Standards advance the fourth industrial revolution

Global standardization leaders attended a forum for intelligent manufacturing in China

The 2019 Qingdao Forum on International Standardization was held on 27-29 October, under the guidance of IEC, ISO, ITU, the Standards Administration of China (SAC) and the People's Government of Shandong Province.

Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary and CEO at 2019 Qingdao Forum for International Standardization
Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary and CEO attends 2019 Qingdao Forum on International Standardization

The event was hosted by the Qingdao Municipal Government – supported by Shandong Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) and organized by Qingdao Oceantec Valley Administration Bureau.

A number of Chinese officials attended, including Tian Shihong, SAMR Vice-Minister, SAC Administrator, Ling Wen, the Vice-Governor of Shandong and Meng Fanli, Mayor of Qingdao.

Enabling the development of secure, innovative technologies through standardization

The Forum theme International standards and the 4th industrial revolution, attracted over 730 representatives from international organizations, ministries and commissions, as well as domestic and foreign enterprises, universities and research institutes.

In his address to the Forum, IEC General Secretary and CEO, Frans Vreeswijk, highlighted the important contribution that standardization makes to digitalization and the 4th industrial revolution – allowing systems of different manufacturers to interconnect and interoperate without the need for special integration efforts.

“For Industry 4.0 the IEC has put in place a systems committee on smart manufacturing. While the IEC already provides most of the standards for the plant floor, we closely cooperate with ISO, ITU, IEEE and many fora and consortia to increase efficiency and avoid duplication or overlaps. No single organization can deliver everything that is needed alone without involving the expertise of others”, said Vreeswijk.

He also emphasized the fact that mass integration of cyber physical systems with networked sensors and software has blurred the lines between operational technology (OT) and IT, and for this reason both technologies must together protect critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.

“IEC work covers both an OT and IT approach to cyber security. The IEC also operates global Conformity Assessment Systems that verify and certify the security of infrastructure solutions and of information security management”, said Vreeswijk. 

Ensuring best practices are applied through standards, testing and certification

IEC Treasurer Jo Cops gave a presentation on the standardization and conformity assessment work IEC does for industry 4.0. From electric motors, batteries and energy storage systems to display devices, printed electronics, automation and control and IT, many different IEC technical committees support both IoT and smart manufacturing, contributing their essential know-how and expertise.

“Some IEC Conformity Assessment Systems offer fully-integrated services that cover the whole system from its design, manufacturing and set-up of devices as well as the installation of the whole system. They oversee inspection, maintenance and repair services and the competence of the personnel executing them, down to system end of life management. There is strong interest for this approach from insurers, investors and regulators who have to manage risk”, said Cops.

He also talked about how the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things and the integration of physical machines with networked sensors and software are blurring the lines between IT and OT. Both systems are now based on similar technologies with similar cyber security issues.

“For IT, third-party certification allows companies to confirm that they have a solid information security management system in place which conforms to ISO/IEC 27001, while in OT cyber resilience in line with IEC 62443 can be certified through the IECEE Industrial Cyber Security Programme,” Cops added.

Event topics

Other sessions covered the following topics:

  • Standardization & modern marine industry system
  • Intelligent manufacturing international standardization seminar
  • Sustainable utilization and standardized management of water resources
  • International standards assist the novel display technologies development
  • Cultivation of standardization talents and capacity building and the China Standard 2035 Project seminar