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CASE STUDY: USB-IF
Draft 2009-05-05 (Mattias Ganslandt, Jonas Andreasson and Martin Sutinen)
Work in progress, comments most welcome!

Basic facts about USB-IF
Webpage http://www.usb.org/ Organization tagline Combined SSO and marketing platform for USB technology Main standardization areas USB technology Best known standards USB Classification The non-formal organization is controlled by ahandful of members. USB-IF combines all features necessary for maintaining the standard for the whole business spectra. Does the SSO have any explicit or implicit policy relating to interoperability? USB-IF states that it strives to “eliminate interoperability problems by ensuring proper implementation of USB products”. Interoperability requirements are a part of certifying a product. The USB 2.0Adopter Agreement, which has to be signed, is also made out to promote interoperability. Is there an explicit strategy to facilitate or contribute to interoperability? USB-IF has several test labs around the world which are responsible for compliance testing of products which includes interoperability tests. There are also frequent trade shows which display interoperability of products. Proceduresfor testing of a proposed/developed standard with respect to interoperability and backward compatibility? Backward compatibility is incorporated in the standard development process. Testing is done at testlabs and events and there are also test suite and guidelines available from USB-IF. USB-IF supplies both testing, validation and certification. What are the procedures (internal or external) forimplementation? Implementations are made by vendors which then may get them certified through USB workshops and testlabs. USB-IF offers guidelines for implementation and conformance.

Understanding ICT standardization – case studies

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How is compliance enforced and what are the consequences of defections and deviations from the standard? USB-IF hold the rights to USB trademarks andconformance logos. Only certified products may use these logos. USB also have a USB-compliant product list. Failure to certify a product excludes the product from the list, however USB makes clear that this does not mean that the product necessarily is non-compliant to USB specifications.

Did the SSO develop competing standards for the same or similar type of technical problem? The IEEE 1394 standardis used for the same kind of technical problem that USB addresses. Some of the IEEE 802 standards are also in competition with the USB wireless specification (Bluetooth, ZigBee, Wi-Fi). What is the value of interoperability in the specific area in which the SSO is active? Interoperability is important to the customers. What is the value of selection and conformity in the specific area in whichthe SSO is active? Selection is not very important since several technical solutions can coexist alongside each other while not creating a significant additional cost burden. Conformance is required for certification, which is oftentimes demanded by customers.

Standardization Process
    Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum was launched in 1995 and currently has 800 members. USB-IF focuson interconnecting devices using USB technology and is responsible for four standards: USB 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and Wireless. Membership is only open to organizations. There are two member classes, Promoter and Participant. Advancing a new Promoter member requires approval from the current Promoter members. Participant members pay a flat fee of 4000 USD. The fees for Promoter members are not listed. Inmost cases all members are welcome into working groups but some (for example those that developed the initial drafts of USB Wireless and 3.0) are restricted to specific members. Only Promoter members are allowed to vote on approval of new standards which requires two thirds majority. There are no possibilities to appeal a decision and non-members are completely left out of the development...
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