SMB Communiqué

Issue Q1 2021

New ahG 91, IEC Strategic Plan and Operational Plan

The SMB has set up a new ad hoc Group to provide support to the Council Board Strategic Plan Taskforce (SPTF) and its SMB representative, Vimal Mahendru, in the development and implementation of the new IEC strategy. AhG 91IEC Strategic Plan and Operational Plan, will provide its feedback and inputs on the overall IEC strategy, in particular in areas related to standards development and digital transformation.

As part of its work, ahG 91 will also establish a strategic vision for the SMB including an associated Operational Plan for which it will be responsible for monitoring the implementation. Relevant SMB groups, such as SG 11Hot Topic Radar, and SG 12Digital Transformation and Systems Approach, will also contribute to this effort. Han Xiao (CN) and Vimal Mahendru (IN) have been selected as the Co-Convenors for this new ahG.

New Taskforce on Collaborative Safety

In November 2020, the MSB published its white paper Safety in the future which addresses the topic of safety in the new digital environment. Using real-life examples, the white paper examines innovative safety solutions based upon the idea that safety will be delivered in an integrated system in which workers, machines and the IT environment collaborate.

In an effort to advance the recommendations made in the MSB White Paper, the SMB has requested that ACOS set up a new Taskforce on Collaborative Safety. ACOS has already begun to address this topic as part of the extension of Guide 116 as well as new projects under development with ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 about safety related matters in artificial intelligence.

The new Taskforce will assess the technical and standardization developments in collaborative safety with relevant stakeholders, identify standardization needs and propose a roadmap for future standardization work.

New TC on robotics for electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems

The SMB has given the thumbs up to the setting up of a new technical committee which will develop standards on robotics for electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems. It has assigned the secretariat of IEC TC 129 to China.

IEC TC 129 has been given the scope to standardize robotics applied in power systems, whether power plants, substations or transmission and distribution lines, etc. Robots used in power systems are designed to assist or even replace human workers to complete or carry out certain tasks, which in some cases can be dangerous or strenuous. These include construction work, as well as operation and maintenance of electrical equipment and, can comprise autonomous vehicles operating on rails, on the ground, in the air, underwater and even on or inside equipment, for unmanned inspection.

The initial scope for standardization includes terminology, design, functions and performance, test methods, interfaces between robots and information systems, operation methods and safety and security requirements. In addition, the TC will also be required to provide standards for edge computing as well as analysis of the data acquired by these robots. It will also coordinate its work with other TCs working in standardization for power systems, with the exception of robotics for nuclear power systems which will not come under its remit.

New Standardization Evaluation Group (SEG) on bio-digital convergence

The convergence of biology and digital technologies is a relatively new field of research but applications are already beginning to emerge. (To find out more about this new field, read a report by Policy Horizons Canada). International standards could be required quite rapidly as new markets develop. Bearing this in mind, the SMB decided to set up SEG 12, Bio-digital convergence. Its initial scope will be to investigate current research and technology activities, identify critical challenges and propose a roadmap for standardization in the area of bio-digital convergence.

One of the demands from various members of the SMB is for the SEG to closely cooperate with and encourage participation from the MSB. SMB also asked the SEG to engage with ISO/IEC JTC 1, as well as with other market and policy relevant organizations, on existing standards and on the need for future standards related to bio-digital convergence. The SEG will then submit its findings to the SMB, before any decision can be taken on the future placement of related standardization activities in the IEC.

Updated Code of Conduct

ahG 87, Code of Conduct for technical work, gave its final recommendations to the SMB before being disbanded. The SMB approved two documents supplied by ahG 87, Guidance and process for addressing misconduct and breaches of the Code of Conduct and Code of Conduct for technical work.

The idea was to propose an updated Code of Conduct (CoC) that is easier to use by IEC National Committees, technical committees and IEC staff.  AhG 87 retrieved the best elements from ISO, CAB, the Canadian and UK NCs’ CoCs to include in both documents. Next steps will include training implemented by the Central Office, the publication of a guideline document on competition law and making the acceptance of the Code of Conduct a condition for login at the IEC website.