asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a report on the progress of the Focus committee on information technology standards and its areas of study.
The Focus Committee on information technology standards was established in April 1981 to promote the development of information technology standards of central importance in computing and communications. Focus activity embraces the production, promotion and use of IT standards. Three sectoral committees covering the interests of suppliers, private users and public users work in concert with Focus.Focus has already completed reports on priority areas for standardisation; on open systems interconnection which dealt with the production of standards for distributed computing systems; and on local area networks which has proposed further work on both LANs and integrated services local networks.The Department of Industry has taken action following recommendations through:
The Focus project leader for OSI is Mr. Roy Harris, Director, systems evolution and standards, British Telecom, and for LANs is Dr. David Leakey, technical director of GEC Telecommunications. Both also serve on a Focus management group, whose task it is to ensure the momentum on OSI and LAN standards projects is maintained.
Focus sees the need for greater awareness of IT standards among users and suppliers. Focus members, or their organisations, are thus helping to develop an awareness campaign, while the private sector users committee has put forward a specification for an IT standards users association, which would seek to increase the influence that users have in standards bodies.
Use of IT standards in procurement is being tackled by Focus through:
While Focus is concentrating resources on OSI, LANs and ISLNs, it will continue to monitor other IT standards areas of importance. Future Focus initiatives may include the impact of the absence of
IT standards in particular key application areas, for example in office automation; the preparation of standards for software production, and the examination of text processing standards.