Leaders of 36 IT standards bodies and industry consortia met last week at the Informal Forum Summit of the International Telecommunication Union's Telecommunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T), where they shared insights and discussed possible areas of co-operation.
The two-day meeting in San Francisco was the second such summit spearheaded by Houlin Zhao, director of the ITU's Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau (TSB). The first was in December 2001.
Most of the discussion revolved around ways to facilitate communication in the future rather than actual co-operative initiatives between specific bodies, Zhao said.
Zhao kicked off the summit initiative in 1999 as a way to improve the ITU-T's relationship with industry forums and their relationships with each other, he said. He also sought to counter the proliferation of industry organisations by helping existing ones work together on new issues.
Organisations represented at the summit included the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and 3GPP-2, the International Forum on 4th-Generation Mobile Communications (4G Forum), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the IPv6 Forum, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems (Oasis).
Co-operation among such groups can help foster new technologies and the markets for them, participants said.
"Each of us sees the opportunity of working together as a way that we can advance... products to market. By working together and diminishing the amount of duplication that might otherwise exist, we actually also reduce the cost in some cases," said Ron Young, chairman of the Metro Ethernet Alliance.
A broad statement agreed on by the 69 representatives called for co-operation to increase the collective value of the technologies they work on and allow for a more accessible global information network, Zhao said.
It also called for co-operation to accelerate standardisation of technologies, share best practices, use economies of scale and improve interoperability.
The representatives also agreed on some co-operative activities and common areas.
Stephen Lawson writes for IDG News Service