Blog 4.0

The Consortium and Standarisation

by Ray Gallon on 3 August 2017 No comments

A recent announcement from OASIS, the standards body that looks after DITA and DOCBOOK, among many others, recently made an announcement that merits our attention in the Information 4.0 Consortium. Part of that announcement reads as follows:

We are pleased to announce the availability of two new Committee Specifications by the members of the Biometric Services (BIOSERV) TC:

Biometric Identity Assurance Services (BIAS) SOAP Profile Version 2.0 
Committee Specification 01 
11 July 2017 


WS-Biometric Devices Version 1.0 
Committee Specification 01 
11 July 2017 

The Biometric Identity Assurance Services (BIAS) Soap Profile… specifies the design concepts and architecture, data model and data dictionary, message structure and rules, and error handling necessary to invoke SOAP-based services that implement BIAS operations.

Together, the BIAS standard and the BIAS profile provide an open framework for deploying and remotely invoking biometric-based identity assurance capabilities that can be readily accessed across an SOA infrastructure.

The emergence of web services as a common communications bus has profound implications for biometric services. The next generation will not only need to be intelligent, secure, tamper-proof, and spoof resistant, they will also need to be interoperable.

WS-Biometric Devices is a protocol designed to advance this goal, with a specific focus on the single process shared by all biometric systems. 

What we see here is important work done by a recognized standards body that publishes its work as open source. These standards respond to a need of the Industry 4.0 technologies by creating services and protocols that can be shared among competitors to ensure interoperability (a pre-requisite for Industry 4.0) and security.

Put another way, people understood that they needed a standard, and got together to make one in order to meet their needs. This is a far cry from deciding that we are going to create standards when no one has yet identified what we need them for.

The founders of your consortium have been mindful of this, and we propose that we not include standards creation at all in the charter, as that should be left to organisations that are specialised in that task, such as OASIS.

Implications from these standards

None the less, the Information 4.0 consortium needs to take note of these standards. They form a part of the information ecosystem in which we are working, but they also demonstrate that the technologies we are looking at as essential to Industry 4.0 really have importance, and that what we are doing here in the consortium has relevance for the rest of that same ecosystem.

The information that we manage, design, create, and curate will pass through the filtres of many technologies, including these biometric services. We, as specialists in information, must also be conversant in these technologies so that we know how our information needs to be shaped and molded to interwork well, to pass via the different protocols developed, and to take its proper role in transparency and interoperability.

Our ability to do that will also be a measure of how well we fulfill our humanist mission, and the very existence of these technologies underlines just how seriously that mission needs to be taken, not only by us, but by all the players in the ecosystem.

One of the founders of this little consortium, a humanist nerd by self-appointment, professional stratosphere walker and curmudgeon all in one.

Ray GallonThe Consortium and Standarisation

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