Broad societal challenges

IEC work underpins modern life

In his address to Council, Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary & CEO, reminded the audience that electrotechnology is essential in addressing broad societal challenges, such as universal energy access, more efficient use of energy, smart urbanization, climate change mitigation, digitization, cyber security, to name but a few. “Our vision is to have IEC work used everywhere to make the world more efficient and a safer place for everyone. To remain broadly relevant and avoid duplication, we need to cooperate extensively between technical committees in the IEC and with other organizations”, underlined Vreeswijk.

Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary & CEO addresses Council at the IEC GM in Busan, Korea

Simplifying work for experts

The IEC and ISO President’s agreed in 2017 to increase collaboration between IEC and ISO IT departments in order to simplify the daily use of IT systems by the two respective communities. Both IT departments have invested substantial resources, sharing projects and activities in view of aligning systems whenever it makes sense.

A lot of work was accomplished: IEC and ISO have put in place a joint proof-of-concept regarding common software for online collaborative authoring which is to be completed by end 2018. Also by end year, both organizations will be using the same single-sign-on system, IEC having agreed to adopt the one ISO has been using. The IEC has also offered its new Collaboration Platform to ISO for their use. This platform is the foundation upon which new additional features and functionalities such as online authoring will be integrated. Unfortunately, the initial conclusion of ISO is that they may not want to adopt this IEC tool.    

Implementing the Masterplan objectives

Following the approval of the IEC Masterplan in Vladivostok, in 2018, a special task force, including representatives of the six group A members and six full members under the leadership of Past President Jacques Régis initiated the Masterplan implementation plan. The aim was to put in place activities in line with Masterplan objectives, which require active contributions by the whole IEC community. The process was fully interactive, open and transparent. The implementation plan was approved by Council Board (CB) in June and by Council (C) by correspondence end August. All task owners have provided their action plans for 2019. They are currently under consideration by the CB. Action plans for 2020 will have to be submitted by March 2019.

Protecting the IEC brand

To be able to defend the IEC brand from misuse in any given country, the IEC needs to be able to prove that the brand was regularly used over a number of years. One of the most effective ways to do this is to have a dedicated website for the national committee, which includes the IEC logo and name and a backlink to the IEC website. This will help IEC national committees to protect their future claim on the IEC brand. It will also allow them to make a clear link between the IEC and the national organization. National stakeholders will understand that they can influence IEC International Standards only through the IEC national committee.

IEC CO continues to write and disseminate information regarding IEC work to increase global visibility and recognition. This past year, several NCs have republished over 80 e-tech articles in their own publications.

IEC Academy

At the beginning of 2018, the IEC Academy launched regular online webinars. It also provided training workshops in 12 countries, organized detailed training sessions for five NC Secretaries in Geneva and 2 sessions for TC/SC Secretaries and Chairs.

OT vs IT in cyber security

Cyber security and the mitigation of cyber attacks are high on everybody’s agenda. In this context, the IEC met with the European Commission, held a CEO roundtable in the US and participated in a forum which was organized by Wei Hao, the IEC Ambassador during Chinese cyber week in September 2018.

IECEE has developed a testing and certification programme to address the need for CA solutions related to cyber security in the industrial automation sector and is putting in place a programme for the certification of personnel competency in this area.

Providing regional support

Vreeswijk pointed to the broad reach and support the IEC regional offices provide in every time zone.  All regional centres are reaching out to stakeholders from industry, business and governments in their respective region. Regional Directors participate in key events, organize workshops and training sessions and support mentoring or other capacity building activities. They help increase awareness about the IEC.

Together, the offices in Singapore and the US also support half of all IEC technical committees and subcommittees, as well as some of the management boards and advisory committees.

A new generation of experts

The Young Professionals workshop, held in conjunction with the IEC General Meeting in Busan, brought together 80 participants from 39 countries. All found the workshop valuable and 95% plan to get more involved in IEC activities in the future.

Underpinning modern live

IEC International Standards and the IEC Conformity Assessment Systems directly contribute to 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

IEC Standards are always developed in response to market demand. In 2017 the IEC issued a record 634 publications. They are used worldwide by professionals to solidly underpin the technologies that contribute to all aspects of modern life.

To stay relevant, we are now rethinking the way we work in this era of digital transformation. The IEC Masterplan will allow the IEC community to put in place the measures that are needed so that it becomes more flexible, open and agile.