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The benefits of standardisation and interoperability - links to sustainable growth and innovation

<p> </p> <p>The recent completion of the standardisation work performed within the Open Geospatial Consortium by the <a href="http://wiki.services.eoportal.org/tiki-index.php?page=HMA-FO" target="_blank">HMA-FO project</a> which has addressed</p> <ul> <li>EO products matadata,</li> <li>the so-called Feasibility Analysis, based on the Sensor Planning Service,</li> <li>the Online data access, based on the Web Coverage Service and</li> <li>the Product Ordering</li> </ul> <p>have raised the question on which are the benefits of the ongoing work finalised at standardisation and interoperability.   The EO ground segment interface harmonization activity has been based on seven high level objectives:</p> <ul> <li>To manage and reduce technical risks in EO systems and operations</li> <li>To manage and reduce cost of EO system and operations</li> <li>To establish the baseline for the development of the European Space infrastructure in the context pf the GMES Programme capable of harmonizing and exploiting relevant national initiatives and assets</li> <li>To allow interoperability within and across organizations</li> <li>To increase competitiveness of European Space (and downstream) industry</li> <li>To maintain the leadership in EO systems and operations and avoid insurgence of undesired standards</li> <li>To ensure that technology drivers for the European guaranteed access to Space are lead by European Requirements</li> </ul> <p>  The high level objectives are nice to have. However to maintain the required efforts on standardisation we need to convince management and stakeholders providing supporting arguments and answers to at least three questions:</p> <ul> <li>How do we measure the benefits of interoperability?</li> <li>Does standardisation support economic growth?</li> <li>Does standardisation support knowledge and innovation?</li> </ul> <p>  The first question will be addressed today at a <a href="http://inspire.jrc.ec.europa.eu/events/conferences/inspire_2011/?page=workshop" target="_blank">dedicated workshop</a> of the <a href="http://inspire.jrc.ec.europa.eu/events/conferences/inspire_2011/?page=workshop" target="_blank">INSPIRE Conference</a>, we’ll wait for the outcome of the discussion to further report on it!</p> <p>For what concerns standardisation support to economic growth, knowledge and innovation, two independent reports from <a href="http://www.afnor.org/en">France</a> and <a href="http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/innovation/docs/e/10-1135-economics-of-standardization-update.pdf">UK</a> concur in the finding that standardisation supports the economic growth, knowledge and innovation. For what concerns innovation in particular <a href="http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/innovation/docs/e/10-1135-economics-of-standardization-update.pdf" target="_blank">it has to be noted</a> that</p> <ul> <li>standardization helps to build focus, cohesion and critical mass in the formative stages of a market;</li> <li>standardization codifies and diffuses state of the art technology and best practice;</li> <li>open standards are desirable to enable a competitive process of innovation-led growth.</li> </ul>