Connecting people

Innovation and outreach to the IEC community

By Claire Marchand

For many years the IEC IT Department has provided services for the IEC community, i.e. the thousands of people in the National Committees (NCs) and Technical Committees and Subcommittees (TC/SCs). As a reminder, the IEC was a pioneer in introducing 100% electronic environment for its standardization work in the early 2000s. Since then, the number of IT services available has grown tremendously.

training workshop The IEC holds regular training sessions for its Members, experts and for the community at large

The one-stop shop for IT services

The objective of the department is to build on past successes and offer new innovative tools, thus providing customized services to the community. The integration of several different service units into one is already showing results: increasing synergy within in the department and better outreach to the community.

Communicating on IT projects

In June 2015, the IT Department launched ITnet - a blog/communication platform to reach out to the IEC NCs. Its objective is to raise awareness of new IT projects and initiate a dialogue with members.

Simpler, more effective architecture

The IT Department is in the process of addressing the huge task of simplification and rationalization of the IEC IT architecture. The integration of numerous systems, databases and applications that are currently stand-alone, will make it more efficient.

At the same time, to encourage collaboration, new and innovative systems are being built to streamline the standards development process and allow better participation of the community. This online standards development project will offer the complete standards development process online, thus moving away from working with word processing programmes and file exchange via email.

Training workshops

As part of the strategy to increase awareness, and enhance participation in standards development work, the IEC holds regular training sessions for its Members, experts and for the community at large. In the past 12 months, more than 1 300 people participated in workshops in 14 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the US.

Regional support

In addition to these new projects, the IT team helps set up and provides support to the IEC Regional Centres in Asia-Pacific (IEC-APRC), North America (IEC-ReCNA) and Latin America (IEC-LARC). In addition to promotional activities, two of these offices, IEC-APRC and IEC-ReCNA, provide support to IEC TC/SCs and are involved in the standards development process.

The soon to be inaugurated IEC Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) is also receiving strong support from the department for all IT-related issues.

In addition, the IT Department hosts services for some National Committees, for example their Collaboration Tools and Expert Management System. This is a win-win situation for all because experts who familiarize themselves with the tools at the national level need minimum training when they join their international counterparts in IEC TC/SCs.

Conformity Assessment also on the IT map

The online certificate databases of the IEC Conformity Assessment (CA) Systems, IECEE, IECEx, and IECQ – soon to be joined by IECRE – are all managed by the IT Department, which also provides support for their respective websites.

The development of the new IECEx mobile applications has been overseen by the IT team in close collaboration with IECEx.

Public commenting

Public Commenting, now available on the IEC website, is open to any person not currently part of the IEC community wishing to make observations or suggestions on an IEC draft publication at the Committee Draft for Vote (CDV) stage.

All comments are forwarded to the NC of the respective country. It is up to the NC to decide which comments to take into consideration.

Anyone leaving a comment is also able to receive information about newly published CDVs, provided they indicate the technology fields they are interested in.

Public Commenting provides NCs with a new source of direct market feedback. It might also prove attractive as a tool for the recruitment of new experts, since individuals who provide regularly relevant comments might become interested in joining a national mirror committee.  In short, the system is expected to provide an essential avenue for feedback and participation from the stakeholders.

Supporting sales

Two major projects in support of IEC sales activities were completed earlier this year – a new IEC Webstore and IEC Online Collections.

IEC Webstore

The new IEC Webstore was launched in April. The site includes features that many of the customers asked for, including a streamlined ordering process, and full compatibility with iOS and Android mobile devices.

IEC Online collections

A new site called IEC Online Collections was launched in conjunction with the Webstore. It offers a new and completely different way to view IEC publications. Customers buy an annual subscription ensuring they always have online access to the most up-to-date editions, amendments and revisions, from any computer or mobile device. As well as the clear advantages of online viewing and hyperlinked content, the account provides innovative features such as personal bookmarking and commenting.

The first sets of collections available include:

  • IEC 60076,Power transformers
  • IEC 61400,Wind turbines
  • CISPR 16,Specification for radio disturbance and immunity measuring apparatus and methods

IEC Online Collections are a stepping stone to future developments to provide online access to deliverables.

IEC e-tech

e-tech, the IEC monthly magazine, now has its own dedicated website, a joint effort between the Communications and IT departments. Improved navigation, modern interface, content and image management, email subscription and newsletters, and an export feature to facilitate the preparation of the paper version are the main characteristics of the new site. It is responsive, making it easy to read articles on a mobile device. Whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone, the content and navigation adapts to fit!

The future

For many, the IEC website is the first contact they have with the Commission and its activities. Because first impressions count, the IT Department, together with Marketing and Communications, is planning the future IEC site to make information easier to find for the IEC community and anyone who wants to learn about electrotechnology in general and IEC activities and work in particular. The project is in its early stages.

The IT team

The team leader…

Since December 2014, the Head of the IT team is Peter Godwin. A British/Swiss national, Godwin has an engineering background and many years of experience in infrastructure and application development, building IT operations for multinational companies and non-profit organizations.

…and his team

In all, 16 people work in the IT Department, structured in four groups:

  • The Infrastructure group manages the servers and networks and generally keeps the systems running.
  • The Development team, which includes project managers, developers and the web team, is responsible for the development of in-house applications tailored to IEC business needs.
  • Community Services takes care of the outreach to the IEC community and organizes training workshops in member countries.
  • Support provides assistance to the IEC National Committees (NCs) and the community at large.
training workshop The IEC holds regular training sessions for its Members, experts and for the community at large
public commenting Public Commenting is now available on the IEC website
 IEC Online Collections The Online Collections site was launched in April...
IEC Webstore …in conjunction with the new IEC Webstore