martes, 22 de abril de 2014

ICT Standardisation in Europe

Standards are important in every aspects of the economy. Their main role is the promotion of competition through collaboration, the establish  a win-win relationship between the demand and supply side of goods and services. Their importance for the ICT sector is well-known by the usual reader of this blog, but their importance goes beyond the ICT sector. The impact of standards in the EU GDP growth is estimated between 0.3% and 1%.

The promotion of standarisation in the EU ICT sector within the standarisation of EU goods an services can be easily traced. On one hand, the Digital Agenda for Europe set up "Interoperability and Standards" as one of its seven pillars. On the other hand, as standardisation is also important to other initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, an "Standarisation Package" were put forward by the EC in June 2011 with the aim of promoting the modernisation of the European Standarisation System. This package was composed by the communication "A strategic vision for European standards: Moving forward to enhance and accelerate the sustainable growth of the European economy by 2020" and a regulation proposal on European Standarisation (this proposal was finally adopted by the Parliament and the Council as the Regulation 1025/2012).

The framework described above is the driver for a major review of the EU ICT standardisation policy. Without leaving aside the WTO principles for the development of standards (transparency, openness, impartiality and consensus, effectiveness and relevance, and coherence), the Regulation 1025/2012 set up a fast track fot using existing ICT specifications in public procurement. At the heart of this process is the ICT Standardisation Multistakeholder Platform (ICT-MSP), which has its main role the identification and evaluation of specifications for this purpose. The political backing of this processs and the group is given by the fact that its introduction in the Regulation 1025/2012 was introduced by the Parliament and the Council, as it can be easily appreciated the original EC proposal does not include neither of them. 

The main achievement of the ICT-MSP has been the development of "The Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation". The plan is a living document that try to foresee the standardisation needs on the ICT area for the support of the EU policies.

ICT standardisation sometimes it is seen as a hinder for the development of new products and services, as an obstacle for the accelerate process of the digital age. Nothing is farther od reality. As the European Council underlines in its conclusions on octuber 2013 
"There is also a need to address the bottlenecks in accessing one's "digital life" from different platforms which persist due to a lack of interoperability or lack of portability of content and data"
And only standards can help us in this task.

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