Industry Spotlightsort by date

April 2011

EVs key to sustainable individual transportation

Electrification is central to the future of transportation

Worldwide concerns about diminishing oil supplies and rising oil prices, and the adverse environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels, are leading the quest for more sustainable...

April 2011

Curbing driver distraction

Over three quarters of road traffic accidents result from some kind of distraction. This can be cut.

Driver distraction is not new; it is as old as driving. Driving is a complex task that requires constant attention and complex coordination between mind and body. International...

April 2011

Electric vehicles: The first 50 years

Early trials and triumphs

As early as 1899, Nikolaus August Ott, inventor of the four-stroke liquid gas engine, was convinced that electric propulsion would eventually have its hour of glory. His forecast was...

May 2011

From chores to hobbies

Electric tools and garden appliances in the home environment

A variety of electric tools and appliances has changed the home environment. For many, they have transformed often unpleasant chores into rewarding and enjoyable activities. From home...

June 2011

Energy-efficient commercial buildings

The commercial sector uses some 40 % of the energy consumed in the world

The commercial sector is one of the main consumers of energy – of electric power in particular – in industrialized economies today. As energy efficiency emerges as key to our use of...

July 2011

From bomb disposal to waste disposal…

From bomb disposal to waste disposal…

Recent events throughout the world have shown that robots are proving extremely valuable, even irreplaceable, in dealing with the consequences of industrial or natural disasters and...

July 2011

Doctor Robot, I presume?

Robots are set to revolutionize healthcare

The introduction of robots to the health sector is relatively recent, dating back to the late 1980s. Robots open up many possibilities for patient care: from operations to...

July 2011

Vanishing chores

Domestic robots challenge remaining household chore strongholds

The demands of modern life mean that households rely more and more on appliances to carry out a variety of tasks. Furthermore, a rapidly ageing population in all developed countries...

August 2011

Energy-efficient and cleaner aluminium

Aluminium production is extremely energy-intensive; improving its energy efficiency and cleaning up the process is essential

Primary aluminium production relies entirely on electrical power, from the processing of ore (mainly bauxite) into the alumina (aluminium oxide) needed to make aluminium by...

August 2011

Globalized standards

Here to stay

Reprinted with permission from The Journal from Rockwell Automation and Our Partners, copyright 2011 by Rockwell Automation, Inc. and Putman Media, Inc.Compliance with international...

August 2011

The 3D printing manufacturing revolution

From mass production to mass customization with additive manufacturing

3D printing, also known as AM (additive manufacturing) or RM (rapid manufacturing), was introduced more than two decades ago in the form of RP (rapid prototyping). As it enters...

November 2011

Twenty thousand cables under the sea

Power and telecommunication cables expand their scope

Electrical power generation and the primary sources used to produce electricity and their environmental impact, attract a lot of attention. Yet, one key element of power distribution to...

December 2011

Battle of the bulbs

Cutting domestic bills with energy-efficient lighting

More affordable prices and an increasing range of energy-saving light bulbs are driving consumer take-up of energy-efficient lighting for the home, particularly in Western Europe, North...

January 2012

Integrating home networked devices

Paving the way for the smart grid

Integrating a myriad of networked devices in homes will make daily life more enjoyable and convenient and open up opportunities for managing energy supply and demand sensibly. Work by...

March 2012

Cutting risks in human-robot interaction

Sensing risks to prevent accidents

Industrial activity requires tools or equipment that is capable of causing serious injuries or even fatalities if not used with due care. The introduction of automation and robots in...

April 2012

Electric cycles gaining ground worldwide

Fewer wheels, lower cost

Sales of electric cycles are soaring in Asia and several European markets, with consumers attracted by the cheaper purchase and maintenance costs, absence of exhaust emissions and the...

May 2012

Storage for portable devices

Keeping power on the move

The number of portable consumer electronic devices used for entertainment, communication or computing has grown dramatically in recent decades. This growth has been made possible thanks...

June 2012

Game changer for amusement machines

Gaming goes for the personal touch

While the irresistible global rise of online entertainment is bringing rapid change to the market for commercial amusement machines, businesses are also readjusting to the combined...

July 2012

Electroheating: clean and energy-efficient

Find it in everything from metals to food

Electroheating, the high-power heating of material using electrical energy, is widespread in many industrial sectors. It is used for processing elements ranging from metals to glass,...

August 2012

Omnipresent interrupters

Interrupters, small and large, can be found everywhere from homes to all industries

Interrupters are used for a wide range of applications and in switching devices from circuit breakers to switches and reclosers. They are essential to the protection of equipment such...

November 2012

Helping keep power on

IEC standardization work is central to the global expansion of industry and economy

In many countries, everyday services and amenities such as water supply, heating, transport and communications are taken for granted. That is, until a major natural disaster cuts...

January 2013

Toys in smart clothing

Smart moves boost sales of electronic toys

Electric and electronic toys form a small but growing part of the toys and games industry. They are defined as products designed specifically for children for the purpose of...

January 2013

Placing the barcodes higher

Late inventor's enduring invention started in the sand

Joseph Woodland, the inventor of the barcode, passed away aged 91 last December. Although Woodland and his associate Bernard Silver received a US patent for "Classifying Apparatus...

March 2013

Coping with nature's whims

IEC work helps mitigate consequences of natural phenomena

Electrical installations and supply can be directly and adversely affected by natural phenomena and disasters such as solar storms, hurricanes, extreme cold or heat, bad weather...

April 2013

The electric car is already with us!

All car types depend on electrotechnology

Public attention is turning increasingly to the introduction of electric vehicles of all kinds. Where motor vehicles were originally almost entirely mechanical, they are now complex...

May 2013

TC work supports medical devices market

Better and safer treatment with medical electrical equipment and systems

The medical devices industry encompasses a wide range of items and technologies, from the simplest wound dressing to highly sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. Globally,...

June 2013

Small is beautiful

Small electrical and electronic components and devices are found everywhere

The trend to reduce the size of many systems and devices is gathering pace, driven by cost, energy efficiency and environmental considerations. It is most noticeable in the electrical...

July 2013

Invisible link

Submarine power cables and connecting equipment are central to marine energy

Gathering marine energy is a complex operation, yet it is only one part of the overall equation. The other less visible yet equally crucial part consists in transferring power from...

August 2013

A lighter greener touch

Lighting the way forward

The world’s lighting industry is constantly expanding, driven by new lighting technologies, global population growth, increasing urbanization, rising incomes and a desire to check...

January 2014

Connecting homes, connecting things

Internet of Things to bring major changes in connected homes

Commercial and residential buildings are widely expected to become increasingly automated and better connected, allowing them to meet the need to cut energy use as well as to provide...

March 2014

Personal systems herald "smart mobility"

New systems will introduce personalized modes of transport in urban areas

Automated or "self-driving" personal transport systems are no longer the preserve of science fiction. They are now up and running at several locations around the world. IEC...

April 2014

Health-watch on the move

Wearable technologies spread their remit

Some wearable electronic devices such as hearing aids, performance monitors (for measuring activity, heart rate, etc.) and headsets have been around for a while. Other electronic...

May 2014

Renewables' impact powers on

Renewable energies have a positive effect in many areas beside electricity generation

Steadily growing demand for electricity and efforts to reduce the share of fossil fuels in power generation, so cutting both noxious emissions and dependence on imports, have led to a...

June 2014

Storage solutions central to renewables

The future of renewable energies will rest on the right mix of storage

As many countries try to increase the share of REs (renewable energies) in their portfolio for producing electricity, a major issue facing utilities is that of EES (electrical energy...

August 2014

(E)merging technologies

A handful of new technologies moving from the R&D and lab stages into production and mass markets are set to revolutionize manufacturing.

A number of new disruptive technologies, also known as KETs (key enabling technologies), have been the object of extensive R&D for years and even decades in some cases. This holds...

October 2014

Made in the World redefines trade

Out with "Made in X" or "Made in Y", the future is "Made in the World"

Today, unlike a few decades ago, industrial goods are less and less "Made in X" or Made in Y", but they are "Made in the World", even if not labelled as such....

October 2014

Keeping mature technology in top shape

Proper repair, maintenance and overhaul are essential to keep hydro installations running

With the share of RE (renewable energy) sources in the global energy generation mix predicted to grow considerably in coming decades, hydropower will continue to make a major...

November 2014

Sensing with optical fibres

Fibre optic sensors make industry safer and offer advanced sensing possibilities

Starting from the first patent of a fibre optic sensor in 1967, fibre optic sensing has become a success story throughout the world. Today, fibre optic point sensors and continuous...

December 2014

AAL helps extend HALE

IEC work is central to global efforts to help the elderly and people with disabilities live a healthier, more active and independent life

Making life easier for an ageing population and for people with disabilities is becoming a priority in most countries. ICT (information and communication technology), audio, video and...

January 2015

Keeping us working and entertained

IEC standardization underpins the IT and multimedia sectors

The IT, audiovisual and multimedia industries are some of the world's most dynamic. They are worth hundreds of billions of dollars and provide employment to millions across the globe....

March 2015

Tools for professionals and hobbyists

Electric tools and garden appliances in the home and professional environments

Electric tools and appliances have invaded the home environment, making light weight of often tedious and difficult chores and making it possible for amateurs to undertake difficult...

April 2015

Four wheels good, 2 or 3 wheels better!

The future looks bright for two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles

The electric power two-wheel vehicle global market is expected to grow significantly, moving beyond e-bikes as a number of large manufacturers will start launching new models of...

May 2015

Connecting machines, IoT and the Cloud

ICT is increasingly transforming manufacturing into highly-automated and IT-driven processes

Manufacturing accounts for around one-sixth of gross world product, which represents a significant contribution to the global economy. Now it is entering a new era in which formerly...

June 2015

Non-stop energy harvesting

Energy harvesting is developing fast, supporting innumerable applications and devices

There is a rapidly increasing range of applications using energy harvesting (EH), the process of collecting low-grade energy from sources such as ambient or waste heat, solar, thermal...

September 2015

Finding the right Standards for Smart Grids

The IEC developed tools to help find the right International Standard for Smart Grid with minimal trouble

Smart Grids are seen as a necessary solution to overcome issues such as aging grid infrastructures, constantly expanding energy demand and the integration of a growing share of...

September 2015

Keeping the body shipshape

Healthcare has been relying on electrical systems for decades, recent advances will amplify this trend

Treatment of patients has been greatly improving for decades, thanks to a great extent to the introduction of new medical electrical equipment and systems, and improvement on existing...

November 2015

International Standards help keep food safe for all

From farms to the plate International Standards ensure consumers enjoy safer food

The safety of food products is a primary concern for the food industry, the authorities and consumers. Over the years it has improved to such an extent that food poisoning outbreaks...

January 2016

Is 4D printing the next step?

3D printing, entering a new dimension

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the computer-controlled sequential layering of materials to create three‑dimensional shapes. Originally developed more than 30...

March 2016

Safeguarding fast expanding healthcare data

Growing reliance on electronic data in the healthcare environment has security implications for patients and healthcare providers

Recent years have witnessed a rapidly growing volume of healthcare-related data being collected from a variety of sources that include patients’ records, and information provided...

April 2016

What does the future of urban transport look like?

Policy, regulations and International Standards key to safety, efficiency and durability

Global authorities and industry agree that policy, regulations and International Standards must be established urgently so as to allow fully driverless vehicles and instil consumer...

May 2016

Blending the real and virtual worlds

Industry is increasingly using VR/AR applications creatively

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology is all around us. Whether playing a mind-blowing game, training for surgery, enhancing classroom learning, or stepping inside...

June 2016

Playing and enjoying sport in safe environments

IEC International Standards play a central role in enhancing security at sports venues

Major international sports events attract huge crowds and universal media coverage, as well as ill-intentioned individuals bent on wreaking havoc. As such they represent a major...

October 2016

Improving access to multimedia content for those with disabilities

Access to multimedia and ICT services for people suffering from impairment is improving

Multimedia content, particularly on TV, and information technology and communication (ICT) services have become central to our lives. Access to these for people suffering from visual or...

November 2016

Tackling energy efficiency from the start

Better energy efficiency is central to our future energy supply and to sustain growth

Energy efficiency represents the biggest source of untapped energy in the world and, by helping slowing down final energy consumption, one of the main contributors in the reduction of...

January 2017

Energy efficiency trickles down into large applications

Essential in energy-hungry domains such as industry and buildings

Achieving better Electrical Energy Efficiency (EEE) is a very broad task that extends well beyond the more efficient transformation of primary energy, chiefly fossil fuels, into...

March 2017

Relying on AAL for a better life

Systems provide assistance to ageing population aspiring to stay longer independent in their own homes

Keeping individuals in need of certain levels of assistance active and living at home as independently and as long as possible is emerging as a major issue in many countries. This...

April 2017

Brave new car world

Our means of transport are changing in drastic ways

What is the future for cars, buses and trucks? Manufacturers are competing to stay relevant in the years ahead. The IEC is also paving the way with a number of forward-looking...