The Australian National University (ANU) is now hosting the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Australian Office, taking over the reins from the CSIRO.

It’s only the second time in the W3C Australian office’s 15-year history that it has switched hosts.

The roots of the Australian office can be traced back to 1996 – just two years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee set up W3C.

Archived list emails from the time show the makings of an “Australian consortium bid” for a W3C office, which was to have a remit covering the Asia Pacific region.

However, it would be take several years before the first W3C Australian office appeared.

The first host was the Australian government's Cooperative Research Centre for Enterprise Distributed Systems Technology (DSTC) at the University of Queensland.

The arrangement began in June 2000 and continued until July 2005 when the CRC was defunded.

In October 2005, the CSIRO ICT Centre in Canberra won the rights to assume hosting of the office.

The first office manager of the CSIRO era was Ross Ackland. He held the position until April 2010 when it was taken over by Dr Armin Haller.

Dr Haller left CSIRO in January 2015 following a period of heavy restructuring and cost-cutting at the organisation.

Information Age understands that, as part of this restructure, CSIRO decided it would no longer host the W3C Australian office. A CSIRO spokesperson has been contacted for confirmation.

With CSIRO vacating the hosting arrangement, W3C opened bidding for a new host.

The ANU was one of five institutions to make a shortlist, and it was named as the new host on July 29.

All eyes on digital disruption

At ANU, the office will be jointly hosted by the College of Business and Economics and the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The office will again be managed by Dr Haller, who joined the ANU earlier this year as a lecturer in the Research School of Accounting and Business Information Systems. He is also an Adjunct Research Fellow in the College of Engineering & Computer Science.

Speaking to Information Age, Dr Haller said universities and research organisations tended to be well-suited to host a W3C office, particularly as the standards body’s remit continued to widen.

“These days the W3C is looking a lot into vertical domains - not just HTML, CSS and HTTP, but really into standardising the payment APIs on the web, standardising the APIs to devices, digital publishing and automotive industry entertainment systems,” Dr Haller said.

Dr Haller said that W3C’s membership is rapidly changing as the web impacts more and more ways of doing business.

“In the last three years, 50 percent of the members in the W3C are new members,” he said.

“They come from all kinds of industries. So the W3C is really looking into evangelising the technology here in Australia as well as overseas to companies that haven't really been in touch with the W3C before, they haven't contributed to the W3C, they haven't contributed their use cases [to standardisation].

“W3C is really focused on looking at all these industries that are disrupted by the web and how can we make the web better for those industries.”

Since 1994, W3C has overseen more than 345 technical standards that make the web work. Its members include Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook.