The core mission of the FIPA standards consortium is to facilitate the interworking of agents and agent systems across multiple vendors’ platforms. This is expressed more formally in FIPA's official mission statement:
The promotion of technologies and interoperability specifications that facilitate the end-to-end interworking of intelligent agent systems in modern commercial and industrial settings.
Note that the emphasis here is on practical commercial and industrial uses of agent systems. However, we are also focussing on intelligent or cognitive agents, that is, software systems that may have the potential for reasoning about themselves and/or other systems that they encounter.
The core message of FIPA is that through a combination of speech acts, predicate logic and public ontologies, we can offer standard ways of interpreting communication between agents in a way that respects the intended meaning of the communication. This is much more ambitious than, for example, XML, which only aims to standardize the syntactic structure of documents.
To support this, FIPA has adopted and is working on specifications that range from architectures to support agents' communicating with each other, communications languages and content languages for expressing those messages and interaction protocols which expand the scope from single messages to complete transactions. In the future, there are plans to extend this even further to cope with longer term relationships between agents.