The 2018 priorities for ICT standardisation in support of EU policies

Linking European policies to standardisation activities in the ICT sector: that’s the main goal of the Rolling Plan for ICT standardisation. The 2018 version, outlining the priorities for the development of ICT standards in Europe, has been recently published by the European Commission (EC). 170 actions divided in four thematic areas (innovation for the digital single market, key enablers and security, societal challenges and sustainable growth) will drive the development of ICT standards in support of European policies.

What’s new compared to the 2017 Rolling Plan? Let’s dig into some of the actions identified in the 2018 Rolling Plan for ICT standardisation.

 

INNOVATION FOR THE DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET

The discussion on the use of blockchain and distributed digital ledger technologies is definitely on the rise and talking about standardisation of this technology is not less important. There are no doubts that blockchain is one of the most promising technology to share data and manage transactions in a controlled manner. We can also see it applied to fields such as eHealth (e.g. to keep health records) or eGovernment (e.g. to manage intellectual property rights and eID). Nevertheless, a lack of harmonisation and interoperability still undermines the full potential of this technology.

That’s why the EC has established a liaison with ISO Technical Committee 307 on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies so to engage in and contribute to the development of the future blockchain standards. Among the actions in the pipeline, the Rolling Plan for ICT standardisation includes the identification of blockchain use cases which are relevant for the EU in order to initiate targeted standardisation activities.

KEY ENABLERS AND SECURITY

Cybersecurity is still considered as priority domain for Europe’s standardisation strategy. In particular, standards developers are asked to develop a “guided” version of the ISO/IEC 27000 series (information security management systems) specifically addressed to SMEs, possibly coordinating with ISO/IEC JTC1 SC27 to extend the existing guidance laid out in ISO/IEC 27003. This guidance should be 100% compatible with ISO/IEC 27000 series and help SMEs to practically apply it, including in scarce resource and competence scenarios.

Luckily enough, SBS has already published an SME Guide for the implementation of ISO/IEC 27001 on Information Security Management (also available in French) and will follow up on this action to make sure that the expertise developed will be taken into account for other SME-oriented actions.

SOCIETAL CHALLENGES

The Commission recognises the need for efficient and interoperable e-learning solutions for a large technology-enhanced learning market in Europe. The e-Competence Framework (EN 16234-1:2016) provides already an efficient and broadly accepted common European language for knowledge, skills and competences of the ICT professional workforce. SBS has substantially contributed to its draft and has recently published a brochure on the SME way towards the implementation of the e-Competence Framework.

In light of the rapidly evolving ICT world, standards developers are asked by the Commission to keep the European e-competence framework (e-CF) up-to-date so to maintain this comprehensive framework for ICT professionals. But here comes the question: how to assess and recognise that a candidate really has the e-competences he/she declares to possess? To reply this question, the European Commission envisages the development of an e-Competence assessment methodology. The purpose of this activity will be to define how, whenever/wherever such e-competences have been acquired/developed. This result will also promote transparency and provide guidance on the relation between the e-CF and the field of ICT trainings and certifications.

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

It is widely documented that the construction industry is one of the most relatively inefficient industries in Europe for what concerns both processes and productivity.  This is also due to low level of digitalisation. Only 8% of EU construction enterprises with a high digital intensity index[1]. A first step to invert this trend should come from standardisation of data dictionaries, i.e. a common language for the exchange of data on construction products. The creation of such European vocabulary will then constitute the basis for the spreading of digital tools to be used for collaborative construction processes all over Europe.

Again, SBS is fully involved in standardisation works in the area of digitisation of the construction sector. This is done in the framework of CEN TC 442 on Building Information Modelling, were SBS is represented by two SME experts.

[1] European Commission (2017). Europe’s Digital Progress Report 2017