The future's at our door

The IEC is gearing up to tackle technological advances

Traditionally, the last issue of the year provides feedback on the IEC General Meeting (GM), held in 2017 in Vladivostok, Russia.

Freight train on the Nordland Line in Norway
Freight train plowing through snow drifts at about 100 km/h on the Trondheim to Bodø Nordland Line in Norway (Photo: Kabelleger / David Gubler via Wikimedia Commons)

While all management meetings looked back on what the IEC has achieved in the 12 months since the Frankfurt GM, in essence the future of the Commission was at the centre of all decisions and discussions. 

Digitization, cooperation and dialogue

One common element that came out of all meetings was that the IEC cannot rest on its laurels. The world is evolving fast, especially in the electrotechnical field where each day sees new developments. The pace of technological advances is increasing and the IEC has to adapt and respond to market demands in a timely fashion. 

Closer collaboration between the two pillars of the IEC – standardization and conformity assessment – is essential to ensure that the IEC keeps playing a vital role in the advancement of technology, the facilitation of trade and, its main purpose, the improved safety, security and well-being of people everywhere. 

Increased exchanges and cooperation with industry and other international or regional organizations is more necessary than ever before in key areas such as smart cities, smart grids, internet of things (IoT), cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI), voice recognition, virtual reality (VR), and digitization in general.

Another way the IEC is paving the way for the future is through its Young Professionals and Affiliate Country programmes, letting new voices be heard within its community.

Technology in cold climates

Befittingly, the Open Session 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. 

The combined impact of climatic factors in polar regions can have a catastrophic impact on electrotechnical systems. Standards must incorporate these different factors and provide the basis for testing under many different environmental conditions.