As we near the end of the month and the Easter break, a lot has happened in the world of standards. Next week, we will post a monthly summary but for this week, here are the latest developments in Standards. Please feel free to leave any comments/suggestions in the comment section below.
A road map to developing standards about to be released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology promises to improve the interoperability, portability and security of cloud infrastructures, and, in the words of Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, could help get the technology out of the Internet equivalent of the 1970s.
The NIST Cloud Computing Standards Roadmap Working Group is making use of existing, publicly available work along with the work of other NIST Working Groups to develop the standards document, Annie Sokol, co-chair of the working group, said during a presentation at the NIST Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop III on April 8. The document is set to be released this month.
The Cloud Computing Standards Roadmap document will be incorporated into the NIST Cloud Computing Roadmap, which is due by the end of fiscal 2011. The NIST Cloud Computing Roadmap will define and prioritize U.S. government requirements for interoperability, portability and security in order to support secure and effective adoption of cloud computing.
Cloud computing adoption at federal agencies is no longer a question of “if,” said Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra.
Critics of the “cloud first” initiative should embrace change and address issues that still need work, charged Kundra while speaking April 7 at a cloud computing forum at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.
“Some people have overly dramatized the challenges,” he said, while acknowledging that data sovereignty is a legitimate challenge.
“It’s not going to be a question of technology. [Data sovereignty] is going to be a question of international law, and treaties that we will need to engage in the coming years,” said Kundra.
“We’ve got a very diverse interpretation and a very diverse perspective when it comes to privacy or international security, if you look at our neighbors–Canada or Mexico–versus what’s happening in the European Union,” he said.
The guidelines provide for an industry-wide self-regulatory standard for online behavioural advertising (OBA) to ensure consumer privacy protection across Europe.
Newly proposed online privacy legislation to protect the collection, use and dissemination of personally identifiable information (PII) has divided the industry — some say it’s sorely needed, while others counter that it goes too far and will hurt business.
Two U.S. senators introduced sweeping privacy legislation today that they promise will “establish a framework to protect the personal information of all Americans.”
There is, however, one feature of the bill (PDF) sponsored by senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) that has gone relatively unnoticed: it doesn’t apply to data mining, surveillance, or any other forms of activities that governments use to collect and collate Americans’ personal information.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will be joined by Chair of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard A. Schmidt to release the administration’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) – a White House initiative to improve online security, increase privacy and foster economic growth and innovation online. Hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the event will include a panel discussion with industry leaders and privacy advocates, as well as demonstrations of innovative smart technologies being developed to improve online authentication.
NSTIC is a key building block in the national effort to secure cyberspace. According to industry surveys, as many as 8 million Americans are victims of online fraud and identity theft each year and lose an average of $631 out-of-pocket per incident. Through a private sector-led effort facilitated by the government, NSTIC aims to make online transactions more trustworthy and enhance consumers’ privacy, thereby giving businesses and consumers more confidence to conduct business online.
Adobe Systems is something of an industry punching bag in some circles for offering software wedded to a personal computer era we’re supposedly outgrowing.
It’s not going to be enough to placate critics who dislike the toll the Flash Player takes on their laptops’ battery life (never mind that Web standards doing the same thing bring a similar penalty). But it should be enough to convince rational people that Adobe doesn’t just see the world through Flash-colored glasses.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the underpinnings of the World Wide Web, isn’t just concerned about getting browsers on more mobile devices. Architects of the Web need to consider how it will affect all humanity as it evolves.
In his talk, Berners-Lee reprised his role in writing the protocols now used on the Web and how a few chance encounters led to the World Wide Web Consortium being first located at MIT. Looking ahead, he said that the W3C, which manages the development of technical Web standards, needs to adapt to the “ridiculous” number of mobile devices, including mobile phones and tablets.
As I’ve been building my own personal data collection startup, I’ve thought a great deal about how I could communicate the value of knowing and owning your own data to non-geeks. The answer came to me after making a list of all of the personal data collection applications I have signed up for. I looked at those I use religiously versus those I’ve abandoned. Those I use religiously include: RunKeeper, TripIt, Foursquare, Gowalla, Fitbit, Mint, Hashable, OKCupid, Last.fm and Foodspotting. Those that I love the idea of, but have since left behind, include: Hunch, Blippy, 23andMe, GoodReads, Plancast and Dopplr.
I know that others’ lists will be different, but the point is that this process allowed me to step back and really think about what sort of real-time value I was getting out of gathering my own data. I was able to boil the results down to three categories that, I believe, could be used to incentivize personal data collection for just about anybody. These categories are:
In order to incentivize the continued use of any personal data collection application, you either have to really excel in one of these areas or cover all three. Let me explain…
The reason Chrome is important because Google’s platform is the Web, which is defined by “standards.”
Official standards are usually determined by some group or groups of people sitting around a table and debating and writing papers and so on. That’s what HTML5 started as.
But standards don’t become meaningful until people start using them — these are so-called “de facto” standards.
Apple has jumped on the “do not track” bandwagon by adding the privacy tool to a test version of its Safari browser, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The “do not track” option is included in Lion, the next version of Apple’s Mac OS X. It’s currently only available to developers, and scheduled to be released later this year. The Journal said mentions of “do not track” started popping up in Web forums and on Twitter; Apple has not made any formal announcements.
A “do not track” option basically provides Web users with the option to not have their online activity tracked. This type of data is highly valuable to ad networks, which can use it to serve up more targeted advertisements. In many cases, relevant ads can be helpful to the Web surfer, but there is a concern that the average person has no idea what type of information is actually being collected. “Do not track” will provide them more control, according to supporters.
WAYLAND, MA–(Marketwire – April 8, 2011) - The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) and Special Interest Group (SIG) 3D recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in standards development and promotion of standards for the exchange and visualization of 3D geospatial content using Web-based technologies.
SIG 3D members defined the first version of CityGML and in 2005 submitted CityGML as a candidate standard into the OGC standards process. CityGML is a comprehensive open data model framework and XML-based encoding standard for the storage and exchange of virtual 3D urban models and is now an OGC standard. It is an application schema of the OGC Geography Markup Language 3 (GML3) Encoding Standard, an international standard for spatial data exchange and encoding approved by the OGC and ISO. CityGML has been adopted as part of the European Union’s common spatial data infrastructure, INSPIRE.
Publishers, large and small, struggle to make sure that search engines and social media sites find their stories and refer to them appropriately. They want to provide highly targeted adverts while dealing with users who are opposed to the privacy implication of sharing the personal data necessary to accomplish that. How can they build web pages with news stories where the components of the story are machine-readable, as well as human readable?
The IPTC has taken a step to solving this problem with the release of the first draft of the rNews standard. Details of rNews are available at http://dev.iptc.org/rNews.
Oracle made the announcement today that OpenOffice will become a community project and no longer a commercial endeavor.
It’s not a surprising move. But it does feel like a victory for the open source community and a sign that Oracle may be easing up a bit on its hard-line stance toward the open source community.
WebGL, a standard that enables hardware accelerated 3D animation in HTML5 (you can see some examples here). Unlike WebSockets and other unfinished specs, WebGL is now a complete specification with support from every other major browser. Microsoft, however, has no plans to implement WebGL.
Here’s the statement the company gave us this week:
Browser vendors are implementing WebGL as a way to get partial hardware acceleration after developers rewrite their code. With Internet Explorer 9, developers receive GPU-powered hardware acceleration without rewriting a single line of code which we feel is a better outcome. We look at the real world patterns of the things developers are building today and want to build tomorrow, and balance this against the risk with including things that will likely change in the future. Sometimes there seems to be a race going on to try to make headlines “by claiming to be first” to implement specifications. We don’t think that is healthy. Interoperability is not about being first. Instead, we wanted to provide a stable platform for the web. We focused on building test suites with the W3C for specs that were considered “done”, but where there were real interoperability gaps. These are not that the “sexy” problems that get talked about.
It’s a shame. IE9 and 10 look to be great browsers. But the harder I look at what Microsoft is doing, the harder it is to believe that its browser strategy is developer friendly.
Combine this with Chrome’s Native Client and the ongoing war over a video codec standard and I think we’ll see a return to the bad old days soon.
Last week’s inaugural NASA Open Source Summit in Mountain View, Calif. was aimed at identifying the agency’s issues surrounding open source tools and using the power of the web to collect policy recommendations.
The Summit organizers convened thinkers and leaders in open source technology from around the country, including representatives from RedHat, GitHub, Google, the Department of Defense, Mozilla, IBM and from within NASA itself. If you want to review the play by play, I liveblogged the NASA Open Source Summit at Govfresh.
Not only are they announcing the bringing online of their new data centre, but they are open sourcing its design, specifications and even telling people who their suppliers were, so anyone (with enough capital) can approach the same suppliers and replicate the data centre.
Smart Grid Standards
The European Commission presented, on 12 April, its ideas on how to push smart grids forward. The communication focuses on developing common EU-level technical standards so as to provide interoperability of different systems. Officials hope that a first set of smart grid standards could be in place by the end of 2012. The Commission also talks of ensuring the highest level of data protection for consumers and grid operators. Data protection safeguards must be defined before systems are developed, says the communication. Additionally, the Commission requests that members states produce action plans with targets for smart grid implementation. Other points on the executive’s programme include guaranteeing transparency and competitiveness of the retail market. There should be minimum requirements on information provision for customers in a revised Energy Services Directive, due this summer. The Commission further boasts of promoting technological innovation. Over the last decade, the EU has spent about €300 million out of over €5.5 billion invested in some 300 smart grid projects. Still in 2011, the Commission will propose new large-scale smart grid demonstration initiatives on research and development projects for modern electricity networks. The Commission will also launch, in the “coming months,” an industrial initiative on smart cities and communities.
With its grand vision of modernizing public transport in the country, the Philippine government Department of Energy (DoE) is pushing for collaboration with other concerned agencies in setting standards for vehicles, including those which would be using alternative fuels.
Despite some failing experiments in other countries and many more which cannot move into commercial scale, the energy department clings on to vision that electric vehicles and the conversion of jeepneys to natural gas vehicles (NGVs) would become its trump card in solving the country’s pollution problem and to chip away from the vagaries of volatile oil prices.
“That’s why the DoST (Department of Science and Technology), DoTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) component is very critical to us. There will be new standards, new safety standards,” Energy Secretary Rene D. Almendras said.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, many utilities could be unprepared to deal with the impact of EVs on the electrical grid, due to a lack of standards for sharing information between utilities and external systems.
Although the smart appliance market is off to a slow start, it will experience greater growth beginning in 2013, and by 2019, it is expected to represent $26.1 billion, according to a new report from Pike Research.
The smart meter market increased 250% over the past two years and is set to triple over the next decade, according to ON World. Relentless energy demand and intensifying challenges associated with building new power plants make customer participation a top priority for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) projects.
A few of ON World’s research findings include the following:
• 13 million electric AMI meters were shipped last year in North America.
• By 2014, Europe will surpass North America and Asia will be the fastest growing AMI market.
• Twenty four percent (24%) of the surveyed utilities indicate that they are likely to use a public network for AMI within the next five years.
• Most in-progress Smart Grid standards use an IP stack such as ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0, IEEE802.15.4g, and IEEE1901.2.
• By 2020,150 million electric AMI meters are planned to have a HAN gateway.
Paris (Teletechwire): ETSI’s first Smart Grid workshop, held at Sophia Antipolis on the 5th and 6th of April 2011, attracted over 250 participants from Europe, China, Japan, Korea and North America. Representatives of the power and ICT industries came together to address the challenges they face in standardising Smart Grid technology.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) seeks public input on the candidate Open GeoSMS Standard which would help define location-aware and location-based SMS applications more clearly.
According to the OGC, the reason for proposing Open GeoSMS is because Location Based Service (LBS) devices or applications of different brands or from different vendors are often unable to share LBS information with each other which poses a potential barrier to the development of the LBS industry. Open GeoSMS also opens up a host of new opportunities around location-enabled SMS.
NEW YORK, LONDON, SINGAPORE & SAO PAULO, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) (www.mmaglobal.com) today published “Guidelines and Best Practices in Mobile Price Promotions” for North America. Created by the MMA’s Mobile Couponing Task Force, the document is designed to provide marketers, merchants, wireless carriers and other mobile marketing ecosystem members with an industry-standard standard for using mobile coupons and rebates to increase sales and promote consumer loyalty.
LAS VEGAS–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Beginning later this year, PBS will initiate testing on a next-generation emergency alert system, which is designed to deliver multimedia alerts using video, audio, text, and graphics to cellphones, tablets, laptops and netbooks, as well as in-car navigation systems. Building on the flexibility of the ATSC Mobile Digital TV broadcast standard, the PBS pilot project will test capabilities designed to lead to a comprehensive new Mobile Emergency Alert System (MEAS), part of the first major overhaul of the nation’s aging Emergency Alert System (EAS) since the Cold War. PBS Chief Technology Officer John McCoskey will announce the pilot project today at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas.
The Department of Defense (DoD) research arm is seeking to develop encryption technology to secure data in iPhones and Google Android-based mobile devices.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to create full disk and system encryption for the smartphone devices that can be used not only in the DoD but also across agencies, according to a request for information (RFI) posted on the FedBizOpps.gov site.
“The primary purpose of this RFI is to discover new technologies and methods to support full disk and system encryption of the [commercial mobile devices] (specifically Apple and Android platforms) to include a pre-boot environment to load the operating system,” according to the RFI.
The ESNA project enables high effective networking based on cheap wireless sensors in a wide range of business applications – from more comfortable and energy-efficient environmental controls to precision monitoring of agricultural resources.
The EUREKA ITEA software Cluster ESNA project has developed a flexible framework for business-oriented wireless-sensor network applications using a standard architecture to facilitate communications between all types of smart device – from domestic appliances and environmental controls in the home to the latest process control equipment in factories.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program, which is designed to give IT pros confidence that they’re allowing well-supported mobile devices to connect to corporate networks. Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) has become the standard protocol for mobile device syncing and policy control. The problem has been that even device makers that license the protocol from Microsoft can implement it at different levels on their smartphones and other mobile devices. The new logo program will certify that a given device meets a minimum level of EAS support.
X9, the official body for technical standardization for the financial services industry, develops, establishes, maintains, and promotes standards to facilitate the delivery of financial services and products. Because NTRU is smaller and faster than other public key crypto, it provides numerous performance and security benefits to the financial community. Financial institutions can now offer high-security data communications without incurring hefty costs or sacrificing performance, which has not been possible with other public key crypto such as RSA. Additionally, because of its small footprint, NTRU is ideal for handheld and mobile devices that historically haven’t offered strong encryption security due to limited computing resources.
Recognizing the need for stronger crypto that will hold up under increasingly powerful attacks, such as those that will be enabled by quantum computing, and understanding how NTRU is unique in its ability to do this, the X9 standards body created the X9.98 standard and certified NTRU. It is the only crypto to be X9.98 certified, which specifies cryptographic functions for establishing symmetric keys, using a lattice-based polynomial public key encryption algorithm. “Security Innovation has always been committed to improving IT security and protecting customer data,” said Adams. “The availability of crypto that meets this new standard, in NTRU, is a significant advancement for the financial community.”
Zhang Qi, director of the China Information Industry Trade Association (CIITA), announced at the China Mobile Payment Industry Summit in Beijing today that 13.56MHz was tentatively selected as China’s national contactless payment standard in a meeting in November 2010 between government regulators, Chinese banking network China UnionPay and China’s three major mobile operators. The meeting was organized by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and the Standardization Administration of the Peoples Republic of China (SAC). 2.4GHz will likely be limited to use in closed application environments such as corporate buildings, and will not be used in the banking and financial sectors.
The Khronos Group pushes for an open API standard for advanced input devices to enable innovations by sensor and device manufacturers, while simplifying portable application evelopment.