I was invited to a presentation by a wireless technology provider called InterDigital. They wished to discuss the current state of global standard development especially in the wireless communication space.

My career has wandered through a maze of standard setting from chairman of the standards and technical committee of a trade association, to ASHRAE and UL committees, to sitting in on meetings of some international technical standard development, not to mention researching and writing about ISA standards. To draw from the movie title, I have witnessed the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

One thing I was taught early was the dance of the big companies in the industry joining standards development committees, their representatives being smart and nice people, and those same representatives doing all in their power by asking questions endlessly to slow or halt the standards development process. Or, best, would be like an early part of my engineering career which involved rewriting the specs to match our products.

This presentation led us from the past global economic strategies of companies to the current situation of nationalism—especially by China—where they try to do the same thing. Devise alternative standards, slow development of unfriendly standards, from the standpoint of Geopolitical strategies.

We know the benefits of standardization for all of us as users. The struggle is to implement enough despite that highly evolved dance so that we do benefit.

To recap things I’ve written about for more than 20 years:

  • Interoperability
  • Safety and Reliability
  • Economies of Scale
  • Innovation
  • Open Market Access

What can I say. Get involved with standards where you can!

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