Minister outlines plans for a global digital standards system

Digital standards must be at “the heart of research and innovation in Britain”, as well as being more accessible and based on international collaboration to boost wider engagement, a government minister has said.

The Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Saqib Bhatti, warned in a speech that “increasing fragmentation within the ecosystem, for example between states, standards development organisations, or industry players, risks making our digital standards ecosystem weaker and more unstable.”

He said duplicative, competing standards or technological approaches risks locking innovators out of global markets. At the same time, a failure to build secure and globally interoperable systems from the outset, could risk “the very safety of our society and economy” he adds. 

A global standards system 

Bhatti outlined his vision for a "global standards system" that promotes innovation with a three-pillared approach.

The first pillar is strengthening the global digital standards ecosystem by making standards development more accessible to stakeholders, including the small businesses. The AI Standards Hub, the UK Telecommunications Innovation Network and the Quantum Standards Network Pilot are using targeted outreach to encourage active engagement. 

The second pillar is ensuring that digital standards development is right at the heart of research and innovation in the UK. In the past year alone, Bhatti said £19.4 billion in research and development has been invested across the government.

Third is strengthening international partnerships and developing a common approach to safe, secure technology. 

Fit for the future 

"Building a standards ecosystem that is fit for the future requires us to invest in years of work – not just to build talent and expertise, but to get our relationships right," the Minister said. "Right now, making that investment matters more than ever. As technology evolves at an ever-faster pace, we cannot afford to lose sight of the people who it is supposed to serve."

He concluded: "Ensuring that technology delivers tangible improvements for our economy and society could not be more important. Standards are an essential part of that, and so are each and every one of you – the people who are working to build better standards, day in, day out."

New call-to-action

Also Read