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Technical standards

Technical standards are simply interfaces that allow things to connect at will. For example, the electrical socket in your wall uses a common standard that allows you to get electricity when you plug in a device. When your electrician installed that socket in the wall, you didn’t have to know in advance what you might want to plug in to it. And device-makers can be confident that if their plugs follow a common standard, you will be able to plug it into your wall.

 

Those of us who travel a lot wish that the world had a common electrical standard, but alas it does not. And, sadly, these kinds of standards are not as common in business as you might think. But things have come a long way in the last ten years or so.

 

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Software as a Service (SaaS) are ways to bundle small pieces of functionality into pods that anyone can access. PayPal, for example, handles payments securely and quickly. But even such a simple thing as a standard protocol for email addresses (first initial, last name, for example) can help people connect with less friction.

 

The future is podular.

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Taken on April 18, 2011