The public consultation on the adoption of a Priority ICT Standards Plan which has been proposed in the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy was held from 23 September 2015 until 04 January 2016.

Infographic on standards

Objectives of the public consultation

This consultation is part of the EU’s Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, and relates to an action on developing standards and interoperability in the ICT domain. The Commission has sought input from stakeholders in order to obtain feedback on the underlying problem analysis, and to obtain stakeholders’ views on a possible future priority-setting policy on ICT standardisation. The consultation covered key technology areas considered essential to achieving the DSM and time-tables for the necessary standards development.

Who replied to the public consultation?

The Public consultation gathered a total of 156 replies (with 135 respondents replying as organisations and 21 as individuals) using the EU Survey tool. Twelve additional replies were received by email and they will of course be included in the final analysis.

The participation from stakeholders was overall balanced, covering views from all relevant stakeholder groups in this policy domain.

The distribution of the respondents is shown in the following diagram:

Distribution of respondents

Preliminary trends observed in the public consultation

Without prejudice to the results of the analysis of the public consultation, the following trends can be observed overall:

  • Regarding the Commission’s initial problem analysis on ICT standardisation, the consultation responses highlight the importance of promoting timely standard-setting processes that reflect European interests as much as possible. Further, the need to define priorities to organise standardisation work effectively is clearly supported by stakeholders. The appropriate sequencing and timely availability of ICT standards are broadly seen by respondents as important for the effective functioning of the DSM.
  • Stakeholders also agree on the importance of improving the ICT standardisation ecosystem to boost competitiveness, facilitate global market access and ensure that products can seamlessly interact in the digital single market.
  • The majority of respondents also agreed on the importance of setting priorities to pursue European global leadership and on the need of reinforcing European presence in global standardisation.
  • Some respondents proposed that in addition other measures can be implemented, such as the definition of a clear political framework for competition and interoperability for digital products and services, the establishment of objectives (i.e. what standards should help to achieve), or the support for SMEs and research centres to participate in standardisation.
  • A majority of respondents expressed support for the use of standardisation requests, the Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation and regulatory measures as the most effective instruments to complement the prioritisation and ensure that it is taken up by the relevant standard setting organisations. This is illustrated in the diagram below.

Question 1.5 – What would be the most effective instrument at EU level to ensure that any such prioritisation is taken up by relevant standard-setting organisations?

Most effective instrument at EU level to ensure prioritisation is taken up by relevant standard-setting organisations

  • Respondents expressed their expectation that Prioritisation of ICT Standardisation would positively impact on Europe’s effort to pursue leadership in global standard-setting and hence to capture new global market opportunities.
  • The respondents selected the following areas as priority domains (figures are total values without considering ranking)

Selection of priority domains

  • A few respondents suggested additional domains such as media / publishing, digital financial services, eCommunication and other sub-domains.
  • Among the actions outlined for the different domains the respondents proposed landscape and gap analysis, development of specific use cases and guidelines for wide promotion and uptake of standardisation, actions for supporting trust, security and privacy, identification of legal barriers, promotion of community building and pilot projects, facilitation of the cooperation between standards bodies, support of skills & education, fair IPR policy on standards essential patents, testing & interoperability, support of international dialogue, increasing the presence of EU experts in international & global Standard Setting Organisations, and support of open platforms for standardisation.

Next steps

The Commission is carrying out an in-depth analysis of the replies to the public consultation. A full report will be published online in due course. The results, along with the advice of the European Multistakeholder Platform on ICT standardisation, will feed into the elaboration of the Priority ICT standards Plan to be adopted by the Commission in April 2016.