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From robots to wearables, various technology breakthroughs are helping the elderly population better cope with the many inconveniences associated with old age. IEC International Standards help these new devices to perform safely and meet the requirements of older people.
Mobile devices have rapidly changed society and the way in which we interact and exchange information. For example, the mobile phone has rapidly evolved from being purely a telephone to the complex smartphone systems of today. This evolution looks unlikely to stop in the foreseeable future with a new generation of mobile, wearable devices for the future.
It is a generally accepted notion that we are living in times of rapid change. If, to paraphrase Heraclitus, change is the only constant, then organizations must anticipate areas of possible change and prepare themselves accordingly.
Every year, the IEC pays tribute to people from its organization, for their distinguished work and commitment to improving the safety, compatibility and energy efficiency of electrical products and systems, with its Thomas Edison Award.
Increasingly, industry projects need to apply a combination of standards, in order for products and systems to run smoothly. The technology must be interoperable at different levels and between diverse domains, while remaining secure and safe.
Every year IEC honours the commitment and work of a number of individuals in its community who, through their leadership and technical expertise, have contributed to making products and electrical systems safer, more energy efficient, more reliable and more compatible.
Our world is getting smarter by the minute. Voice recognition allows us to tell devices to do things, such as find a specific TV channel or remind us of all our appointments for the day. Smart agriculture uses sensors, connected machinery and smartphone apps to tell farmers when to water their fields, while intelligent road infrastructure is improving road safety and congestion and all in real time.
Around the world, urban populations are booming. An estimated 54.5 percent of global populations lived in urban settlements in 2016 and this number is expected to increase to 60 by 2030, according to research by the United Nations.
Whether we realize it or not, the internet of things (IoT) is part of many aspects of daily life. Thanks to billions of connected, “sensorized” devices and systems, it can facilitate everyday activities and tasks and improve the efficiency of work processes, which saves time and money. In the case of healthcare, it can save lives and improve quality of life.
Using new technology and gadgets to help the elderly and people with disabilities stay independent in and outside the home is the approach favoured by most health specialists, not to mention policymakers and governments. The IEC is preparing International Standards focusing on this approach under the global aegis of its Systems Committee on active assisted living (SyC AAL).
Take the 170 countries in the IEC family, the 20 000 technical experts who work in standards development, the many certification bodies (CBs) and test laboratories (TLs) in the IEC Conformity Assessment (CA) Systems, and add to the mix the rapid pace at which technologies are evolving today and you have hundreds, if not thousands of stories that can be told within the IEC community.
Printed electronics as a manufacturing method has become established in a number of areas across the electrotechnical world. The connections that are made are emerging as particularly significant in the new generation of wearable electronic devices. Although some wearable applications can be realized using wholly conventional rigid electronics, many will require some element of flexibility. Standardization work by a number of IEC Technical Committees (TCs) and subcommittees (SCs) is central to this development.
The sparc-FMA International Lighting and Facilities event, organized by the Facility Management Association (FMA) took place from 30 May to 1 June, in Sydney. During the event, more than 60 exhibitors, including lighting manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, showcased the latest innovations in the two industries.
It is with great sadness and regret that the IEC learnt of the passing of Alastair Ramsay, a member of the IEC Systems Committee Active Assisted Living (SyC AAL), on 28 January 2017, after a short battle with cancer.
Keeping individuals in need of certain levels of assistance active and living at home as independently and as long as possible is emerging as a major issue in many countries. This drives a significant growth in many alarm, access and remote alert systems. Standardization work from a number of IEC Technical Committees (TCs) and their Subcommittees (SCs) makes possible the development and widespread introduction of such systems.
While recent developments in home automation are bound to make anyone’s life easier, there are certain categories of the population for which it may be a life-changing experience: elderly and/or disabled people have very specific accessibility needs and can benefit fully from the technological advances associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) and the smart home.
The demands posed by a rapidly ageing global population are leading manufacturers of robots to develop technology for providing care and rehabilitation for elderly and impaired people in their own homes.
To deal with Active Assisted Living (AAL) issues, the IEC has established a Systems Committee, IEC SyC AAL. This SyC has the role of promoting safety, security, privacy and cross-vendor interoperability in the use of AAL systems and services, and of fostering standardization which boosts their usability and accessibility. Its role and scope are constantly being expanded.
What immediately comes to mind when evoking active assisted living (AAL) is that it is essential in helping senior citizens keep as good a quality of life as possible. The focus is obviously on the elderly in industrialized countries where the population is ageing rapidly. But AAL represents more than that – it is meant for all people who suffer from illnesses or physical, mental and social disabilities. The general concept is to ensure that they live their life independently and comfortably in their own environment for as long as they can manage.
In our smart world, a huge number of devices are part of the internet of things (IoT), or becoming so, many of them integrated with our homes, cities, manufacturing or transport systems and infrastructures. Added to this, a growing number of connected consumer devices, appliances and systems are able to carry out many human daily tasks in the home or workplace, whether for healthcare or entertainment. Research by Gartner forecasts the number of connected things will reach 20,8 billion by 2020, of which 13,5 billion will be from the consumer sector.
Gender equality is essential for achieving peace, defending rights, fostering economic growth, and promoting global well-being. In standardization, it is important to include female insights for everyone’s benefit.
One of the emerging trends of the 21st century is the ageing of the world population.
Premises equipped with alarm and access control systems are often essential for people using facilities suited for Active Assisted Living (AAL). Some of these premises must be supervised and as such require special alarm systems. A series of International Standards addressing requirements for these systems is being developed. Two Standards in the series have been published recently.
Sensors provide information about objects, or people and their environment. Networks of sensors in the shape of wearable electronics and integrated into the living environment will support Active Assisted Living (AAL) into the future. Sensors and printed electronics will be increasingly integrated into smart wearable devices to facilitate the implementation of AAL.
The proportion of people aged over 60 will almost double from 12 to 22% between 2015 and 2050, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In line with this, the WHO World Report on Disability states that currently more than one billion people live with some form of disability worldwide. The figure is expected to rise in the coming years as populations age.
To deal with Active Assisted Living (AAL) issues, the IEC has established a Systems Committee, IEC SyC AAL. This SyC has the role of promoting safety, security, privacy and cross-vendor interoperability in the use of AAL systems and services, and of fostering standardization which boosts their usability and accessibility.
Why are home use medical and wellness devices drawing so much attention and growing at an explosive rate? It could be argued that this results from the nexus of the Internet of Things (IoT), the “super-aging” of societies around the world (which is directly tied to patients wanting to be comfortable in their home environments instead of in sterile impersonal clinical environments), the portability of devices, the growth of wearable technologies, the increasing costs of healthcare and the huge regulatory burden/costs of obtaining approval by national regulators. Also, there has been significant growth in the number of standards and regulations that apply to medical devices, especially around software, health informatics, privacy and security issues.
Multimedia content, particularly on TV, and information technology and communication (ICT) services have become central to our lives. Access to these for people suffering from visual or hearing impairment is very important and is an internationally-recognized right. The IEC, together with other organizations, works to develop International Standards that allow this access, which is also central to what is known as Active Assisted Living (AAL).
Paralympians successfully overcome physical, visual and intellectual impairments, but their equipment can impact their performance.
From home heating systems, smart medical devices and fridges that automatically replenish food items, to connected cars that guide drivers to free parking spots, increasingly IoT is a part of our daily lives. However, this technology is not new. Industrial applications, power generation, digitization, connectivity and automation have been around for many years and IEC has been working in these areas for some time.
Take the 169 countries in the IEC family, the 20 000 technical experts who work in standards development, the many Certification Bodies (CBs) and Test Laboratories (TLs) in the IEC Conformity Assessment (CA) Systems, and add to the mix the rapid pace at which technologies are evolving today and you have hundreds, if not thousands of stories that can be told within the IEC community.
Robotic‑assisted surgery involves a surgeon using a computer‑assisted electromechanical device to carry out complex and technically demanding medical procedures on a patient. The value of surgical robotic tools lies in their role as machines that extend the capabilities and precision of the surgeon, rather than ones that replace human skills.
Assuring quality of life for ageing populations is a global issue that in future may impact countries’ health and social systems to the point of jeopardizing their financial stability. Solutions that allow the elderly to stay active, independent and living at home for as long as possible are essential. Central to this work is the new IEC System Committee on Active Assisted Living (SyC AAL).
Around 15% of the world population, or more than one billion people, live with some form of disability, according to the World Bank. There is a great need to provide access to essential services so these people can live healthy, active and independent lives. This will also prove beneficial to society as a whole. Additionally the percentage of the world's population aged over 60 years is forecast to reach 22% in 2050, making it imperative to create more age-friendly environments which provide solutions for disabilities.
Connected safety and security systems and devices with remote monitoring capabilities are expanding their share of the global smart home market. A survey in the UK in July 2015 identified security as the second most important of five key drivers for the connected home, after smart energy. The BI Intelligence research company estimates that by 2019 home security systems will account for 38% of the connected home market.
With 166 countries in the IEC family, more than 15 000 technical experts who work in standards development, hundreds of CBs (Certification Bodies) and TLs (Test Laboratories) in the IEC CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems, there is no shortage of stories to be told within the IEC community. In 2016, as in previous years, the e-tech editorial team will be reaching out to you to get your story.
Enhancing the health, quality of life and independence of older people has become a priority for many states as a fast ageing population presents them with a number of social and financial challenges. AAL (Active Assisted Living) is seen as offering opportunities to meet these challenges. IEC TC (Technical Committee) 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment, has created a TA (Technical Area) dedicated to the preparation of International Standards for AAL, accessibility and user interface.
IEC e-tech talked to James E. Matthews III, IEC Vice-President and Chairman of the SMB (Standardization Management Board) during the General Meeting in Tokyo, Japan. Matthews shared key decisions and why they are needed to ensure IEC relevance in the future.