- This would appear to be a reasonable extrapolation of
the $10,000,000/standard estimate developed by Spring and Weiss.
- Network externality is an
economic concept holding that in certain circumstances the size of the market or
community that adheres to a given approach increases the value of each
instance. For example, the value of a phone increases with the size of the
network. Somewhat less directly, the value of a PC increases with the number
of PC's in that the increased market size increases the number of suppliers and
the competition reducing the individual component or product cost.
decision of a group to
a standard may be motivated by any of a number of factors.
The process of standards development
gives a group an opportunity to continue to meet. There may be significant
social and individual prestige gains for the participants that warrant this
kind of activity. Alternatively, the participants view
the standard as a means to legitimizing the technology. Yet
again, the participants may view the committee as a neutral forum
where otherwise competing
groups can drop the competition and focus
on inventing a technology, e.g. FDDI.
- Reflecting on his
comments, Rutkowski would subsequently note that the
traditional standards development organizations have
``tended to view themselves as the sole judge of what constitutes
an official International Standards Development body, or what
is an appropriate development process - even asserting a role
in certifying acceptability of other bodies.'' He notes that
this may lock these organizations into inflexible
positions and impede cooperation with other bodies.
- When this discussion
has taken place, the acceptance of an increased role for the government in the
process has always been accompanied by the caveat that it only makes sense if the
government can find a way to contribute to and support the process in such a way
that the direction and focus of IT standardization remains in the hands of the
consumers and suppliers that currently direct the effort.
- Where an individual could not accept the
final position that emerged from the group and felt very strongly about their
position, such is noted as a footnote to the main discussion.
- The problem is what to
do about the individual who says he works for a company but is not
representing it, or the consultant who refuses to say who is paying him.
There is a view that only the technical arguments count; who you are is
irrelevant. This would be true if standardization was for purely technical
purposes. But it isn't, so it is relevant.
- A similar scenario
can be painted at the international level, particularly
in countries where independent thought and action are not necessarily
encouraged. I am concerned at this point that we may be close to the point
of collapse (that is, to a world where there is no perceived standardization
process) - and if so, we need to think about what ought to replace
- Rutkowski views
the IETF as an ad hoc structure
targeted at a particular goal, and thus less ``ossified''.
- The cost of
participation in consortia greatly complicates this issue. While the
cost of participation in many of the standards
developing organizations is rather minimal, such is
not the case for consortia, as Weiss and Cargill
have pointed out. In addition, the fact that these
costs may be substantial can make them much more
visible and much harder to justify than costs
buried in travel budgets and contributed personnel
Mon Nov 27 18:45:46 EST 1995