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Technology, Innovation and the Challenge of the Missing Standards

Dec 03, 2008, 22:17 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

"These are worthy and important goals. Like the other commendable promises the president-elect has made, they will be difficult to realize, for reasons both obvious and subtle. The obvious challenges include a crowded and ambitious agenda, the difficulties of achieving political consensus, and above all, the overarching urgency of addressing a global economic meltdown that demands attention above all else.

"But there are subtle hurdles that are equally daunting, if less visible. They include the need to develop a multitude of new information and communications technology (ICT) standards in record time, utilizing a standards creation process that is at best loosely coordinated, frequently contentious, and almost completely independent of government influence or control. Moreover, the current standards development infrastructure was never designed to create the suites of closely integrated standards that will be needed to solve the types of complex problems embedded in the Obama technology and innovation agenda. But while the challenge of creating standards-based solutions may be uninteresting from a policy perspective, an inability to perform in this pursuit may present as serious an impediment to success as any failure to secure requisite funding or garner sufficient Congressional support."

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