What’s the Difference Between iRING and iRING?

About a year ago a core group of proponents of ISO 15926 decided to adopt the brand name iRING to represent all things ISO 15926. So if your software or work processes or writing contains any quantum of ISO 15926 you could legitimately say “iRING Inside”. The feeling was that a bunch of random numbers was hard for newcomers to get their head around.


I-S-O 1-5 what?

The rest of the community, being mostly volunteers with day jobs and families to manage (which category includes your humble scribbler here) went blithely about their business. If you had done an MRI on our heads while we were working you would have found “ISO 15926” had left the part of our brains devoted to remembering strings of numbers and migrated to the part devoted to remembering names. Fifteen-nine-twenty-six was what it was. It didn’t really matter what anyone else called it, our work was still the same.

Well, at the recent Fiatech conference in San Antonio we decided to get serious and all call it the same thing. So iRING it is. (The formal name of the standard is, and will remain, ISO 15926. So in a technical conversation that is specifically about the standard itself the formal name is proper.)

However, there remains a bit of confusion around the new name because some software tools being developed also use it. A bit of background is in order.

The name iRING was coined around the beginning of 2009, give or take a a bit. At the time there was some controversy about how ISO 15926 could be implemented. A group of intrepid folks took it upon themselves to attempt to use what they called the “full standard of ISO 15926″ and see where it lead them. Of course, if you take on a large task you need a catchy name and what would be better than ISO 15926 Realtime Interoperability Network Grid, or just iRING. (The name is a subtle reference to the RDL–if you read a previous post, Understanding the ISO 15926 RDL, you will get the drift.) The result of this work is a set of open source tools that everyone can use called iRINGTools Open Source Software. Of course.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, ISO 15926 was garnering more and more attention. The early adopters of iRING (and indeed, any new technology) tend to be people who enjoy complexity and a complex name is just part of the charm. But ISO 15926 is now starting to attract people with more of a “cut the baloney and show me what you can do” attitude. People for whom a complex name composed of random numbers is a barrier. As it turns out, the name iRING seemed to stick. (Perhaps it’s an example of the “Kleenex Effect”, named after the first brand of soft facial tissue that was widely advertised.)

So where do we stand?

First, iRING is the umbrella name we will all use when referring to anything that is related to ISO 15926. All of us had some documents in process that still referred to ISO 15926 in the general sense and some of these are still working their way through the system. Please be patient. We promise (cross our hearts!) to start using the name iRING on all new stuff.

Second, iRINGTools Open Source Software is the name of a particular set of tools for implementing ISO 15926. There are others that have just as legitimate a claim to the name iRING. Actually, there are quite a few others and in an upcoming article we will describe three that were used in a public demonstration.

But don’t make the mistake of spelling it “Iring”. If you do you might just as well put a “kick me” sticky note on your back!

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