"IEEE Moves to Reclaim Standards Clout" in EE Times
[This is a repeat of a message I posted to the SEC reflector on April 20, 1999.]
There's a very interesting article entitled "IEEE Moves to Reclaim Standards Clout" <http://www.techweb.com/se/directlink.cgi?EET19990419S0104> in the April 19 _EE Times_. It's mostly about ISTO but also about corporate balloting in IEEE Standards. They interviewed Andy Salem (CEO) and Peter Lefkin (secretary, treasurer, and CFO) of ISTO, plus Judy Gorman. It starts out:
"After watching a big chunk of its time-honored job of standards creation and marketing creep to consortia and other groups over the past few years, the IEEE is fighting back. It has set up a services organization that aims to work with the very groups that have usurped IEEE control of standards, and it is also changing voting techniques and the time frame for standards development in an attempt to shake off its image as a slow-moving bureaucracy."
I found the article to be a little annoying. It seems that ISTO is trying to differentiate itself from IEEE Standards, and it's a fine line between "differentiating itself from" and "badmouthing." The article also plays up the fact that, in the world of industry consortia, ISTO is just another player. So I fear that IEEE is damaging its strength in order to support an organization with a questionable future. I would rather see ISTO focus on augmenting what IEEE Standards does by offering services that support IEEE Standards (marketing; IPR management; interoperability testing). In other words, cooperating instead of competing. I realize that this is conservative stance, but I don't buy this fatalistic approach that suggests that IEEE Standards are a dead horse. I hope to someday hold up 802.16 as an example of how well the system can work.
By the way, I am a little familiar with ISTO. About a year ago, I starting talking to Andy Salem about doing a broadband wireless access standard with them. He encouraged me to take a dual approach, organizing both ISTO and 802 efforts. When they hired Peter Lefkin, I spent more time with him. They kept saying they could offer services, but they wouldn't be specific; they just kept saying that they would be flexible enough to meet company needs. It seemed to me that they were saying that we should write our own procedures and that they would administer them for us. We didn't have companies who wanted to write their own procedures from scratch, so I asked them for a proposal. A couple of times, they failed to meet their deadlines to give us one, and we never heard from them again.
Now that I've read the article, I still don't know what services they plan to offer. And I can't think of a single reason why we'd be better off working with them than with 802, or in addition to 802.