Sunday, 23 April 2017

ICT Standardisation Priorities for the DSM

In the blog entry ICT standardisation in EU digital single market context, I tried to present the framework for the ICT (information and communication technology) DSM (digital single market) standardisation communication the European Commission published ahead of the general European standardisation package:

ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market; Brussels, 19.4.2016 COM(2016) 176 final (14 pages)

In section 3.1. Five priority domains: the building blocks of ICT standard setting (p. 5) the Commission presented its priority areas:

The Commission has identified the following priority areas: 5G communications, cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), (big) data technologies and cybersecurity. These are the essential technology building blocks of the Digital Single Market.

In addition, the Commission hoped for positive effects in other areas (p.5):

Areas such as eHealth, smart energy, intelligent transport systems and connected and automated vehicles, including trains, advanced manufacturing, smart homes and cities and smart farming will significantly benefit from the proposed prioritisation of standards, as they rely on the essential building blocks identified. A regular review of the priorities is planned so as to respond to changes in technology and society.

This set the course for future action (p. 6):

The actions identified in this Communication aim to raise the political and strategic importance of ICT standardisation as a crucial element of the Digital Single Market, in response to growing global competition. They aim to improve the focus, agility and efficiency of the standards setting system in ICT. They encourage new approaches in standardisation, such as promoting community building, attracting new sectors, promoting open standards and platforms where needed, strengthening the link between research and standardisation, including testing of the standards, promoting consistent application of standards and their uptake by the market, developing when needed certification schemes.
The priorities selected will complement other standardisation instruments used to implement European standardisation policy. In addition to the planned Joint Initiative on European standardisation, these are the Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation, and the Annual Union Work Programme.

After discussing the technical areas in more detail, the communication turned to governance in section 3.2. A high-level commitment to deliver and ensure leadership through standards (from page 12):

The Commission therefore proposes a high-level process to achieve the prioritised actions. This process will build on and complement the European Multi-stakeholders Platform, the ICT Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation and the Annual Union Work Programme for European Standardisation as delivery mechanisms for standards and standardisation deliverables.

The Commission then went on to describe the new elements under the following headings:

1) Validation of priorities and improving the efficiency of the standard-setting process in Europe
2) Regularly reviewing and monitoring progress
3) Improving EU support to ICT priority standardisation
4) Ensuring fair and non-discriminatory access
5) Strengthening the EU's presence in international dialogue and cooperation on ICT standards

With regard to globalisation, the Commission highlighted the need for international cooperation (p. 14):

Reflecting the global nature of digital technology development, the Commission will continue to proactively engage with key international partners (such as the US, China, Japan, South Korea) to ensure global alignment of priorities in the ICT domain, and a consistent approach to standard setting. The Commission intends to identify, by mid-2016, possibilities for setting-up and funding a supporting mechanism to monitor on-going work and support the participation of European experts in the relevant international standardisation and other fora working on the ICT priority areas.

Finally, the Commission presented a summary of its future actions:

- launch by 2017 a regular inter-institutional dialogue on European standardisation, highlighting – inter alia – ICT priorities in order to take stock of progress on the deliverables – and where necessary – to adapt the priorities. The Commission intends to include such regular dialogue in the foreseen Joint Initiative on Standardisation.

- work in collaboration with stakeholders including ESOs, EPO, industry and research, on the identification, by 2017, of possible measures to (i) improve accessibility and reliability of information on patent scope, including measures to increase the transparency and quality of standard essential patent declarations as well as (ii) to clarify core elements of an equitable, effective and enforceable licensing methodology around FRAND principles and (iii) to facilitate the efficient and balanced settlement of disputes.

– as of mid-2016, investigate possibilities for setting up and funding supporting mechanism to strengthen European participation in global standard setting, by monitoring global standardisation activities in the ICT domain, and support the wider participation of European experts.


Rolling Plan

For an update on the activities, you can turn to the executive summary or the whole (133 pages) Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation 2017.  

If you are content with an overview, the first 13 pages of the ICT standardisation plan offer you a fair orientation:

  • Executive summary of the sections of the Rolling Plan 2017 organised around four thematic areas: key enablers, societal challenges, innovation for the single market and sustainable growth.
  • The strategic role of ICT standardisation in the context of EU policy making
  • Promoting the implementation of standards
  • EU policy areas supported by ICT standardisation


Alphabet soup

To end on a more flippant note, if the Brussels bubble is routinely accused of being an alphabet soup kitchen, right now the Rolling Plan offers the best concentration of Brussels bubblese I remember having come across (p. 8):

The Commission would like to thank all Members of the Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation for their active collaboration and for making this document possible: the EU Member States, EFTA States, standard setting organisations (ETSI, CEN, CENELEC, ISO, IEEE, IEC, ITU, OMG, IETF/IAB, OASIS, Ecma, W3C/ERCIM, UN/CEFACT), industry associations (Business Europe, Cable Europe, Digital Europe, ECIS, ETNO, EBU, EuroISPA, SBS, OFE, Orgalime) and stakeholder associations (AGE, ANEC, ECOS, EDF, ETUC).

You might need the antidote offered by Annex III: Terms, definitions and abbreviations (from page 131), where some of the abbreviations and acronyms are explained.  


Ralf Grahn