Horses for courses: which standards body's solution is most relevant to which interface?

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Klaus Martiny, Chair, ETSI ZSM ISG & Andrew Coward, CEO, Lumina Networks

Lumina Networks is an open standards company with a philosophy of "show me, don't tell me", as CEO Andrew Coward says this is the reality of "how a lot of software is developed". He adds though that is not possible to execute anything unless there is a set of agreed basic precepts in place which can open up a new segment within Lumina can participate. That said, there are then many competing standards that can determine what happens next and they take a long time come through the system which causes impatience and concern.

Klaus Martiny maintains that standards bodies are still highly relevant and says that ETSI is much closer to open source discussion and deployments than might at first appear apparent and insists that his organisation is always open to change. That said, he does admit that whilst the model for standards delivery is changing it still takes a long time.

Andrew Coward adds that as far as standards are concerned the more interested parties there at the table, the longer the process takes. In that past that was a huge problem because standards had to be complete before there could be writing any code that would be committed to software or hardware. However, today pretty much all software is "impure" and therefore is potentially quicker to get deployed. He adds that many companies are hedging their bets because there are so many standards and no-one within the ecosystem can be sure which standards from which group will eventually prevail.

Klaus Martiny says that there is a degree of competition between standards development organisations and what is missing from the equation is co-operation between SDOs and a mechanism to determine which standards body is the most relevant for which kind of interface. Interestingly he does think that there are too many standards bodies and that inevitably results in too many overlapping areas which is wasteful of time and resource.

Andrew Coward believes that there is a great need for an ecosystem to be built around any given standard before the whole thing is released. He cites 5G as a case in point and says, "It's all very well to create all sorts of 5G networking and slicing solutions but that doesn't mean anything unless 5G is already out there."

It is evident then that that the entire standards process needs streamlining and speeding-up. There is a lack of clarity in the the way the SDO's work and either co-operate or fail to co-operate together and thus the target of each standards body should be redefined and much more closely focused. Most importantly in the age of the transformed network, the new software world should be built on standards that will ensure that vendors are both open and equal in what they deliver.​

Klaus Martiny, Chair, ETSI ZSM ISG
Andrew Coward, CEO, Lumina Networks

Filmed at SDN NFV World Congress, The Hague, 2019

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