Standards for key information technologies

For many today, smart technologies facilitate carrying out daily activities, business operations, the management of critical infrastructures and more

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.

IoT technology for smart farming
IoT technologies, smartphones, apps and agribots make farming smarter and more efficient

Advancing innovation through standardization

IEC and ISO develop international standards for information and communication technologies (ICT) for business and consumer applications, through their joint technical committee (ISO/IEC JTC 1).

Some examples include automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) techniques for RFID tags used in retail and supply chain management; biometrics, cards and personal identification, for accessing buildings and smart devices. The scope also covers AI, cloud computing, coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information, data management and exchange, IoT, IT security techniques, programming languages and system software interfaces, virtual reality and more.

Staying ahead of the game

Technologies are changing how we live, do business, monitor our health and communicate. In just over two decades, smart devices, email, Internet and social media have largely replaced former communications channels.

Factories are more automated, car manufacturers are developing self-driving vehicles, while algorithms can already predict health problems before they develop, so what about the future? How will life be in another 10 years?

Keeping an eye on the horizon

Against this backdrop, the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) on Emerging Technology and Innovation (JETI) was established in 2016, in order to find and recommend opportunities to JTC 1 to facilitate standards development for future emerging and innovation technologies.

e-tech caught up with Seungyun Lee, JETI Convenor, to hear about the latest work and activities.

What are the top technologies you are currently working on?

We established a list of 15 top technologies following a JETI group survey in 2018. Right now the top five include:

  • Quantum computing and autonomous and data rich vehicles, for which JTC 1 has created new study groups following JETI recommendations.
  • Autonomous systems, which is being worked on in JTC 1 technical committees for IoT and AI.
  • Digital twin and brain-computer interface for which we are developing technology trend reports as an initial investigation and analysis process.

Technology doesn’t stand still. Are there new topics in addition to the top 15?

During the 2018 survey, 32 technologies were identified. These were gathered from many other professional technology forecasting organizations, such as Gartner, IDC and Forest Research.

The list is broad, so we will have to decide which areas need urgent attention and see how we can streamline overlapping topics where possible. Some examples include:

  • augmented data discovery
  • virtual assistance
  • blockchain
  • smart farm/agriculture
  • machine learning
  • smart dust
  • edge computing

Are there any challenges?

As long as the adoption of ICT technologies continues to spread rapidly into all industries, the role and responsibilities of ICT standards will become more important.

As the ICT-based convergence of industry expands, the approach to standardization needs to be differentiated from existing approaches to make sure we consider the various converged industries and eco-systems as well.

At the moment, ISO, IEC and JTC 1 are using a systems approach to standards to support this. We expect the systems approach could become more complex and critical and in this sense, we (JETI) will need to consider how we could improve planning for future emerging technology and what the best methodology to support future ICT standards would be.

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