CIRCLE Seminar with Prof. Ed Steinmueller from SPRU, University of Sussex on Platforms and Standards: An Historical Perspective

Ed Steinmueller will have a seminar at CIRCLE on “Platf26086.jpgorms and Standards: An Historical Perspective”. Ed is Professor of Information and Communication Technology Policy  at SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit, Business and Management), University of Sussex. His research interests are in the field of the industrial economics of information and communication technology industries, as well as science policy and the economics of basic research.

Date: Monday May 22nd at 14:00

(please note that it is on a Monday this time)

Place: CIRCLE, Seminar Room, MNO-Huset, Sölvegatan 16

Summary: The rise in the use of standards parallels the origin of systems of mass production and the articulation of mass markets and distribution systems.  The apotheosis of these developments is occurring in the contemporary evolution of large technical systems and global value chains.  Although compatibility standards have assisted in the building of ever larger, interconnected and complex technological systems, they are also employed in efforts to devise decentralised alternative technologies and modes of organisation to these ‘megamachines’ that are more inclusive or sustainable.  Rather than being an incidental detail in technological history, since the 19th century, standards define many of the technological and market possibilities for the world in which we live.

This presentation will examine the co-evolution of standards and technological change with a focus on the contest between the centralising and the decentralising role of standards and the consequences of this contest.   The contest is evolving because, from an historical perspective, the technologies affected by standards have been subject to fundamental change and standards have, themselves, had an influence on technological change.  Three epochs in this history are identified with the second being the unusual and, in some ways, alternative pathway of Internet and modular electronic system standards which has not formed the basis for many of the newer processes of standards formation.  The new standards processes and outcomes resemble the first phase, with important differences that may merit increased attention to policy and intervention.

Practical: The seminar is held in CIRCLE Seminar Room, it is open for everyone and there is no need to register. In case you don’t have the access card for our building, please let us know (or simply ring us on the entrance doorbell). Please bear in mind that this seminar is on Monday and not on Wednesday, like the other CIRCLE seminars.

/Claudio Fassio ( and Palina Sauchanka (




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