Industry Spotlightsort by issue

Issue 01/2011

Get out the garlic

Holding energy vampires at bay

Almost every household in the developed world has a host of products that constantly suck away at energy, even when they do not appear to be switched on. These so-called energy vampires...

Issue 01/2011

Power supplies and chargers

A new role in energy efficiency

Small economies in energy can be obtained through improved standby control. One area where small is starting to play a new role in energy efficiency is that of power supplies. 

Issue 03/2011

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...

Issue 03/2011

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...

Issue 03/2011

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...

Issue 04/2011

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...

Issue 05/2011

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...

Issue 06/2011

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...

Issue 06/2011

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...

Issue 06/2011

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...

Issue 07/2011

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...

Issue 07/2011

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...

Issue 07/2011

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...

Issue 09/2011

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...

Issue 10/2011

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...

Issue 01/2012

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...

Issue 02/2012

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...

Issue 03/2012

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...

Issue 04/2012

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...

Issue 05/2012

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...

Issue 06/2012

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,...

Issue 07/2012

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...

Issue 08/2012

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...

Issue 01/2013

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...

Issue 01/2013

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...

Issue 02/2013

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...

Issue 03/2013

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...

Issue 04/2013

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,...

Issue 05/2013

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...

Issue 06/2013

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...

Issue 07/2013

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...

Issue 01/2014

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...

Issue 02/2014

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...

Issue 03/2014

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...

Issue 04/2014

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...

Issue 05/2014

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...

Issue 06/2014

(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...

Issue 07/2014

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....

Issue 07/2014

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...

Issue 08/2014

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...

Issue 09/2014

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...

Issue 01/2015

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....

Issue 02/2015

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...

Issue 03/2015

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...

Issue 04/2015

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...

Issue 05/2015

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...

Issue 06/2015

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...

Issue 06/2015

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...

Issue 08/2015

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...

Issue 01/2016

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...

Issue 02/2016

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...

Issue 03/2016

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...

Issue 04/2016

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...

Issue 05/2016

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...

Issue 07/2016

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...

Issue 08/2016

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...

Issue 01/2017

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...

Issue 02/2017

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...

Issue 03/2017

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...

Issue 04/2017

Texting cows and talking fields

The Internet of agriculture is flourishing

Imagine getting a text from a cow which is about to calve or from a field to say it needs watering, while drones, smart machinery and mini ‘agribots’ tend to your crops. This...

Issue 05/2017

The shape of prints to come

3D printing will turn manufacturing on its head

Since the mid-18th century, manufacturing has been affected by technical innovations that have led to the gradual replacement of many craft-based activities by mechanized and automated...

Issue 06/2017

Air transport required to clean its acts

Air transport gets more energy efficient as it comes under scrutiny for its environmental impact

Transportation is a major source of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG); air transport is a contributor and efforts have been under way to cut emissions from the sector for many years....

Issue 07/2017

Here comes the sun

Solar PV on the cusp of becoming widespread

Solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity is rapidly increasing its share of global power generation. Technology and production breakthroughs are making it cheaper to manufacture. The IEC is...

Issue 08/2017

Home smart home

Smart homes drive Standards

The market for smart home devices and systems is booming. The IEC is helping the various industries involved by publishing a number of Standards in the relevant sectors.

Issue 01/2018

Baby tech boom

The supply of smart devices engulfs the baby tech market

Baby-related technology is increasingly about monitoring newborns from afar using the latest facial recognition tools and artificial intelligence software.

Issue 02/2018

From driver to driven – and how to get there

Autonomous driving will become the norm, but when, how and in what form?

The internet of things (IoT) – consisting of millions of “sensorized” connected devices and systems – and artificial intelligence (AI) – combining analytics,...

Issue 03/2018

Staying one step ahead

Cyber security and the role of International Standards

Innovation brings new challenges – or, put another way, every silver lining has a cloud. While the Internet has given us connected, smart and interactive technologies, it has also...

Issue 04/2018

A belt and braces approach to cyber security

A holistic strategy, combining best practices with testing and certification, is the best way to build cyber resilience.

We use the expression “belt and braces” to mean that we are being extra careful about something. The idea is that if our belt breaks unexpectedly, our braces will ensure...

Issue 05/2018

From IEC Young Professional to President of the IEC National Committee of Sweden

An interview with Stina Wallström

Last April, Stina Wallström was elected President of Svensk Elstandard (SEK), the IEC National Committee of Sweden. In this position, Wallström is responsible for guiding the...

Issue 05/2018

From a line to a circle: a new shape for the economy

Using Standards to help develop a circular economy

A new mobile phone is released and millions of consumers purchase it even though they already own a working phone. A television set breaks down and is replaced by a new one, rather than...

Issue 06/2018

Protecting supply chains against cyber attacks

Cyber resilience can only be achieved by focusing both on information and operational technologies

In recent months, a number of international studies and reports have highlighted an alarming increase in cyber attacks targeting the supply chain.  One such survey, conducted in...

Issue 01/2019

Rethinking the healthcare ecosystem

New technologies are increasing healthcare access, improving lives and saving costs

Today, for many, technology is an inextricable part of life and healthcare. Friendly robots administer daily medications; algorithms diagnose diseases more accurately than top...

Issue 04/2019

How the IEC has been preparing for 5G

IEC Technical Committee 106 deals with safety testing standards for 5G and other mobile networks

Fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G, look set to transform the way we live and work by connecting not just people but things in the so-called Internet of Things. It’ll...

Issue 02/2020

Eight things organizations should do to ensure compliance with cyber security regulations

International standards can provide guidance and support for complying with regulations such as Europe’s GDPR or California’s CCPA

An organization’s legal responsibilities have always depended on its geographical location or, sometimes, the geographical origins of the data, but the world is becoming a smaller...

Issue 02/2020

Cyber security for critical infrastructure

Many power stations and industrial plants are not equipped to deal with a new generation of malware that targets industrial automation and control systems

Critical infrastructure, ranging from traffic lights to manufacturing plants and power stations, are coming under increasing attack as a new generation of malware specifically targets...

Issue 02/2020

Cyber security for broadcasters – a permanent priority

International standards, industry recommendations and cooperation between broadcasters can help build resilience to cyber threats

Broadcasters, and media companies in general, have been increasingly targeted by cyber attacks from a wide range of actors in recent years. Standardization organizations, IEC in...