The Software, Standards and Society in 2020 Series: 4. The Growing Importance of Informal Standardization

New consortia and alliances are formed virtually daily with the announced purpose of addressing some pressing need for standards. There are so many Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs) today that even the largest organizations can not participate in all of them. Clearly, the fact that all the 500+ fora/consortia standards cannot be referenced in legislation in the EU27 is a good thing. Even more clearly, the fact that none of them can, is a problem. In fact, this is a major problem, and a legacy from the pre-Internet era, that is thirty years ago.

In the meantime, new standards, or “specifications” in Eurospeak (since the word standard is a reserved term for official stuff from recognized standards bodies) pop up all the time. The formal standards system is rapidly eroding, at least in the software space. And, with time, software becomes an enabler in all industries, and they will all get their own software standards. But will the software logic prevail?

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Trond Undheim, Ph.D, Director of Standards Strategy and Policy at the Oracle Corporation, speaker, entrepreneur, blogger, and author, is one of the world’s leading experts on technology and society. LinkedIn profile

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