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Summaries of the Contributions of Invited Speakers Challenge to the Workshop Participants Robert M. White, President National Academy of Engineering Washington, D.C. In 1987 the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) published a report entitled Strengthening U.S. Engineering Through International Co- operation. This report had been prepared at the request of the National Science Board. The report recommends it. . . in-depth studies of the needs for, and benefits from, more assertive and better coordinated U.S. partici- pation in international standards development.... Issues to be addressed . . . include definition of U.S. policy toward international standards, . . . authority to represent the U.S. in international standards activities, . . . funding of participation, . . . and assessment of impact of standards on competitiveness of U.S. products." This workshop is part of NAE's effort to continue the recommendations of that committee. The National Academy of Sciences, and its sister organizations the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, were chartered by the government both to honor distinguished scientists, engineers, and medical practitioners and to provide advice to the government on technical matters. The results of this workshop constitute the advice that the academies, by their charters, agree to provide. 9
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10 Innovating in a Standardized World Peter R Schneider V.'ce President, Systems and Programming International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, New York The data processing industry has experienced astounding change over the past two decades, including major developments in technology in terms of memory sizes, processor speeds, and sophistication of applications. Fun- damental changes in the way this technology affects business have resulted from several key trends. Information technology, spurred by greater com- puter literacy of business executives, has been integrated into every part of an enterprise and not confined to the classic "machine room." Exchange of information between corporations can add competitive advantage to both parties as they leverage the value of information. Mergers and acquisitions have stressed the data processing resources in terms of interconnection, interoperability, and system management. And the growth of multinational corporations competing in a global economy has expanded the information technology resources to be managed. Given these trends, information technology equipment suppliers must (and did) change. The marketplace demands a blend of the niche products, systems integrators, application solutions, and equipment suppliers with many varying combinations. Leo major trends are evident in suppliers. First, there is a recognition that survival in a multivendor world requires increased need for compliance with interconnection and interoperability standards. Second, the formation of alliances through partnerships or joint development and marketing efforts has become a new way of life. Alliances provide a means to expand market coverage or to avoid costly research and development efforts by using component building blocks both hardware and software. The two trends sometimes merge when consortiums or other alliances work to agree on protocols or technology choices in order to promote interoperability. Examples of cooperative efforts are numerous and varied in orga- nization and form: industry trade association, industry participation in government-sponsored cooperative research, voluntary standards-setting or- ganizations, and industry cooperative agreements and consortiums. Each has particular strengths that affect the standardization process of the in- formation technology industry. In the future, all of these forms will con- tinue. For example, some technical areas of cooperation have such rapid technology advancement (e.g., humanimachine interface) that formal stan- dardization processes will not be able to keep up. On the other hand, joint research and development (R&D) efforts may effectively provide the latest technology across a broad product set. Also, different organizations have differing views of intellectual property and copyright protection. These
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11 views may impede contributions to cooperative efforts in some forums and hinder adoption of standards agreements by other organizations. Stronger industry focus is needed to manage the combined strengths of these various cooperative approaches and the common issues they face. The Users' Viewpoint on Standards-Based Communications Michael A. Kaminski, Manager CommunicationsJManufacturing Automation Protocol (MAP) Program General Motors Corporation, Warren, Michigan In the late 197Qs General Motors (GM) decided to increase sig- nificantly automation in manufacturing. Quality improvement and cost reduction were required if the company was to remain competitive. As GM proceeded, they found the task very complex because of the diversity of plant floor equipment and the computerized elements necessary to automate manufacturing. Half of the computer systems costs were communications related, and 80 percent of the task was systems integration. Only 20 percent of the effort was left to focus on applications that actually automated the manufacturing processes. The time, complexity, and cost led to islands of automation rather than an integrated system. The longer-term objective was to extend automation beyond the factory to encompass the engineering, design, business, adminis- trative, customer, and supplier processes and to provide total improvement of processes throughout the enterprise. There is still a long way to go. The recognized need for standards prompted GM in 1984 to sponsor the Manufacturing Automation Protocol (MAP) User Group to accelerate the availability of factory floor communications standards and products that would be available for many kinds of manufacturing. Later, the MAP User Group expanded to include the Technical Office Protocol (TOP) effort, which embraced engineering, office, and general management information system (MIS) environments. Through the efforts of the MAP1OP User Group and others, solutions are starting to become available to provide a core of data communications functions. There is much yet to be accomplished if GM's ultimate vision is to become reality. The desire to achieve open systems and the standards that accomplish that task are not limited to the manufacturing industry. Common solutions can, in fact, meet the requirements of the majority of users, independent of the particular equipment, operating system, or . . . communications services. 1b accomplish the longer-term objectives, an umbrella group called the Information Technology Requirements Council (ITRC) has been formed to provide a structure to expand the scope of work and the breadth of
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12 participation, including industry, government users, and the equipment supplier community. Several roadblocks exist before rapid progress can be made. Among these are competing technologies, multiple consortia that confuse and divide users, duplicate activities in multiple forums that overlap but don't harmonize well, lack of corporate commitment (both user and vendor), and a perceived lack of market acceptance. In addition, standards take too long from the conception of a standard to the delivery of products that incorporate that standard. The solution to remove such roadblocks involves several elements. The equipment suppliers have to make a commitment to standards-based technology. Users must be educated on the importance of Information Technology (IT) standards and make a commitment to become proactive in standards setting as well as staunch mandators of standards in their procurement. Users and vendors need to work together to improve the standards-setting process. The benefit to both consumers and providers are significant The users will be able to enhance their competitive posture based on their ability to easily and effectively automate company processes. The vendors will be able to focus more resources on tools that provide more usable functions to the user community and will utilize fewer resources in reinventing the same wheel with no significant value added. These standards should become the platform upon which to add value and innovate. The end result should be broader markets for products and a significant step forward into new areas of technology and applicability. Can Standards Help Industry in the United States to Remain Competitive in the International Marketplace? Irvin Dorros Executive Vice President, Technical Services Bell Communications Research, Livingston, New Jersey The creation, transport, and use of information are fundamental activ- ities in the service economy. The service sector, now employing 67 percent of U.S. workers, is the home of the knowledge worker. Knowledge workers assimilate and manipulate complex data through sophisticated worksta- tions that are networked with other knowledge workers and data banks worldwide. A public network infrastructure is needed to support the knowledge workers of the future. If the United States does not have such an efficient and ubiquitous means of interconnection, then U.S. knowledge workers would be at a disadvantage in the world economy. Information networks are already becoming key to market success. Companies in banking and
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13 the airline industry have achieved success based on the strength of their information networks. An enabling information infrastructure, established worldwide, would be to eve~yone's benefit, and standards are a key ingre- dient. Five types~of standards play different roles in the public network in- frastructure. These are (1) end-to-end performance standards, (2) interface standards, (3) service standards, (4) equipment standards, and (5) configu- ration standards. There are three different ways in which a standard could come to play a part in the public network. These are (1) de jure, or when a standard is established by law; (2) open and public, as a product of the formal standards bodies; and (3) de facto, or when a product or technology becomes so well established in the absence of a standard that it becomes the measure against which future entrants are judged. Of the five types of standards, end-to-end standards and interface standards are those that require the public standards process. Service standards, equipment standards, and configuration standards do not have to be agreed upon on an industry-wide basis. In fact, they may be the basis for product or service differentiation. Standards makers have a difficult task in balancing often conflicting goals to arrive at standards that have the desired attributes. On the one hand, we would like standards to be timely, to promote innovation, and to allow competition. On the other hand, we desire compatibility, economies of scale, and market stability. It is not possible to satisfy both desires, and compromises are required. Standards, once they become established, can be hard to change; a threshold, which can sometimes be quite high, has to be overcome before they can be replaced. Two cases in point are the difficulty of establishing metric units of measure in the United States and the challenge of replacing the "qwerty" typewriter keyboard layout with a more efficient configuration. The standards process is changing worldwide, with growing activity on all fronts. Our industrial structure in the United States has traditionally been based on an inward-looking society of internal competitors. Japan, which came of age industrially at a later time, developed a more externally focused approach. This approach seems to be more in tune with the current world economy and the changing standards developing process. Although the United States remains first class in technology, it might be falling to a second~lass information infrastructure. Several changes are needed for improving the competitive position of the United States, including (1) changes in national antitrust policy to encourage cooperation on standards, (2) the adoption of a systems approach toward information technology on a national level, (3) increased attention by industry participants to standards making, and (4) speeding up the process for interface and end-to-end standards making. Subject
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14 matter experts should participate in standards making as part of their jobs, and industry managers should set the strategy and the tone for standards developing agreements. The standards process is now a public laboratory for the telecommunications industry's forward-looking work. Information technology and information technology standards are im- portant for competitive advantage in the U.S. economy. What we should all be working toward is a globally connected information network in which all knowledge workers can access the multimedia information they need on demand. An American in the Japanese Standards System John P. Stern Vice President, Asian Operations American Electronics Association, Tokyo, Japan Anyone with considerable personal experience in the Japanese stan- dards developing system knows that policy changes have occurred over the last 10 years. Access to the Japanese standards setting bodies is now available to U.S. firms. The question is how to use it and why. For the question of how to use the Japanese system, only fluency in Japanese and a technical competence of it&D-level experience will be an effective starting point to being respected and influential at the Technical Committee level. Participation at the Divisional Council level, the highest level of approval before promulgation, and above is only available to Japanese citizens, independent of their employer. However, the Divisional Council will listen to noncitizen witnesses. At all of these meetings, the Japanese member participants are high level, both technically and in their corporate or government positions. Those who represent U.S. interests must be similarly qualified. On the question of why we should participate, it is disturbing to hear that Japanese take foreign and international standards into account at the initial product development time, while U.S. vendors sometimes only discover the importance of Japanese standards at the sales presentation. A point overlooked by many U.S. companies is that Japanese com- panies, while competitors to some, are the developers and suppliers of replacement and future components and subsystems, and they may de- termine the viability of current designs through their decisions for future products. Another overlooked market (other than Japan itself) is the Japanese- owned plant overseas. These plants may well be only the initial wave of Japanese standards onto foreign shores.
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15 The European Community: Will Standards Open or Close the Market in 1992? L. John Rankine Chairman, ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 L. John Rankine Consulting Services, Westport, Connecticut The objective for the economic merger within the European Commu- nity beginning in 1992 is to have in place the agreements to dismantle the technical and physical barriers between the member countries. The physical barriers refer to the movement of goods and people; and the technical ones refer to standards, procurement, telecommunications, and so on. It will take many years beyond 1992 to implement the agreements. The full ramifications of Europe 1992 are difficult to determine at this stage, and the overall effects, good or bad, will affect European interests as well as U.S. ones. Development of a sense of hysteria in the United States about 1992 is counterproductive and tends to create a United States versus Europe polarization that need not be created. It is also positioning standards making as a key trade issue when, so far, it is not. As a result, the U.S. government is being drawn into the private sector standards-making process unnecessarily, and the private sector voluntary standards-making process is likewise getting too involved in areas best dealt with by government. Separation and judicious coordination of government and private sector efforts are needed. Within the Europe 1992 framework, the information technology indus- try is viewed as most vital. It depends heavily on international standards for its implementation. The International Organization for Standardiza- tionfInternational Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) and Interna- tional Telecommunication Union/International Consultative Committee for Telephone and Telegraph (ITU/CCIIT) standards developing bodies and processes are the best approach for reaching international accords. If stan- dards do not facilitate the open marketplace, then the General Agreement on Tariffs and Made (GATE) Standards Code can be invoked. The formation of the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee was a major step forward in unifying information technology standards. Regional orga- nizations lee the Standards Promotion and Applications Group (SPAG) in Europe, Corporation for Open Systems (COS) in the United States and Promoting Conference for Open Systems Interconnections (POSI) in Japan are also making progress in harmonizing standards profiles and test suites, which are essential to the successful interconnection and interoperability of information technology systems. The current international standards struc- tures and processes need to be refined and improved to maintain relevance and leadership.
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16 The current apprehensions over Europe 1992 have stimulated discus- sion on the question as to whether or not a new national standards structure is needed in the United States. While it may not be necessary to restructure the U.S. voluntary consensus standards system, the existing processes re- quire considerably more support and many refinements to satisfy the needs of information technology standardization. Information technology inter- ests are poorly represented at the management level in both the national and international standards structure. It is a critical need for U.S. industry, users, and government to revitalize a consensus standards writing system in which all pay a proper share and in which all are fairly represented. If this national need is not met, then the problems for U.S. competitiveness in 1992, and beyond, will be exacerbated.
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