SyC AAL, the Systems Committee on active assisted living (AAL) brings together a wide range of experts from different areas, such as medical devices, consumer electronics, Internet of Things, computer systems and networks.
The AAL user is any person, of any age, who uses and/or benefits from AAL devices, systems or services. Users are defined in IEC 60050-871, International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (IEV) – Part 871: Active assisted living. IEC SyC AAL was established to address concepts, products, services and systems combining technologies and social environment with the aim of improving AAL.
The objective is that AAL users should, to the greatest extent possible, live a meaningful, active and independent life, be fit and in good health and be socially connected.
"As our lives continue to evolve with news ways of living and working during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a growth in products and services which can be used in homes. The work of IEC SyC AAL has never been more relevant, and promotes the safety, security, privacy and cross-vendor interoperability in the use of such products and services, through the development of international standards", said Ulrike Haltrich, Chair of IEC SyC AAL.
The proportion of elderly people in all societies is growing fast. By 2050, this number is expected to nearly triple, to about 1.7 billion, according to the US National Institute on Aging.
In addition to the elderly, more and more individuals from other demographic groups, who may include people with certain disabilities, are seeking improved access to AAL products and services.
The multiplicity of existing AAL technologies and of those being developed, the large number of standards on the market today and the fragmented standardization landscape are challenges for the IEC which develops international and interoperable standards.
The SyC AAL work is represented through four levels of assistance:
Five use case categories:
AAL use cases include a number of categories to deal with the required levels of assistance, for which there is a certain degree of overlap, i.e. categories may be relevant to several different levels of assistance and not limited to one. The categories identified cover:
The SyC AAL currently consists of a Chair’s Advisory Group (CAG) for strategy and coordination, six Working Groups (WGs), and a Maintenance Team (MT):
IEC SyC AAL works closely with two IEC Advisory Committees, on Applications of Robotic Technology (ACART), including electrotechnology, and on information security and data privacy (ACSEC). It maintains liaisons with eight IEC technical committees, the IEC SyC Smart Cities, three subcommittees of the IEC and ISO joint technical committee which develops standards for information technology (ISO/IEC JTC 1), and six ISO TCs and SCs and other organizations such the International Telecommunication Union through its joint coordination activity on accessibility and human factors (ITU-T/JCA-AHF), or the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, ETSI TC Smart body area network (SMARTBAN).
This wide network may extend in the future as further needs become apparent.
The systems approach is being used to address AAL issues because they cut across many fields of technology. To do this, IEC SyC AAL has set itself the task of monitoring closely the emerging technology trends.
Increasingly, people of all ages are seeking wider and better access to technologies that allow them to live a more active and fulfilling life.
Health challenges are constantly evolving with new threats, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, likely to emerge in coming years. This latest crisis is already having an impact on AAL services and activities.
The multitude of AAL technologies, products and services that can be used in the home and other environments, and the need to develop international and interoperable standards to address current and future issues point to a very active agenda for the IEC SyC AAL in the future.
IEC SyC AAL has published a Technical Specification (TS) and two Systems Reference Deliverable (SRDs)
IEC TS 63134:2020, Active assisted living (AAL) use cases
IEC SRD 63234-1:2020, Economic evaluation of active assisted living services – Part 1: Framework
IEC SRD 63234-2:2020, Economic evaluation of active assisted living services – Part 2: Example of use Monitoring patients with chronic diseases
It is developing a further 13 publications (International standards, TSs and SRDs) covering a wide range of AAL-related systems and issues.