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How Do You Balance Network Innovation with Standards?

- June 1, 2011 - 0 Comments

Do you recall what it was like before email? Nah, me neither. If you were around for the pre-email/pre-personal computer era, you may recall sending someone a letter written using a pen and paper. The only way the letter would arrive safely was (and still is) to affix a stamp to it. Feels like ancient history now when it’s possible to email a message around the globe within a matter of moments.

Suffice it to say, technology has advanced the method and speed at which we communicate. But innovation hasn’t happened in a vacuum; the standards governing the technology industry have evolved, too. Just imagine what your digital life would be like if we didn’t create standards. Would you want to put postage stamps on your email messages?

Of course, the question is, how do you balance innovation with standards? Without standards, you may miss out on the brilliant innovations that have come before (security and a framework that keeps things running smoothly, to name a couple). But rely too heavily on standards and you miss out on future innovation.

In our continuing coverage of the Seven Myths Around the Good-Enough Network on Silicon Angle, we explore myth number four–The Standards Myth.

“When companies lock themselves into standards-based networks,” Cisco’s Michael Rau (Vice President, CTO, for the Borderless Network Architecture) writes in his post, “they miss out on a higher-level of service innovation and occasionally underestimate the integration cost involved in making the components of a standards-based system work together. Yes, standards should be used, but businesses looking for a competitive edge need to look for solutions that are also innovative.”

Operating purely based on standards means that innovation takes a back seat. The right solution is somewhere in between–adhering to some standards while taking into account innovations that may not yet be based on a standard. It’s the new innovations that will lead to increased speed, efficiency, and improve business operations overall.

Just think, if we didn’t ever look past existing standards, we might still be sending letters the way our grandparents did. Read Mike’s entire Standards Myth post on Silicon Angle’s site.

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