Pervasive standards and their impact on the standardization ecosystem and society

Project: Research direct

Project Details


In recent years, standards have become enormously successful. In our increasingly connected world (e.g. digitization of society, IoT), standards allow us to define a way in which products and services can interconnect and successfully work together. ‘Open’ standards are developed in a process that safeguards transparency of the process, access to standards, openness to any party with an interest in a specific standardization to have meaningful opportunities to participate at every stage of the standard development, and impartial and consensus-based decision-making. In many ways, we can consider the increasing importance of standards to be a desirable thing. After all, the alternative (which is monopolization of solutions by a single firm) is much less attractive from a public interest point of view.

In the coming years, the role of standards will become even much more prominent. Firstly, the Grand Societal Challenges as recognized by the EU and other world regions call for massive investment in technological solutions to solve problems in the field of sustainability, energy, mobility, ageing, and more. These technologies will predominantly be interconnected and ‘smart’, and, as a result, heavily rely on standards. Secondly, new technologies have also brought along vulnerabilities, especially in the field of cybersecurity and privacy. Solving this requires – again – standards (i.e. identity management). Thirdly, several key enabling technologies will reach maturity in the next years, including broadband communications (5G, local and wide area networks), cloud computing, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), nanotechnology, and biotechnology. For these enabling technologies, standards will be of key significance.

The central research question in this study is “How does the pervasive nature of standards impact the standardization landscape, and how can actors adapt to these changes?”
Effective start/end date1/09/2031/08/24