Three types of reporting sub-groups
In its role as the main decision-making entity of the IEC, SMB, until recently, had three types of sub-groups reporting to it, each with its own specific terms of reference. These were:
SBs (Sector Boards)
A group, particularly representative of a particular industrial sector, and consisting in principle of members with no role in TC (Technical Committee) work. SBs were responsible for providing information to SMB about the market relevance of IEC International Standards so as to enable it to set technical work priorities and strategy.
ACs (Advisory Committees)
Three ACs on environmental issues (ACEA), electromagnetic compatibility (ACEC) and safety (ACOS) advise, guide and coordinate IEC technical work – under the auspices of the SMB – in their respective areas with the aim of ensuring consistency throughout. Membership of the ACs is principally from the TCs that are involved with the matters being discussed by the AC.
SGs (Strategic Groups
Strategic groups have been set up to provide strategic guidance to the SMB particularly on new areas of interest to the IEC. They are intended to have a defined lifespan with the task of making recommendations on the organization and initiation of the work in their area of responsibility.
SG 1 Energy efficiency and renewable resources
SG 2 Standardization of Ultra High Voltage Technologies (UHV)
SG 3 Smart Grid
SG 4 LVDC distribution systems up to 1500V DC
Cutting down on sub-entities
Now, in an aim to cut down on the number of sub-entities reporting to SMB and to stream line their activities, SMB has decided to retain only the SGs and the ACs, transforming the SBs into ACs. SGs are responsible for longer-term work and setting up work in new fields, introducing new technologies that, once initiated, can then be taken over by the latter, the ACs who, essentially, are responsible for the technical coordination of current work.
Making this clear distinction rationalizes the tasks of the two groups who now have very clear terms of reference.
As a result, the former SB 1 has been transformed into ACTAD (Advisory Committee on Electricity Transmission and Distribution) and SB 4 is now ACTEL (Advisory Committee on Telecommunication).
SGs and ACs continue to report to the SMB. SMB expects that members of SGs will generally be corporate technical experts, perhaps even from outside the standardization world. AC members will predominantly be experts in TCs, or experts in the particular areas concerned who have been nominated by NCs (National Committees) in the particular areas concerned.
A new SG to look after the needs of older citizens
During their June meeting in Stockholm, SMB agreed to set up a fifth SG. SG 5 AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) is to provide strategic guidance and map out the specific areas of technical activity that relate to the quality of life of older people, particularly where using ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is involved in supervising or assisting with their daily life. In many cases, assisted living provides an alternative option for senior people who, although they do not require full-time medical care, can no longer rely on living entirely independently.