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For many experts, the Internet of Things (IoT) will become the Intelligence of Things during the coming decade, improving and disrupting our lives in equal measure.
A recent article in Science Robotics suggests that robots could be effective resources in combating COVID-19. They can be used for disinfection, to deliver medicine and food and measure vital signs. A hospital at the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in northern Italy is giving us a glimpse of what is possible.
What lies in the future for IEC Technical Committee 100? Ulrike Haltrich, its new Chair, gives us a preview.
e-tech was present at this year's Consumer Electronics Show which took place in Las Vegas from 7 to 10 January 2020.
In April, the board of ANCE appointed Juan Rosales as its new President, the youngest in the association’s history. With this appointment, ANCE, the leading association for standardization and conformity assessment in Mexico, implements its vision of integrating a new generation of leaders in strategic management positions. Considering that Rosales began his career as an apprentice at ANCE, his appointment is an achievement for experts who are committed to a career in standardization.
Imagine being able to see the issues of large-scale construction projects before building is complete and to collaborate with engineers and architects to keep on top of changes, or observe a city’s infrastructure in real time and improve performance of services.
The digitalization of information is underway. It is enabling the use of data to better understand our preferences and provide us with the services that match our needs. At home, the data collected and analyzed ensures that the preferred room temperature is calibrated depending on the occupancy and time of day. Farm animals are monitored from afar to provide the correct quantities of food and water for consumption and guard against illnesses. Manufacturers rely on digital twins to enhance their production capabilities and predict glitches before they occur. Information is being gathered, analyzed and applied to improve experiences in all parts of our lives.
5G is the latest generation of mobile network technology. It promises greater capacity, as well as significantly faster download speeds than the current 4G networks. It will mean loading the HD version of a three-hour movie like Avengers: Endgame in seconds, rather than the minutes it currently takes. More significantly, it opens up exciting new possibilities for a range of technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR).
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.
RFID plays a key role in streamlining supply chain management applications, as the digitization of industries advances.
The Internet of Things (IoT), increased connectivity and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as algorithms and machine learning are enabling industries to streamline processes, improve efficiency and reduce costs as they become more digitized.
The growth of connected devices has accelerated the convergence of the once separate domains of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), resulting in industrial IoT (IIOT).
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.
Turn on the radio, set the timer for dinner, turn down the temperature, shut off the lights. With the internet of things (IoT), all of this is possible from the comfort of the couch or while sitting on the bus. As noted by a New York Times journalist, IoT makes homes, offices and vehicles “smarter, more measurable and chattier”.
As with any other day, you wake up, check the smart phone, read emails, note sleep quality, get the real-time weather update and dress accordingly, adjust your smart home settings from an app, jump in the car, ask your virtual personal assistant for your agenda, read news on phone in train, pay some bills and all before arriving at work.
Imagine being able to predict medical conditions in healthy people and take steps to prevent them before symptoms develop, or having fully autonomous systems monitor critical patients in intensive care units instead of requiring a team of specialists.
In 2007, when cautious doctors replaced a former US Vice President’s heart defibrillator, a battery-powered device placed under the skin to monitor heart rate, they modified it so it couldn't be hacked by terrorists, by having the manufacturer disable the wireless feature.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is fast becoming the Internet of everything: the technology is impacting a huge number of sectors, from the transmission and distribution of electricity to the devices we use in our cities and homes. A new all-encompassing joint publication by IEC and ISO establishes a reference architecture for IoT, using a common vocabulary, reusable designs and industry best practices.
Rapid advances in technology are changing how we live and work and along with this, the expectations of people and businesses.
We use the expression “belt and braces” to mean that we are being extra careful about something. The idea is that if our belt breaks unexpectedly, our braces will ensure that our trousers stay up.
Nearly every aspect of our lives bears the imprint of smart technology. From home thermostats controlled via a smart phone to watches that monitor our health, the number of traditional devices that are becoming connected is increasing. This enables us to benefit from new service offerings.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the big buzz words in the tech industry. From robots to self-driving cars, digital twins and medical diagnosis, AI promises to deliver innovation on the scale of the discovery of fire and electricity, as one Silicon Valley chief executive officer (CEO) has put it. While it is not yet clear if this is truth or hyperbole, technical advances are coming rapidly.
Billions of connected devices and systems make up the internet of things (IoT), and help to simplify how we communicate, work and go about daily tasks.
As up to 80% of cyber breaches may originate in supply chains, protecting these is an absolute priority for all organizations. Industrial and critical infrastructure assets are most at risk. The IEC has developed many Standards for these. It works also on conformity assessment (CA) and global certification schemes through Working Groups (WGs) set up by its Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) and by the Certification Management Committee (CMC) of IECEE, the IEC System for Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components. Both should help better protect supply chains.
Information technology has become an integral part of our lives whether it be in the consumer, industrial or commercial aspects. It is hard to imagine life, work or entertainment without it. Artificial intelligence (AI) presents the next digital frontier of the IT evolution.
The IEC regularly supports key global and regional industry events.
In conflicts, throughout history all sides have tried to make the best possible use of inventions and technology to gain a decisive advantage over adversaries. At the same time developing systems to minimize one’s own losses has also been a priority. Military needs have often accelerated many technologies, through improvements to existing systems or the development of new ones. More and more of these technologies have been adopted for civilian use, the reverse process from civilian to military applications is also observed, to a lesser extent.
Innovation brings new challenges – or, put another way, every silver lining has a cloud. While the Internet has given us connected, smart and interactive technologies, it has also spawned the murky, underground world of cyber crime.
As we move towards more connected environments, cyber security threats are increasing. One technology that could help with data protection is blockchain, which is also starting to be used in some renewable energy projects.
Imagine opening your email and finding a medical prescription to treat an illness you didn’t know you had, without any prior physical tests and perhaps before you even felt unwell. Your doctor could have decided on the treatment after examining a digital replica of you, including real time data about your diet, lifestyle and current environment.
The IEC regularly supports key global and regional industry events, which can present the IEC endorsement on their website and materials.
The internet of things (IoT) – consisting of millions of “sensorized” connected devices and systems – and artificial intelligence (AI) – combining analytics, machine learning and algorithms – are making the world smarter and more connected.
Information technology has penetrated our homes, cities and workplaces, as billions of “sensorized” devices and systems that form part of the internet of things (IoT) help to simplify how we work, communicate and carry out daily tasks.
The IEC Young Professionals (YP) Programme brings together upcoming expert engineers, technicians and managers from all over the world, who aspire to become more involved in the IEC and help shape the future of international standardization and conformity assessment in the field of electrotechnology. In this issue of e-tech, we introduce the three 2017 Leaders of the IEC Young Professionals Programme who were elected by their peers in Vladivostok, Russia, during the IEC General Meeting.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was one of the big buzzwords at CES 2018. From home appliances to robots and self-driving cars, AI is able to help us with our everyday activities. While an interest in intelligent machines can be traced back to Greek mythology, recent advances in computing that enable us to collect large quantities of data and then process it using algorithms, have hastened the development of AI technologies.
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.
Traditionally, the last issue of the year provides feedback on the IEC General Meeting (GM), held in 2017 in Vladivostok, Russia.
The ubiquitous internet of things (IoT) comprises billions of "sensorized" and connected devices and systems, which are used in many industries, including agriculture, energy management, healthcare, industrial automation, smart buildings, smart cities and transport.
Railway operators are increasingly achieving greater safety and efficiency by using digital technologies and computer‑based management, control and communication systems. The technical advances in modern transportation that the industrial internet of things (IIoT) enables are driving the development of further international standards in the railway sector.
The Open Session of the 81st IEC General Meeting in Vladivostok focused on the geographical and climatic features that influence the requirements and reliability of electrical and electronic devices as well as on the technologies used in the transportation of people and goods within the Russian Federation.
Information technology doesn’t stand still and neither does the IEC and ISO joint technical committee, ISO/IEC JTC 1, established in 1987 to cover these technologies. This year, as ISO/IEC JTC 1 celebrates its 30-year anniversary, experts from 33 countries continue to contribute to the standardization activities of its 22 subcommittees (SCs), which have already produced more than 3 000 International Standards.
IEC e-tech talked with Ralph Sporer, new IEC Vice-President and Chair of the Standardization Management Board (SMB) during the General Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia. Sporer shared key decisions and expected impact as well as thoughts regarding his first year at the helm of the SMB.
Our world is changing rapidly and technologies are converging all around us. Enhancements in communications, renewable energy, medical devices and many other areas have improved health, economic safety and development, which can benefit everyone.
In his address to Council, Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary & CEO, reminded the audience that digitization is a key focus for both industry and standards organizations. Standards will play a key role in the digitization of industry, healthcare and every other part of our life. The new Masterplan, approved and published prior to the General Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, sets the goals and expectations for the Commission, in this area among others, for the years to come.
The IEC regularly endorses key global and regional industry events.
The internet of things (IoT) is now in sharp focus for the technology industry and for standards development organizations, such as IEC, which publishes consensus-based International Standards and manages conformity assessment systems for electric and electronic products, systems and services, collectively known as electrotechnology.
IEC work has to be relevant to companies and countries to help them address real market and societal needs.
Standardization work by the IEC technical committees (TCs) and subcommittees (SCs), and by the Joint Technical Committee (ISO/IEC JTC 1) set up by the IEC and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is meant to prevent and mitigate the catastrophic impact of cyber attacks on parts of the critical infrastructure everywhere. In addition, IECEE, the IEC System for Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, is working on a generic conformity assessment (CA) model which can be applied to cyber security.
The world has never been more connected and surrounded by ICT. Whether we realize it or not, many aspects of ISO/IEC JTC 1 work affect daily life. From a smart toothbrush, animal tracking collar and household appliances, to health monitoring wearables and smart systems in buildings and transport, the list is endless.
Today, many devices and services found in homes, hospitals, the workplace and industry run off electricity. Such machines and equipment can be dangerous if they malfunction, causing explosions, fires or electrocuting users or anyone who comes into contact with them, in addition to damaging property.
A decade ago, printed electronics was still very much a budding technology destined to a niche market. The emergence and rapid growth of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearables have boosted the internet of things (IoT) and offered new avenues of development to the printed electronics sector.
Smart and connectivity are two of the words that probably best describe our society in the 21st century. Everyone and everything is connected nowadays, or soon will be. Cities, buildings, homes, farms, industrial plants, transportation, appliances, wearables and mobile devices are intrinsically linked to our way of life.
As more and more objects are connected, communicate and interact with each other, in what is labelled the internet of things (IoT), they become building blocks in larger systems. Known and unknown vulnerabilities in this wealth of objects are bound to attract cyber attacks that can bring down entire critical installations in many countries. Protection of IoT components against cyber threats, as well as of the systems that integrate them, is fast becoming a key priority.
New flexible and organic printing technologies are revolutionizing the medical wearable device market and the IEC is establishing the key relevant International Standards.
Information technology is all around us and part of our daily lives. Shopping has never been easier, with the swipe of a barcode, voice recognition and fingerprints provide access to buildings, while millions of documents and photos are stored on the cloud.
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 rapidly growing number of connected devices that form the backbone of the internet of things must become self-powered. The US research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 8,4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and will reach 20,4 billion by 2020. Powering these with batteries or by connecting them to power networks would be totally impractical, even impossible.
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.
The IEC regularly supports key global and regional industry events, which can present the IEC endorsement on their website and materials.
The IEC regularly supports key global and regional industry events, which can present the IEC endorsement on their website and materials.
Critical infrastructure systems are being increasingly targeted by sophisticated cyber attacks. A session of the annual Future Networked Car symposium, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the fringe of the Geneva Motor Show, looked at measures aimed at Mitigating cyber security threats to automotive systems. A wide range of speakers took part, including government representatives, car and accessory manufacturers, automotive cyber security solutions developers and providers.
Imagine getting a text from a cow which is about to calve or from a field to say it needs watering, while drones, smart machinery and mini ‘agribots’ tend to your crops. This scenario may not be too far away. Discover more about robotics in agriculture in the e-tech article, Farming (r)evolution.
In the next decade, cars will be well on the way to, or have reached the goal of becoming fully self-driving. As the industry continues to develop new levels of autonomous vehicles, the whole notion of personal transport is being turned on its head.
Want a weather update, real-time air pollution status, or are you just trying to find that elusive parking space? It’s simple…ask the lamppost!
Energy, and especially electricity, is the golden thread that impacts the majority of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and furthermore, the development of every nation and economy. The UN recognizes electricity access as a key pillar for economic development because it helps to reduce poverty and hunger, improves educational opportunities and enables higher quality healthcare.
Protecting energy security and critical energy infrastructure against cyber attacks is fast emerging as an absolute priority. In mid-February, the EnergyPact Foundation organized an international conference in Vienna on cyber security aimed at protecting such infrastructure. Eyal Adar, an expert on cyber security, outlined the extent of IEC standardization and Conformity Assessment (CA) activities in the domain, giving details of the areas to which they apply.
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.
The past year may not have seen significant breakthroughs in the tech world but 2017 is promising some interesting technological developments.
The internet of things (IoT) is already part of our lives. It’s penetrated our smart cities and homes, agriculture, automotive/transportation, energy management, entertainment, healthcare, industrial automation and retail environments. It comprises billions of connected, sensorized devices and systems which help to simplify work and personal tasks. As it grows, the different systems and platforms will need to be interoperable, which can be achieved through standardization.
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.
For the first time in history, voice recognition has reached a level close to human understanding. This opens up new opportunities, notably in replacing the smartphone as a ubiquitous interface. The sensorization and digitization trends of previous years are now leading to adaptive automation and highly-specialized applications that fundamentally transform the user experience. Last but not least augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are entering the real world of business.
The IEC has initiated a White Paper dedicated to Vertical Edge Intelligence in cooperation with Fraunhofer Institute’s FOKUS NGNI
It has been a busy year for Systems Evaluation Group (SEG) 4: Low Voltage Direct Current (LVDC) Applications, Distribution and Safety for use in Developed and Developing Economies. During the IEC 2016 General Meeting (GM) in Frankfurt, SEG 4 Convenor, Vimal Mahendru, presented a final report to the Standardization Management Board (SMB). The SMB voted in favour of the proposal to set up a Systems Committee (SyC) for LVDC and LVDC for electricity access.
We are all familiar with remote controls. We use them to change TV channels, select our favourite music and protect ourselves with sophisticated security systems. Still, more appliances and systems in our homes work by using automated electronic controls.
In hundreds of smart city projects around the world, governments, municipalities and private stakeholders are investing in smart grids, open data platforms and networked transport systems to meet the challenges of environmental sustainability, population growth and urbanization.
One of the emerging trends of the 21st century is the ageing of the world population.
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.
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.
During his address to Council, IEC General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk highlighted the main achievements since Minsk and talked about important ongoing projects.
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.
Traditionally, the last issue of the year provides feedback on the IEC General Meeting (GM), held in 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany,
Smart and connectivity are two of the words that probably best describe our society in the 21st century. Everyone and everything is connected nowadays. Cities, buildings, transportation means, mobile devices are becoming smarter. Even the most mundane objects – the smart frying pan is a good example – have their connected version.
Authorities worldwide face the challenge of ensuring improved road safety and providing efficient transport systems to address congested roads and pollution in growing cities. They are also tasked with providing large aging populations and people with disabilities greater mobility.
Imagine swiping your car seat to change the radio station or heating temperature? How about a uniform which can detect chemical contamination, a tent which generates electricity or a lamp shade which reacts to light and temperature?
The decreasing cost of electronic devices and growing access to mobile technology and wireless networks are driving the expansion of the digital economy. Integrating biosensors into this mix could bring great benefits for medical care and for increasing safety in hazardous environments. IEC standardization work will have an important role to play in these developments.
Electricity and electronics are increasingly in everything, even in devices that were purely mechanical before. Not only individual products, but whole companies need to be able to work with each other to come up with technology solutions for increasingly large systems. In his address to Council Nomura sent a strong message: IEC National Committees (NCs) have a key role to play in promoting IEC work. They are the IEC! More than ever, NCs need to represent all national stakeholders and send the right experts to participate in IEC work at the global level.
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.
As smart commercial buildings become incorporated into the wider energy control networks of smart cities and linked to other aspects such as transport, water and air quality, the increasing intelligence and automation of buildings will play a key role in the smart cities of the future.
There is a rapidly increasing range of applications using energy harvesting (EH), the process of collecting low-grade energy from sources such as ambient or waste heat, solar, thermal and kinetic energy and converting it into electrical energy. The increase is driven by the need to enable an ever expanding range of sensors to run and communicate independent of an external power source and by the need to meet the power requirements of a wide variety of mobile and wearable devices. It is seen as one of the main techniques that will allow the Internet of Things (IoT) to develop.
The May issue of e-tech focuses on manufacturing and Big Data.
Sensors: they are invisible, most people don’t even know what they look like, but they are omnipresent today. They have a major impact on our home and work environments and are making our lives much safer and easier in many ways.
The IEC MSB (Market Strategy Board) helps identify what areas the IEC should focus on in the future through the identification of key technological trends and market needs. It publishes recommendations in the form of White Papers. Three new IEC White Papers focus on Smart Cities, the Internet of Things and Microgrids for disaster preparedness and recovery.