ITU releases first ever big data standards


The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has announced its first ever standards for big data services, entitled 'Recommendation ITU-T Y.3600 “Big data – cloud computing based requirements and capabilities"'.

The standards, which were agreed upon by ITU members, recognize that the growth of big data requires a strong set of technical standards to ensure that processing tools are able to achieve powerful results in the areas of collection, analysis, visualization, and more.

“This new ITU standard provides internationally agreed fundamentals of cloud-based Big Data,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, “It will build cohesion in the terminology used to describe cloud-based Big Data and offer a common basis for the development of Big Data services and supporting technical standards.”

For data journalists, ITU-T Y.3600's visualization requirements are of particular noteworthiness.

With an emphasis on streamlining processing for visualization, the standard requires that big data service providers have flexible licensing policies, support different tools or plug-ins with multiple styles of data visualization, as well as supporting the customization and integration of reporting tools.

However, some data practitioners question whether the ITU's new standards will make much of a difference in a fast-paced, adaptable industry.

“The rationale for having standards is to make things interoperable, but in big data, that’s already happened at a practical level, driven by the need for vendor solutions to be able to work together,” stated Alan Duncan, a research director with Gartner.

To further this point, he argued that tools frequently used by data journalists, like Tableau and Alteryx, have already adopted interoperable processing systems.

Read the full ITU standards here.