The Importance of Open Standards

Recently Adobe announced that it is going to drop support for its Flash Player on mobile devices.  Although this was not a complete surprise it still caused uncertainty for developers and organizations delivering content to mobile devices. It turns out that the latest HTML5 standard delivers most, if not all, of the Flash Player capabilities without the need for a special Flash Player mobile application.

This announcement is also a distraction for organizations that selected a collaborative solution based on the Flash Player.  Time and time again organizations suffer when they select solutions that are based on proprietary technologies instead of open standards.  It’s becoming too expensive for companies to develop and support their proprietary solutions whenever a comparable supported standard is available.

If you’re in the market to introduce a collaborative environment or looking to replace your current environment, you should use this announcement as a reminder to choose a product that’s based on industry standards.  When looking at the delivery mechanism for the collaborative solution you should make sure that the delivery is web based for all of your traditional devices.  An app offering is acceptable for a mobile delivery; however, it’s important to confirm that the app is easily and readily acceptable to your entire mobile community.  In addition, for large organizations, it’s possible that the collaborative environments will need to be interconnected with a collaborative environment elsewhere either now or in the future.  For these situations, it’s important that the solution implements either XMPP or SIMPLE so that these environments can interoperate.  And finally, if audio and video is required, the solution should include support for Voice Over IP (VOIP) along with connectivity to a Private Branch eXchange (PBX) to bridge calls to traditional voice communications.

Whether it’s for collaborative technologies or any other software solution, select a product that is based on standards supported by a well known consortium such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).  By selecting a product that uses a standard you are assured that the product will interoperate with other products and increase the likely-hood that it will be supported in the future. Thus reducing that chance of being caught in a situation similar to those currently delivering Flash content to mobile devices.

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