World without StandardsHave you ever wondered what it would be like if the world operated without the common standards? Most standards are developed by independent organizations with representatives from many of the vendors who sell or manufacture products. These standards bodies meet at regular intervals and create work groups to develop common standards that all the vendors adhere to. Can you imagine a world without cross-vendor interoperability?  Wouldn’t that be a nightmare?

A typical work day, in a world without standards, would probably look something like this:

I arrive at the office for another productive week of work. I’ve been pulling my rolling briefcase behind me so I’m quite tuckered out. It’s a bit of a workout, even when using the elevator.

My laptop is large and heavy because it needs to be able to support all the embedded technology since there are no common standards covering interoperability. It has an 18-inch screen and comes with a processor that handles all five of the bestselling operating systems. Let me just take a moment to lift it out and put it on the desk. I just have to make sure I keep a straight back and bend at the knees.

I will now get out the power supply unit (PSU). It’s great, because I only need to carry one PSU around. One end connects to the laptop and the other end accepts just about every kind of power plug. I have to carry five plugs because each office and hotel chain I visit is configured with different outlets. The PSU – actually a voltage regulator – works with all of the various electricity outlets and voltages.

Now I need to connect to the network. Again, my trusted laptop rises to the task with the entire left side (the side opposite the laser disk player) has seven different copper network interfaces. There are round, flat, and even “squarish” interfaces connecting to copper cabling of various diameters and impedances of the more reliable, but expensive, coaxials and twinaxials.

I’m almost ready to start working; I just need to decide which application I’m going to work on first. This will determine which operating system I will boot up. The computer always runs faster when I have only one, or perhaps two, operating systems running at the same time. Today, I’ll be running a spreadsheet app; and as everyone knows it only runs on one particular operating system from the same software vendor.

I set the laptop to boot up, and it should be ready to use by the time I get my cup of coffee. My new laptop, with all that functionality and convenience, weighs in at less than 15 pounds.

Oh no, it looks like I spoke to soon. I see a popup window telling me there are quite a few software updates that have to be installed. I might need a lot more coffee for this.

Thankfully, we do not have to endure working with technology like this because we live in a world with standards. There are standard plugs, standard cables and standard operating systems for your particular business. It is easy to forget what the world would be like if the standards bodies, operating almost without acclaim, didn’t work to help create certain standards involving the technology we interact with daily.

Take a moment, look around, and imagine how your typical work day would be without standards. How do standards impact you?

CommScope publishes a summary of progress within several standards bodies relevant to the structured cabling industry. Be sure to check out the latest edition of the Standards Advisor to learn more.

About the Author

Neil Farquharson

Neil Farquharson is the solutions marketing manager for CommScope’s Enterprise business unit. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1991 with an honors degree in Electrical Engineering. Over the next 13 years he worked in manufacturing industry managing the production of goods including shielded thermocouples, monocrystalline germanium and consumer-packaged-goods. In 2003, he attended the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas where he gained an MBA with a concentration in Marketing. For the past 10 years Neil has specialized in making the world of telecommunications, the Internet and cloud computing accessible to larger audiences. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and young daughter.

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