proprietary solutions. In this chapter the authors identify some critical issues, which can help government decision makers opt for select positions and interventions in standardization.
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The role of national governments in the context of global informatization is fostering information infrastructures that create equal access to and an even distribution of knowledge among citizens and businesses (Castells, 1996). Efficient functioning of the information infrastructure requires standards for effectively implementing interoperability and interchange of information-based processes and products in the society, which, in turn, requires competent government policy for choosing and adopting broadly recognized standards that do not bias solutions towards specific implementations (Fomin, Pedersen, & de Vries, 2008). Adoption of relevant standards is also required for protection of the critical infrastructure (GAO, 2004).

An increasing interest in standards across governments may be traced to the understanding of the huge economic impact a lack of standards policy can have upon national economies (Garcia, 1992), and government budgets in particular. It is through sharing a common standard that anonymous partners in a market can communicate, can have common expectations on the performance of each other’s product, and can trust the compatibility of their joint production. Thus, standards are necessary for the smooth functioning of anonymous exchanges – and therefore, for the efficient functioning of the market (WTO, 2005). The sheer size of the information technology markets, representing a growing share (more than 10 percent) of the global economy, attests to the economic magnitude of standards’ influence on products. Practically all ICT products implement one or more standards – de facto or de jure. This is due to the component nature of all ICT hardware and the many software and hardware interfaces that need being specified.

Compatibility and information and services exchange come with a cost in the age of rapidly developing technology. With major shifts of technology paradigm taking place every decade, governments and businesses alike are facing the huge migration costs of ICT structures built in previous eras of computerization to make them meet the requirements of the present day operations (Hertz, Lucas, & Scott, 2006).

Given the technical criticality and economic importance of standards in the functioning of modern information society, there has been an increasing interest in open standards across governments (IBM, 2005). Open standards are understood as “technologies whose specifications are public and without any restriction in their access and implementation” (Reding, 2008). In the context of this work, we refer to open standards along the lines defined by European standardization organizations: open standards are (1) developed and/or affirmed in a transparent process open to all relevant players, including industry, consumers and regulatory authorities; (2) either free of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) concerns, or licensable on a fair/reasonable and non-discriminatory (F/RAND) basis; (3) driven by stakeholders, whereas user requirements must be fully reflected; (4) publicly available; and (5) maintained (ICT Standards Board, 2005, p.10). Following these process requirements, the standard should not favour a single company or group of companies against others in implementing the specifications. While this technological condition echoes the pluralist rhetoric of democratic society (Oksala, Rutkowski, Spring, & O’Donnell, 1996, p.11), it often presents a challenge for policy-makers, as almost all technologies have vested commercial interests driving their development into standards though specific proprietary technologies.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Kai Jakobs
Chapter 1
Martina Gerst, Eric Iversen, Kai Jakobs
The chapter argues that any distinction between “e-business” and “infrastructure” is artificial. It shows that the lower-level techncial standards... Sample PDF
An Integrated View of E-Business and the Underlying ICT Infrastructure
Chapter 2
Knut Blind, Stephan Gauch
The chapter provides an overview and subsequent analysis of the demand for e-government standards in the EU. It describes the requirements for... Sample PDF
The Demand for E-Government Standards
Chapter 3
Knut Blind
Against the background of theoretical typologies of service standards, a survey among European service companies addressed the question, in which... Sample PDF
A Taxonomy of Service Standards and a Modification for E-Business
Chapter 4
Richard Hawkins
With specific reference to information and communication technologies (ICT), this Chapter examines the structural relationship of various... Sample PDF
Business Models and the Dynamics of Supply and Demand for Standards
Chapter 5
Ian Graham, Raluca Bunduchi, Martina Gerst, Robin Williams
For RFID technology (radio frequency identification), the forms of the standardisation processes are co-evolving with the technology and are being... Sample PDF
Emergence of Standardisation Processes: Linkage with Users
Chapter 6
Kai Jakobs
This chapter briefly outlines a study that looked at potential links between ICT / e-business standards’ origins and their subsequent success in the... Sample PDF
Perceived Relation between ICT Standards' Sources and their Success in the Market
Chapter 7
Kai Jakobs, Jan Kritzner
The chapter tries to provide the information that potential standards-setters should consider when selecting a standards setting body (SSB). It... Sample PDF
How to Select the Best Platform for ICT Standards Development
Chapter 8
W. Lemstra, V. Hayes
In this chapter the authors explore and describe the role of the innovating firm in relation to the standards making process of Wireless-Local Area... Sample PDF
The Shaping of the IEEE 802.11 Standard: The Role of the Innovating Firm in the Case of Wi-Fi
Chapter 9
Tom McGuffog
In this chapter, the evolution of is described. The ever-changing balance between demand and supply is outlined. The conclusion is... Sample PDF
The Evolution of e.Business: Can Technology Supply Meet the Full Business Demand?
Chapter 10
Mingzhi Li, Kai Reimers
This chapter analyses and evaluates the Chinese government’s 3G policy of supporting the creation and implementation of the country’s indigenous... Sample PDF
China's Practice of Implementing a 3G Mobile Telecommunications Standard: A Transaction Costs Perspective
Chapter 11
Akio Tokuda
To develop automobiles that fulfill the criteria of “environment-friendliness” “advanced safety”, and“riding comfort”, coordination between ECUs... Sample PDF
International Framework for Collaboration between European and Japanese Standard Consortia: The Case of the Automotive LAN Protocol
Chapter 12
Tineke M. Egyedi
There is a continuous pressure for improvement in e-business. Increasing technical possibilities, new forms of outsourcing, the ongoing integration... Sample PDF
Between Supply and Demand: Coping with the Impact of Standards Change
Chapter 13
Mogens Kühn Pedersen, Vladislav V. Fomin, Henk J. de Vries
The fast growth in globalization stimulates the trend of open standards and challenges governments in devising policies for the national information... Sample PDF
Open Standards and Government Policy
Chapter 14
Ioannis P. Chochliouros, Anastasia S. Spiliopoulou, Tilemachos D. Doukoglou, Elpida Chochliourou
The European Authorities have promoted a specific and innovative framework for the use of electronic signatures, allowing the free flow of... Sample PDF
Developing Measures and Standards for the European Electronic Signatures Market
Chapter 15
Esther Ruiz Ben
In recent years, the ICT branch has experienced new internationalization impulses through the improvement of offshore practices. Particularly the... Sample PDF
Quality Standardization Patterns in ICT Offshore
Chapter 16
Manuel Mora, Ovsei Gelman, Rory O’Connor, Francisco Alvarez, Jorge Macías-Luévano
This chapter develops a descriptive-conceptual overview of the main models and standards of processes formulated in the systems engineering (SE)... Sample PDF
An Overview of Models and Standards of Processes in the SE, SwE, and IS Disciplines
Chapter 17
Martina Gerst, Kai Jakobs
Successful cooperation between large manufacturers and their suppliers is a crucial aspect, especially in the automotive industry. Such mutually... Sample PDF
E-Business Standardization in the Automotive Sector: Role and Situation of SMEs
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