Standards Reach - Spring 2017
IEEE Standards Association Global Partners Newsletter

Spring 2017


As a valued partner of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), we welcome you to the first issue 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 newletter, please send your request to Victoria Kuperman-Super.


Feature Article

IEEE Demonstrates Benefits of Standards Process to G20 in New Report

The digital age offers developing countries and rising economies an opportunity to be part of new technology-or to be left behind by it. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), an alliance of 35 member states, held a Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy in Cancún, Mexico in June 2016. Among its goals for its member states were: 

  • Maximizing the contribution of the digital economy to growth and wellbeing;
  • Creating the right investment and policy frameworks to support innovation in digital technologies and boost their impact on social prosperity
  • Attaining an environment of security, trust, and resiliency for networks and users

IEEE has been involved with OECD for seven years as a member of its internet technology advisory council. IEEE played a significant part at this meeting, communicating the benefits of standards and the open standards process to rising economies. Ultimately, this would include authoring the chapter on standards for a report created for the leaders of G-20 nations on technological policy.

Here's how IEEE participated in the OECD meeting:

Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director of IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), was part of a panel discussion on "New Markets and New Jobs." Machine automation always brings societal worries about job security and employment for future generations-a legitimate concern that competes with the advocacy on the positive impacts of technologies, methodologies, and systems that aim to reduce human intervention in our day-to-day lives.

For example, the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems has been launched to address key issues facing society regarding intelligent technologies. And the IEEE Internet Initiative facilitates a dialogue between the two historically disparate worlds of technology and policy.

The Internet of Things is an area of great interest in the international community, and IEEE hosted a panel discussion, "Open Standards for an Open Internet of Things (IoT)." Panelists discussed how open standards will be critical to support key development areas-smarter power consumption, improved storage and management of data, safeguards for privacy and security, high-performance micro-controllers, communications and interoperability, among them-that will serve as the foundational building blocks for the IoT.

OECD attracts key players in technological policy, but ultimately what's shared at the conference has to be communicated to a broader audience of international leaders. That's how what's talked about at this event lives on-and that's why IEEE was excited by the opportunity to author the chapter on standards for a report to leaders of the G-20 nations, "Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G-20." IEEE-SA's senior director of technology policy and international affairs, Karen McCabe, says, "Typically the ecology for technology has been to start with proprietary standards and move to more open standards. We want to communicate that the bottom-up, open market standards process working in an open, transparent way, is the best way to bring all voices from all economies into the process."

The IEEE chapter, "Developing Standards For a Digital World," is part of the G20 report.

Regional Focus

Indian Low-Voltage DC Forum Shows Social Benefits of Locally-Based DC Power

More than a century ago, alternating current won out over direct current as the standard for electricity for one simple reason-DC was impractical for long transmission lines. And by definition, electrification required long lines… But what if that last part wasn't true? What if electricity could be generated right at the point of use?

That's the world we're looking at today, says IEEE India office director of standards and technology Sri Chandra. DC is more efficient than AC, running at lower voltage to accomplish the same results over a short span. For example, Chandra says we're already seeing data centers run on DC that travels over Ethernet.

But Chandra says that the real opportunities come in countries like India, where local generation in remote areas is a practical alternative. "These areas can be too expensive to wire. So a solar-powered microgrid, locally connected and with battery backup, using more efficient DC, makes sense. This approach can have a big impact on the cost and effectiveness of electrifying emerging economies."

In 2014 IEEE-SA launched the Indian Low-Voltage DC Forum to explore and promote this technology. An LVDC workshop in Mumbai in January educated participants on the potential of the technology, as did a webinar held earlier the same month. Chandra says there are three key messages participants took away-"One, how energy efficient it is; anything you save in consumption is worth twice that in generation. Second, that there is a huge social impact in bringing power to communities that currently have limited access, perhaps 3 to 4 hours a day at most. And third, that low-voltage DC will create new applications, like DC-operated water pumps, that will benefit communities."

View webinar.


IEEE Volunteer Program Promotes Internet Capabilities for Young People in Tunisia

If anything allows developing countries to leapfrog stages of development, it's the internet. While it's not the answer to every issue, it does enable young people in such countries to participate with peers elsewhere and develop new technologies. That's the thinking behind SIGHT, the Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology, a network of IEEE volunteers around the globe that partner with underserved communities and local organizations to leverage technology for sustainable development.

The SIGHT program in Tunisia is called Tawasol-from an Arabic word meaning "inclusion." "We're involved with some very impressive young people in Tunisia working with kids in schools about the internet," says IEEE-SA's senior director of technology policy and international affairs Karen McCabe. "They empower youth to use the internet in productive and innovative ways, encouraging entrepreneurship while also educating young people about internet safety."

The project piloted a program in two schools that can eventually be scaled to other regions in Tunisia, delivering ICT skills to pupils. From each school the project reached out to the surrounding community to increase awareness among the families, businesses, and local leaders about the internet and the tools and access to information that it can offer.

"The young volunteers also made a film about the program, which is very touching," says McCabe. View video.


Global Engagement Helps Promote Local and Regional Economies

IEEE seeks cooperation with relevant organizations and stakeholders from around the world to achieve global inclusiveness in the advancement of technology and to increase interoperability. To this end, IEEE has a variety of active programs to promote global engagement. Here are a few:

Cooperative relationships and agreements with other organizations help promote faster adoption of technology by ensuring interoperability, as well as helping a wider range of producing countries to bring technologies to a global market.

Adoption of IEEE standards by national, regional, and international standards organizations is encouraged as a way to make it easier for other countries to quickly standardize technology and enter world markets. This adoption is a formal process that may include a reciprocal agreement between IEEE and the organization adopting the IEEE standard.

Learn more about Global Engagement.

Technology News

NESC Mobile App Brings Full Content of Electrical Code to the Field

Who says you can't teach an old code new tricks? The US electrical safety code is over 100 years old, with a significant record of safety in practice. It's also a thick book to carry around in the field, until it isn't, says IEEE Standard Association's director of new opportunities Norman Shaw.

"It's been available in PDF form, but that's not that useable when you're 30 feet in the air and all you have is your phone, either," Shaw says. "We converted the entire code to XML, so you can use it on a tablet or a phone."

"It has all the content of the code-it is the standard," Shaw says. "It has the typical navigation features, global search, the ability to highlight, bookmark and make notes. There are online links such as a dictionary of terms. It contains a lot of the commonly used equations, so you can enter parameters via pulldown menus and get the answers. You can toggle easily between English and metric measurements. And there are videos of experts, so if you read the code and you're not quite sure about something, you can hear from the people who know."

That's an impressive list of options far beyond what a printed book offers, but Shaw says they will continue to add features. "We'll add maps, so you can enter GPS coordinates and get specific codes for where you are for local variables like wind resistance," he says. "And there's a lot of the grid that's grandfathered in, so we'll have the historic codes so you can look up the code to which a specific line was originally built."

While it's the US code, Shaw says it's really an app with universal application. "Many parts of the world, like Latin America, don't really have a full electrical code, just bits and pieces. They can rely on the US code, which represents the experience of decades and, frankly, what we learned from many accidents along the way." Plans are under development to produce a Spanish version of the mobile app as well.

The Name is Squirrel. Zappy the Squirrel

There are technical dangers to electrical substations. And then there are four-legged furry ones. To spread awareness of how to deal with animals determined to expensively chew their way into being barbecue, there's Professor Zappy the Squirrel, now the star of a new video game teaching rodent electrification prevention.

"It started around 2013. Everybody was interested in emerging technology, and a lot of engineers saw IEEE as representing old tech," says Zappy's… creator, IEEE Standards Association's senior technology solutions specialist Luigi Napoli. "We thought we needed a way to make the everyday technology that makes the world run fun to think about."

IEEE 1264™, a standard for animal deterrent in substations, a major source of power outages, offered a natural opportunity. IEEE-SA created three videos featuring Zappy, a cable-chewing, accident-prone squirrel. Zappy caught on and he became a plush toy given away at conferences, as well as a regular interviewee on the Beyond IEEE blog and, inevitably, the proprietor of Twitter and Instagram accounts. And now the Zappy Squirrel game for iOs and Google Android, in which you "help Zappy the Squirrel run, jump, climb, and use whatever tools are available to get through all the obstacles at the metropolis electric power station," is available.

Napoli says Zappy has been a hit with the college audience. "We use him at career fairs, he draws students to STEM. This is important because we need to attract interest the standards process in emerging technologies. By the time technology becomes mature, it's too late to standardize. 


Standards Updates

Global Engagement Critical to Standardization Worldwide

Standardization of technology helps make improvements in everything from health care devices to renewable energy, enabling innovators from countries around the world to share their inventions beyond their local markets and increases economic development. IEEE standards and other products can play a vital role in technology advancement and it is our mission to advance technology for humanity. This is why IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) seeks cooperation with organizations and stakeholders around the world to achieve global inclusiveness in supporting interoperability and promoting the advancement of technology for humanity. Here are some of the ways IEEE-SA global engagement works:

  • General Cooperation: IEEE-SA cooperates on joint activities with other organizations, ranging from joint workshops to other deliverables. For instance, IEEE-SA worked with the Chinese National Institute for Standardization (CNIS) to create a three-part video series on the basics of standards education, geared for the undergraduate engineering student. Each video is intended to serve as a "guest lecturer" in the classroom, filling in gaps that a professor might have in his or her standards background or providing an additional level of detail. Scripts were developed jointly with CNIS, and CNIS provided the translations as well. (
  • National adoption of IEEE standards: Instead of investing resources in developing new standards, national standards bodies (NSBs) can adopt IEEE standards that already exist, benefiting from the speed and interoperability that comes from adopting existing standards rather than developing new ones. IEEE-SA has agreements with many NSBs that allow countries to formally adopt IEEE standards as national standards. For example, IEEE-SA recently signed such agreements with the NSBs in Ecuador and Rwanda.
  • Global Standards Collaboration (GSC): This is an unincorporated voluntary organization that works to increase global cooperation in the communications standards space. IEEE-SA, as a GSC member, will host the 21st meeting of the GSC in Vienna in September 2017.

The IEEE-SA Global Engagement web pages keep an ongoing account of cooperative relationships:

How to Find a Project's Status at IEEE

At any moment, dozens of projects are working their way through the standards process at IEEE-SA, and hundreds more are completed and available as published standards. But how do you know the status of something in your field? Depending on what you want, there are many ways to answer that question at the IEEE-SA website with differing levels of information:

  • At the homepage, two of the first things you see are search boxes labeled "Find a standard" or "Find a project or group." A standards number ("802.1") or a keyword ("wireless") will take you to individual standards or working groups. This is the quickest way to find a published standard, which you can purchase from that standard's page, or to go to a working group's page to see everything they have worked on in their area of technology.
  • If you want to know about proposed or revised standards still in the standardization process, the Standards Board page gives you access to the agendas for NesCom (reviews new project proposals) and RevCom (reviews process for completed draft standards). Click on either, then click on Meeting Information and you'll see past and upcoming agendas; you can open an agenda and do a control-F search within it to find your item of interest.
  • Also on the Standards Board page, there's a link for Board Approvals. After each quarterly meeting a list is published of projects which have been started ("New PARS"), usually indicated by a P before the standard number, ones approved for publication ("New Standards"), and new and published revisions.
Thank you for reading the inaugural 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 newletter, please send your request to Victoria Kuperman-Super.