Standards and the National Information Infrastructure: Implications for Open Systems Standards in Manufacturing

by Caroline S. Wagner, Carl F. Cargill, Anna Slomovic

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Government planners anticipate large efficiency gains for manufacturers from a national information infrastructure (NII). Standards of interoperability or interconnection are essential to providing open product data exchange for industry. Nevertheless, the process for providing the standards of interconnection that will support the NII is nearly nonexistent, in large part because the current voluntary standards process is driven by vendors who have little interest in creating open system standards. After many years of watching groups of vendors attempt but fail to provide open system standards based on technology links, users have begun a quiet revolution in standards setting by establishing cooperative groups to define open computing standards independent of the constraints of available technology. This cooperative, user-based activity may act as a model for supporting the development of standards for the NII.

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