Standards Reach - Summer 2018
IEEE Standards Association Global Partners Newsletter

Summer 2018


As a valued partner of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), we welcome you to the Summer 2018 edition of Standards Reach. We hope that you find this newsletter informative and relevant to your organization.

We invite you to share Standards Reach with members of your team and welcome your feedback for future editions. Please send your comments and suggestions to Mary Lynne Nielsen.

If you would like to suggest additional recipients from your organization to receive this newsletter, please send your request to Victoria Kuperman-Super.


Feature Article

Empowering the Digital Citizen in an Age of Personal Connectivity to Everything

Wave after wave of digital technologies have demonstrated technology’s power to reshape our relationships as humans—with each other, with governments and markets, even with the very notion of reality. In the coming decades, digital technologies will blur the line between machines and the human body, overlay reality with digitally created content, and make us all stewards of our data and digital identities.

Thinking about the implications of these technologies is the goal of a number of initiatives at IEEE-SA that focus on “empowering the digital citizen,” aiming to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the ubiquitous personal connectivity through smart devices, and looking at these issues from both technology and policy perspectives. This issue of Standards Reach looks at four ways these questions are being explored within IEEE-SA, with the goal, as Moira Patterson, Global Affairs Program Director for IEEE-SA, says, of being “more human-centric than technology-centric.”

“IEEE’s mission is to advance technology for the benefit of humanity, and I think you have to look at that latter part, ‘for the benefit of humanity,’” says Patterson. “In the last few years we’ve recognized the importance of that and taken a more active role in tackling that side of the technology equation. We need to be mindful and considerate of how people will use any new technology, and what impacts it can have.”

Digital Literacy—The Key to Informed Digital Citizenship and Participation

Many countries already find themselves divided into two distinct groups—those who actively participate online, engaging in daily interaction with a global online world, and those who do not participate in the global online community. Even when the latter have online access, some individuals may have little knowledge of how to utilize these technologies effectively on their own behalf.

“Digital literacy is an impediment to connecting individuals throughout the world,” says Justin Caso, IEEE Technology Policy Programs Senior Manager. “At times, people have the ability to be connected, but they do not see how connecting can be of value.” Bringing them online in many parts of the world requires “considering the local needs of these individuals and the potential ways in which participation can be beneficial to their lives.” One example is farmers in developing economies who could utilize the internet to determine the anticipated demand at market and find the ideal time to bring their crops to potential buyers in order to maximize revenue.

Caso points to two activities going on right now to increase digital literacy, creating environments for productive discussion. The first is an effort coming out of IEEE-SA’s Industry Connections program to produce a uniform set of definitions to improve efficiency when connecting the unconnected. The second is a working group on Digital Literacy under the IEEE Internet Initiative. As Melissa Sassi of Microsoft observed, there is no definition of digital literacy “that applies to every person on the planet.” The current effort in the Digital Literacy group is on developing personas that represent different challenges to digital literacy in different parts of the world, which will help focus thinking about solutions.

Designing Ethical End User Considerations into What We Build and Use

“The word ‘ethics’ is not new to engineers. Engineers have integrated ethical considerations of safety and risk into their designs since the time of the aqueducts,” says John C. Havens, Executive Director, The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (A/IS).

But new technologies raise new kinds of ethical issues. Products or services equipped with autonomous or intelligent algorithms will need to be designed to honor ethical considerations protecting human data, identity, and agency like never before.

Many new products bring multifaceted questions of societal impact and ethics into play. Havens says, “Oftentimes manufacturing decisions are made based on the desire to get to market quickly while still managing risk. Our goal is to ask deeper questions about how a technology can honor the values of end users and incorporate those needs from the design stage forward. This means not only will products you build be more likely to avoid negative unintended consequences, but what you build will be more relevant to users. This means your product will succeed in the market where others fail who haven’t spent this extra attention on values-driven design.”

The P7000 series of standardization projects—currently consisting of 14 approved working groups—is exploring these concerns. “Ethical issues along these lines are often seen by industry as a threat, where regulation might hinder innovation,” Havens says. “But when there’s more time taken at the front end of a design process to examine end-user values and build things that are more directly useful to people, then that front-end time is not about hindering innovation—it’s about increasing it.”

Enabling Inclusion and Protection: Digital Inclusion Through Trust and Agency

Like the digital literacy initiative, the IEEE Industry Connections program called Digital Inclusion Through Trust and Agency “looks at how we give meaningful and affordable access to more than half of the world’s population who are unconnected,” says Maria Palombini, Director of Community and Initiative Development at IEEE-SA.

The key is defining what it means to have meaningful access. “You don’t just go online once and it’s not automatic when you get online what to do. The solution should be designed to mean sustainable and affordable access to the internet,” she says. Part of it, then, is helping people get online the first time, effectively, which has far broader implications than just your ability to socialize online. “The need to be online is a financial, health, and human benefit.”

But the initiative is also looking at developing solutions that establish privacy and security of digital persona while enabling them to enjoy the benefits of the online community. “It’s developing a trust framework that enables the digital citizen to have personal agency, the right to be forgotten, and to protect their privacy and digital persona while restoring dignity to digital transactions amongst individuals and entities. The program also places a heavy focus on developing solutions that protect the most vulnerable—children, disabled, etc.”

A key issue is that, as Palombini says, “You don’t have to be online to have a digital identity”—we all leave digital traces. “The question is, how do we develop a trusted framework that allows me, the digital citizen, to manage those various pieces—my social identity, my financial identity, my health data—in a way that I can protect them, choose who I want to share them with in return for goods or services, and at the same time, once that relationship is over, I can be forgotten.”

Living in the Immersive Future City—And Working Toward It

What happens when all these new technologies come together as a single seamless platform and experience?

Then you have what some are calling the immersive future city—“The harmonization of the digital citizen’s connectivity with the connectivity of the smart city,” says Gerard Hayes, president of the Wireless Research Center of North Carolina and chair of the working group on Connectivity Harmonization of the Digital Citizen.

As he describes it, “The digital citizen is a resident of the immersive future city. An individual with a ubiquitous connectivity from in-body, on-body, and near-body networks to WiFi/WLAN and mobile systems. Real-time analytics of biometric data leads to an improved quality of health and fitness. Ubiquitous connectivity with the digital citizen’s environment allows for optimized, custom engagement with an individual’s surroundings—such as the automatic adjustment of home heating and cooling settings upon arrival.”

Two major areas of development before such a future can be realized are security and interoperability. Devices have to work on shared platforms and to some extent shared data, yet personal data has to be secure and private. Hayes sees this as a challenge which IEEE’s structure is uniquely well-suited to meet: “The most exciting aspect of this initiative is establishment of a cross-functional foundation for collaboration within IEEE. From physical-layer transceiver optimization on the body to higher level data processing and blockchain implementations, this interaction of technical disciplines will spawn innovation and standardization.”

Regional Focus

Standards Summits in Turkey Highlight Wireless Communications and Healthcare Technology

Istanbul and Ankara were the settings for a pair of standards summits with the IEEE-SA and the IEEE Turkey Section in June. In Istanbul, some 100 attendees came to Medipol University for an introduction to standardization and related innovation platforms, focusing on two technical domains – IEEE 802 standards and eHealth work.

Attendees included many technology and telecom companies, says Moira Patterson, Global Affairs Program Director for IEEE-SA—but not only them, as interest in cutting-edge wireless technology is common throughout Turkish industry. She cites the example of an attendee from “one of Turkey’s largest dairy companies—they use the Internet of Things to help manage their supply chain.”

In Ankara, the Electronic Communications Standards Summit was hosted by BTK, the Telecommunications Authority. This event covered wireless communications and smart manufacturing. Besides the interest and hospitality of the official organizers, Patterson says she was impressed by the enthusiasm and participation from IEEE Student Members, who assisted with many of the details in running the summits.


Engagement Events with Technology Leaders in Shenzhen

China is obviously of vast importance in both technology research and manufacturing, much of it centered in the city of Shenzhen, and building relationships throughout China’s technology sector is an important focus of IEEE global engagement. In April, IEEE-SA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Shenzhen Institute of Science and Technology. Engaging Chinese technology organizations in the IEEE standards process offers both parties the ability to work together towards global standards and more fully share technology and opportunities in a global marketplace.

Besides the MOU, a workshop on emerging technology standardization was held with the SIST, and a second workshop was held with Chinese technology giant Tencent in its newly completed Shenzhen headquarters. The event marked its joining IEEE as a corporate member and provided an opportunity to educate Tencent’s staff on effective participation in the IEEE standardization process.

Technology News

AWE 2018 Previews the Convergence of Virtual Realities

“There’s hardly a large company in Silicon Valley that doesn’t seem to be involved pretty heavily in virtual reality,” says IEEE-SA Director of Innovation Jay Iorio. He came to this conclusion after AWE 2018, the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California in June. “It used to be a lot of early stage products, a lot of small operations, and now it’s lot of large corporations. They may not have released products, but everyone is involved.”

One result is that the focus seems to be shifting from devices and apps. Now there’s interest in the convergence of augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things that offers “the illusion of an environment that’s alive, that’s constantly feeding you curated content,” Iorio says. “One of the main things I noticed at AWE this year is that talking about these things doesn’t position you out on the periphery of the discussion. It’s actually something that a lot of people in the industry are starting to talk about.”

Healthcare is a key area of interest—not least because the Fitbit already provides the clearest example of a wearable device gathering data becoming a consumer hit. Iorio says this could change how look at healthcare: “Healthcare, sick care, athletics, fitness—these are artificial distinctions that we make. Continuous monitoring gives a doctor an insight into the uniqueness of your body that you don’t get from office visits, and that changes the psychology of healthcare.”

In all, Iorio saw a greater focus on the implications of AR technology apart from specific products. “The focus on vertical applications—people putting on headsets on assembly lines—is giving way to people thinking about where all this is going,” he says.


SXSW Gives IEEE an Opportunity to Bring Entertainment and Technology Together

South by Southwest® (SXSW®) is of course a music and film festival held every spring in Austin, but as the worlds of technology and entertainment converge, its scope has grown to include almost anything to do with humans and future technology. Last March brought IEEE’s seventh “Tech for Humanity Series” exploring leading-edge technologies—and their potential social and ethical implications. 30 global technologists and thought leaders put on 12 presentations, along with three Meet Ups and an experiential trade show presence with a virtual reality (VR) activation.

Events kicked off with a keynote speech on quantum computing by whurley, CEO of Strangeworks. While there was no single theme for the series, the convergence of technology with the human body was a central interest, says IEEE associate brand and communications manager Jeff Pane. Renowned inventor Dean Kamen, one of whose ventures is the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), explored the notion of manufacturing “replacement parts” for human beings. Poppy Crum of Dolby Laboratories spoke about “hearables,” wearable devices that use sound to integrate augmented reality content into our lives. Hugh Herr of MIT and Aimee Mullins, NCAA athlete and model, led a discussion of extreme bionics and human ability.

For Pane, IEEE’s involvement in the technology side of SXSW is in a sweet spot where interest feeds growth, which sparks more interest at this globally influential event. “We meet these people at SXSW and they learn about IEEE and end up working with us, which generates more content for SXSW,” he says.


Where Cars Are Going: Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day

“Automotive Ethernet is very well established and offers great future potential. We’ve proven it works within a vehicle environment; now we need to direct what we do next,” says Syreeta Bath of Jaguar Land Rover. Collaborating with other companies to define what’s next in automotive Ethernet is the purpose behind the 2018 IEEE-SA Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day, to be held in London, England in October.

“We need to work out whether we focus on more throughput or bring the cost down—the fact is, we need both of these things,” says Bath. “The conference gives OEMs a chance to share their future visions with suppliers and chipmakers. This is important for the chipmakers as they have a long lead time, so they need to know where the market will be in 5 or 10 years.”

This is the 8th annual Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day, and Bath is excited that Jaguar Land Rover has a chance to be a host company. “It’s the first time being in London, so it’s of huge importance to us,” she says. “The good thing about the conference is that it moves around, so many countries get the opportunity to participate.”

The conference is also different from many other industry conferences in that it is open to academic researchers as well. “We get the fresh eyes of academic researchers, and have the opportunity to build those relationships between universities and industry,” says Bath. “It allows us to become aligned with the universities as ultimately they will work on the technologies that we will use in the cars in 10 to 15 years’ time.”


Standards Updates

IEEE 1547 Takes the World of Power Off the Grid

Many standards for electrical power are built on the assumption that we live in a world of power generation in large centralized facilities, to which we’re all connected. And it’s true—most of us in the industrialized world do live in this environment. But Distributed Electrical Resources (DER) are increasingly common with the growth of alternative power sources such as solar, wind, and water power. For people in remote areas, especially in parts of the world where electrification is primarily in cities, it’s easier to connect to an efficient form of locally-based power generation.

The newest revision of IEEE 1547, Standard for Interconnection and Interoperability of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) with Associated Electric Power Systems Interfaces, reflects the fast growth in this sector with new technical specifications for interconnection and interoperability between utility electric power systems and distributed energy resources.

NESC Handbook to Come to Latin America via First-Ever Spanish Translation

“The National Electrical Standard Code (NESC) is one of the most important standards that IEEE manages,” says Ernesto Vega Janica, Senior Manager of Opportunities Development at IEEE. With roots going back over 100 years to the earliest days of electrification, and updated every five years as technology advances, the NESC sets the standards in the U.S. for electrical supply equipment, power, and telecommunication line infrastructure and safety. And for many years, IEEE has produced an NESC Handbook to assist in understanding this complex and vital document.

The NESC Handbook is valuable in nations beyond the U.S., serving as a model for other users in multiple countries. But it’s not just a matter of using this standard, Vega Janica says—first a Spanish-language version must be made available from translators with a full understanding of the engineering concepts involved.

“This has been a major effort. We actually worked with one of the main standards development organizations in Spain to produce the initial translation of the NESC Handbook Premier Edition,” Vega Janica explains. “But because the Spanish spoken in Spain is not the same as in Latin America, we also have a combined team of native Spanish speakers in Latin America to ensure that we have a Spanish-language version that can be used in multiple countries.” Even then, there may be additional differences in terminology between the close to twenty Latin American countries, from Mexico to Patagonia (the southern end of South America), where the NESC Handbook could be useful. “But we’re doing our best to produce a Spanish version that will be suitable for most of the countries,” says Vega Janica.

Along with the translation of the NESC Handbook, there will also be seven e-learning classes translated into Spanish. “Those will not only help people in Latin America make use of this important standard, but they will also be of value in the U.S., where many field workers and engineers are Spanish speaking,” Vega Janica says.

Spotlight Activities
Thank you for reading the Summer 2018 issue of Standards Reach. Please send your comments and suggestions for future editions to Mary Lynne Nielsen. If you would like to suggest additional recipients from your organization to receive this newsletter, please send your request to Victoria Kuperman-Super.