2016 Council Open Session

What future for standardization?

By Janice Blondeau

One aim of the Council Open Session, held on the Friday afternoon during the IEC General Meeting in Frankfurt, was to summarize and conclude the week-long activities and presentations in the Reinvention Laboratory. 

Participants in the 2016 IEC Council Open Session The Council Open session, which attracted a full house, consisted of presentations on how regulators and standards organizations can work more closely together, followed by a panel discussion.

Today’s perspectives and a look at the future

The Open Session was officially opened by IEC President Dr Junji Nomura, followed by Roland Bent, President of DKE, the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE, who introduced some of the challenges of digitization in relation to standardization and conformity assessment. 

Keynotes give regulators’ perspectives

The next segment of the Open Session saw keynote speeches from representatives of two important regulators who shared their expectations in terms of international standardization. They were Kerstin Jorna, Director, single market policy, regulation and implementation, European Commission, and Marion Stoldt, Chair WP.6 (Working Party 6), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). 

Cooperative efforts are needed

Jorna’s presentation addressed the “Current situation and expectations for the future” and it focused on 30 years of public/private cooperation on standards and regulation for a single market, emphasizing that global value chains require global standards. She presented the Joint Initiative on Standardization, which aims to speed up, prioritize and modernize work and leverage it for public policy purposes. Jorna concluded by highlighting the role of and challenges for regulators in view of accelerating technology cycles, global value chains and blurring borders between ICT and products (the Internet of Things). 

We need many cooks

“We need standards to build the digital trust chain – without trust there would be no investments, there would be no new business and no consumer buy-in. And to use a kitchen imagery, it’s a complex dish, one cook cannot do it alone. We need many cooks to cook together, even to experiment together,” she said. 

Invitation to actively participate in UN discussions

In her keynote address, Stoldt addressed how regulators are struggling to maintain credibility, relevance and independence in a crowded environment with big players. She spoke of the need to protect companies from unfair competition and sensational news-making. 

Stoldt concluded that regulators need to form closer partnerships with the standards community and she also pointed out a number of hurdles that are holding this back. Firstly, a lack of resources for regulator participation in standard-setting activities can lead to their voice not being heard and standards not fitting needs. She also underlined that some regulators simply don’t understand the value of standards or of conformity assessment schemes in making regulatory goals attainable. Stoldt invited standards organizations to participate more actively in UN discussions. 

Forward-looking focus

“We focus on five areas: 5G communications, Cloud computing, the Internet of Things, Big Data technologies and cybersecurity. These five are instrumental for companies to start investing, and by that, laying foundations for jobs and markets of the future…and they also work across sectors and will serve many different areas,” said Mrs Stoldt. 

Imagine the future

Michael Teigeler, CEO of DKE, then introduced the second part of the Open Session on the theme "Imagine the future”. It was chaired by Uwe Kampet. The audience in the auditorium was invited to ask questions through the IECGM16 digital app. Questions were pooled and put in front of the panel of experts. The range of topics was broad and included:

  • Digitization
  • Industry 4.0
  • New electronic tools
  • New electronic deliverables
  • Enhanced cooperation between sectors 

Panel members for this session were:

Following the Open Session, the Frankfurt Agreement was officially signed. For more information, please see the related e-tech article here.

Gallery
Participants in the 2016 IEC Council Open Session The Council Open session, which attracted a full house, consisted of presentations on how regulators and standards organizations can work more closely together, followed by a panel discussion
Kerstin Jorna, Director Single Market policy, regulation and implementation, European Commission Director for single market policy, regulation and implementation at the EU Commission, Kerstin Jorna spoke about 30 years of public/private cooperation on standards and regulation for a single market and also the Joint Initiative on Standardization
Marion Stoldt, Chair Working Party 6, UNECE Marion Stoldt, Chair of UNECE WP.6, spoke about how regulators need to form closer partnerships with the standards community and that a number of hurdles are holding this back