A meeting which discusses the establishment of a telemedical information society, sooner or later faces the concept of standardisation. Before an attentive ITIS'98-audience, Dr. Simon Smith, a European Commission representative from DG III Industry, gave a short introduction to the Information Society Initiatives in the Standardisation programme, referred to as ISIS. He invited possible project candidates to urgently submit their proposal for the recent call of this European programme. For the current year, the European Commission has assigned a funding capital of 3 million ecu to the ISIS sponsoring activities.
Projects supported by ISIS all have to deal with information and standardisation in some respect. The programme has a specific orientation towards the industry and the market and as such, is independent from the R&D framework departments. There is no competition whatsoever between the conventional standardisation process and ISIS, since the both of them are having a complementary relationship to each other. The work performed within the ISIS-projects is focused on standards underpinning the information society related domains of high economic and social impact. They mainly concentrate on application, validation or demonstration.
The ultimate goal consists in elaborating a targeted promotion as well as in building awareness of the possibilities offered by the use of standards. In this regard, the ISIS-programme enables the project workers to obtain a considerable added value. Indeed, this European Commission initiative provides a rapid response mechanism to industrial needs. It stimulates convergence in situations where standardisation is fragmented or blocked. Additionally, both the risk and the cost of entry for the industry into novel standardised technologies is substantially lowered. The industry, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the various user groups and even ordinary citizens of the European Community can play an influencing role in the ISIS-programme.
Dr. Smith referred to the organisation of workshops and the establishment of project teams and industry force to define the existing standardisation toolbox facilities. Currently, ISIS is hosting 14 projects, covering 6 different themes, namely bio-informatics with Euromed as one of the leading projects; multimedia systems; teleworking; health care networks; SME promotion; and electronic commerce. The most striking result is the industrial success of the biostandards. Overall, ISIS generates a high leverage through wide-scale participation from the industrial party, which very much seems to like the collaborative model with the European Commission.
Future realisations imply the dissemination and promotion of best practice in the domains of multimedia, teleworking, electronic commerce and bio-informatics. The present call will be published in the Official Commission Journal on June 15th. The deadline for submission of new proposals is set on September 4th of this year. Once the proposal has been approved, the contract can be signed on December 31st, with a fresh project getting started at the beginning of 1999. If you are interested in the latest call for proposals, please join the ISIS site for further information.