Technology standards are a core part of ensuring that digital innovation is beneficial to all.
Tomorrow, 17th May, is the UN-observed World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. It emphasises the importance of ITU standards in popular technology. This year, its focus is on ‘bridging the standardisation gap.’
We look at the ways in which global standards can make the Fourth Industrial Revolution work for everybody, not just a few.
They ensure interoperability
Standards are not merely to ensure fairness among technology-based industries. They ensure interoperability and innovative growth in industry. At Blockhead, we support standardisation in our own industry, since helping in the creation of RMI’s blockchain standards in 2018.
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said: “[ITU] Standards ensure interoperability, open up global markets and spur innovation and growth. They are good for developed and developing countries.”
Standards will also ensure interoperability, which means that platforms can’t exclude other businesses and consumers by making them exclusive and private. Interoperability encourages a system where information can be exchanged between different platforms, and this helps the platforms in turn become accessible.
Interoperability will be a key part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and standards help us get ahead.
They encourage innovation
Standards provide accessibility to those in developing countries, through allowing them control and insight into standardisation of technology.
Getting developing countries involved in standardisation ensures two things: that experts in those countries have access to standards, and that communities have input into global standards where they may not otherwise.
Standards in developed countries can also ensure that innovation can occur within the standardised limits, so that some platforms don’t actively exclude other ones.
They ensure fairness
In many cases, developed countries monopolise the standards making process.
That’s because those in developing countries are often less educated about standardisation and have limited access to standards. Global standardisation brings the opinions of developing nations into the decision-making process, so that they can make contributions that apply to their own individual countries.
A use case: blockchain
Blockchain technology is useful in a variety of areas, but one it excels in is providing accessibility to those in developing countries. Blockchain can allow those with limited access to technology to have identity documents, to access secure money transfer and to access information that they otherwise might not be able to.
Standardising blockchain is a necessity, because it ensures that companies ensure that their blockchain platforms are interoperable, secure and accessible. This allows it to be accessible to all, instead of merely a few.