In order to establish new ICT technologies successfully on the market it is essential to build trust within any potential users. This is especially true for technologies which are based upon paradigms that are not yet familiar to these users, such as quantum technologies. Technical standards are an excellent means to offer a certain degree of legal reliability and technical interoperability that is required by industry for commercial take up. While such standards on the one hand must be clear enough to provide strict rules for implementers, on the other hand they also must remain flexible enough to not restrict progress in further research and development on the standardized technology. Hence such standards have to be produced by a wide variety of stakeholders taking into account all their different needs. The paper will provide some insight into the general mechanisms of standardization and their relation to quantum technologies. Alongside with the relevance of standardization as an enabler for certification of quantum based technologies it will explain its potential for securing intellectual property.
In its first part paper will concentrate on the advantages of standardization and discuss fears some of the stakeholders share, in detail. The second part will focus on the technical work going on in ETSI in relation to quantum technologies.
In 2008 ETSI created a standards work group on Quantum Key Distribution, the ETSI ISG QKD and more recently a group on Quantum-Safe Cryptography, the ETSI ISG QSC. A significant part of the technical work of these groups has already been published and will be introduced in the following. However a big share of work is still ongoing and lot more is planned for the future, as are continuous revisions and updates of the published specifications. This standardization work covers several levels: It starts of by problem statements in the form of use cases, from which technical requirements can be derived. These requirements then form the base upon which a reference architecture is created. Various different specifications describe in detail components, protocols and interfaces. An ontology is developed in order to guarantee common understanding of the technical terms used in standardization for quantum technologies. Special emphasis is provided to security proofs.