IEC present on five continents

The General Meeting paves the way for the future of the IEC

By Claire Marchand

Traditionally, the December issue of e-tech provides feedback on the IEC General Meeting (GM), held in Minsk, Belarus, on 12-16 October 2015.

LED-lit trees
Streets and trees put on bright colours in the holiday season

Global reach

Since November 2015, the IEC is present on all continents. In addition to the regional offices in Asia-Pacific (IEC-APRC), Latin America (IEC-LARC) and North America (IEC-ReCNA), the Commission officially inaugurated its Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) in early November in Nairobi, Kenya. The IEC also has an office in Australia, hosting the IECEx and IECQ Secretariats, and of course the IEC Central Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

All systems go

While all management meetings looked back on what the IEC achieved in the 12 months since the Tokyo GM, in essence the future of the Commission was at the centre of all decisions and discussions. The systems approach is taking shape: under the umbrella of the Standardization Management Board (SMB) three Systems Committees (SyCs) are operational, in areas such as Smart Energy, Smart Cities and Active Assisted Living (AAL). Discussions on Conformity Assessment (CA) governance, initiated by the Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) are moving forward and key for the future of IEC CA activities and how they are managed.


Among the key topics that will have an impact on IEC work in the short and longer term is cybersecurity. Both CAB and IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, have set up Working Groups (WGs) to deal with the issue. Their scope includes industrial automation, medical devices and smart devices, such as smart meters.

Of note is the Council Open Session, which this year focused on “Energy Efficiency: From theory to reality with IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment”. Moderated by Richard Schomberg, Chair of SyC Smart Energy, the Open Session addressed both energy efficiency and global trade. Each of these topics relies extensively on IEC work for the benefit of industry, regulators and consumers.

Holiday season

The holiday season is approaching fast. Many gifts under the tree this year may be electric. Robots, EVs for kids, and the new rage, and the new means of personal transportation, such as hoverboards, may feature in good place on wish lists. December also sees festive decorations and lights in homes, shops and malls and city streets. IEC International Standards and CA Systems are essential at this time of year to ensure that electric toys and lighting fixtures are safe and reliable.

data center The IEC will be focusing on cybersecurity in the coming years
LED-lit trees Streets and trees put on bright colours in the holiday season
IEC-AFR Inauguration opening IEC Vice-President Yinbiao Shu at the official inauguration of IEC-AFRC on 2 November 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya
Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech