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In a city famous for its honking horns and yellow cabs, it is hard to imagine that horse drawn carriages were once the most common form of transportation in New York City. Two images of Fifth Avenue, taken only thirteen years apart, demonstrate the speed of the transformation: in 1900, the street was filled with carriages pulled by horses and in 1913, the horses had been replaced by automobiles. Innovation and change happen for a myriad of reasons, as Henry Ford can attest, but result in bankruptcy for those, like the horse industry, that are not prepared.
This year’s IEC General Meeting is taking place in China, a country with a long tradition of putting up buildings that can withstand earthquakes. Centuries ago the Chinese realized that the best way to protect cities in an active seismic area is to start thinking about safety and security during the design phase. A good example from more recent times is the world’s second tallest building, the Shanghai Tower. The 632-metre structure (2 073 ft) was designed with a reinforced foundation and a system of counterweights and shock absorbers to prevent excessive swaying during earthquakes and high winds.
In many countries, the networked connection of physical objects is the norm today, in homes and businesses, transport, healthcare, entertainment and sports.
For the second year in a row the World Economic Forum has listed cyber attacks as one of the top five global risks, and highlights that an attack on a country’s electricity system could potentially have devastating effects. Power grid risk has increased due to expanded connectivity to IT and other systems, exposing them to more threats. As the same time, threat actors are focusing more on critical infrastructure attacks, and benefiting from the availability of malware toolsets on the internet.
One of the MIT’s best-known physicists, Seth Lloyd, uses a musical analogy to explain quantum computers. Classical computation, he says, is like a solo voice that produces a series of pure tones which form a single melody. Quantum computing is more like an orchestra, where many different instruments form individual melodies that compete and complement each other to form a symphony. Quantum computers are certainly music to the ears of scientists who predict that they will eventually be able to solve incredibly complex computational problems much faster than any technology we have today.
Today, for many, technology is an inextricable part of life and healthcare. Friendly robots administer daily medications; algorithms diagnose diseases more accurately than top specialists, and a doctor’s appointment can happen over skype.
The growth of connected devices has accelerated the convergence of the once separate domains of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), resulting in industrial IoT (IIOT).
It is a generally accepted notion that we are living in times of rapid change. If, to paraphrase Heraclitus, change is the only constant, then organizations must anticipate areas of possible change and prepare themselves accordingly.
Turn on the radio, set the timer for dinner, turn down the temperature, shut off the lights. With the internet of things (IoT), all of this is possible from the comfort of the couch or while sitting on the bus. As noted by a New York Times journalist, IoT makes homes, offices and vehicles “smarter, more measurable and chattier”.
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 the Americas, Asia and Europe, suggests that in the past year two thirds of companies have experienced a cyber attack on their supply chain.
With the holidays approaching, many parents have entered the mad rush to find the perfect gift for their offspring. And, as a stroll through the toy section of any department store demonstrates, the choice is unlimited.
In his address to Council, Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary & CEO, reminded the audience that electrotechnology is essential in addressing broad societal challenges, such as universal energy access, more efficient use of energy, smart urbanization, climate change mitigation, digitization, cyber security, to name but a few. “Our vision is to have IEC work used everywhere to make the world more efficient and a safer place for everyone. To remain broadly relevant and avoid duplication, we need to cooperate extensively between technical committees in the IEC and with other organizations”, underlined Vreeswijk.
Keeping the aviation industry safe and secure from physical and cyber attacks and other risks linked to potential information and operational technology (IT and OT) issues is of utmost importance, but presents more challenges than do most other sectors.
Cyber attacks are carried out by a range of perpetrators. They include individuals, organized criminals and state-sponsored entities. Sometimes their malicious goals are distinct or overlapping and may include one or more of the following: extortion, fraud, business or reputational damage and disruption interfering with (or taking down) the infrastructures of companies or states. Actors, like goals, often span several areas, making identification and attribution difficult.
The fourth industrial revolution is blurring the traditional boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds.
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 that our trousers stay up.
New technologies will revolutionize the way we commute and transport goods over short and long distances, helped by a plethora of IEC International Standards.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the big buzz words in the tech industry. From robots to self-driving cars, digital twins and medical diagnosis, AI promises to deliver innovation on the scale of the discovery of fire and electricity, as one Silicon Valley chief executive officer (CEO) has put it. While it is not yet clear if this is truth or hyperbole, technical advances are coming rapidly.
The IEC global family has grown to 171 countries.
As up to 80% of cyber breaches may originate in supply chains, protecting these is an absolute priority for all organizations. Industrial and critical infrastructure assets are most at risk. The IEC has developed many Standards for these. It works also on conformity assessment (CA) and global certification schemes through Working Groups (WGs) set up by its Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) and by the Certification Management Committee (CMC) of IECEE, the IEC System for Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components. Both should help better protect supply chains.
IEC Technical Committee (TC) 65: Industrial process measurement, control and automation, has recently published IEC 62443-4-1 on the life-cycle requirements for secure product development in industrial automation and control systems. The publication is the latest in the IEC 62443 series of Standards, a comprehensive set of guidelines that can be implemented in any professional environment, including those covering critical infrastructure, such as power plants or transport networks. These Standards are also increasingly used in the medical sector to protect patient data.
Information technology has become an integral part of our lives whether it be in the consumer, industrial or commercial aspects. It is hard to imagine life, work or entertainment without it. Artificial intelligence (AI) presents the next digital frontier of the IT evolution.
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 spawned the murky, underground world of cyber crime.
As we move towards more connected environments, cyber security threats are increasing. One technology that could help with data protection is blockchain, which is also starting to be used in some renewable energy projects.
Though this scenario is still some way off, the first unmanned taxi drone had a successful maiden run in Dubai last September.
New technology is revolutionizing the way we will consider transport in the near future. Flying cars are one of the options on the cards and a number of IEC Standards can help the various industries involved.
IHS Markit predicts that more than 70 million connected cars will be on the road by 2023. Connected cars enable drivers to receive updated traffic information, send messages or access personalized entertainment systems, but they are also vulnerable to sabotage.
The internet of things (IoT) – consisting of millions of “sensorized” connected devices and systems – and artificial intelligence (AI) – combining analytics, machine learning and algorithms – are making the world smarter and more connected.
Information technology has penetrated our homes, cities and workplaces, as billions of “sensorized” devices and systems that form part of the internet of things (IoT) help to simplify how we work, communicate and carry out daily tasks.
Railways and metro systems have been the subject of a spate of cyber attacks in recent years. Although no major accidents or casualties have been reported so far, it is likely that the problem will get worse and affect safety. As train signalling and control systems move from what were essentially closed systems to open ones based on mobile communication and IP (internet protocol) technologies, cyber security becomes ever more important. IEC International Standards will play a major role in this sector.
Around the world, urban populations are booming. An estimated 54.5 percent of global populations lived in urban settlements in 2016 and this number is expected to increase to 60 by 2030, according to research by the United Nations.
In recent years broadcasters and multimedia companies have come under sustained cyber attacks aimed for a variety of reasons at damaging their physical assets and pilfering their content. Broadcast and multimedia companies, content providers, vendors and trade organizations are coming together now to tackle these threats. IEC Standards play a central role in their efforts to achieve this.
Recognizing the need to ensure continuity in its standards development and conformity assessment activities, the IEC has, since 2010, reached out to up and coming young experts active in a variety of technological sectors through the IEC Young Professionals Programme and its annual workshop, held in conjunction with the IEC General Meeting.
Baby-related technology is increasingly about monitoring newborns from afar using the latest facial recognition tools and artificial intelligence software.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was one of the big buzzwords at CES 2018. From home appliances to robots and self-driving cars, AI is able to help us with our everyday activities. While an interest in intelligent machines can be traced back to Greek mythology, recent advances in computing that enable us to collect large quantities of data and then process it using algorithms, have hastened the development of AI technologies.
Whether we realize it or not, the internet of things (IoT) is part of many aspects of daily life. Thanks to billions of connected, “sensorized” devices and systems, it can facilitate everyday activities and tasks and improve the efficiency of work processes, which saves time and money. In the case of healthcare, it can save lives and improve quality of life.
Traditionally, the last issue of the year provides feedback on the IEC General Meeting (GM), held in 2017 in Vladivostok, Russia.
The ubiquitous internet of things (IoT) comprises billions of "sensorized" and connected devices and systems, which are used in many industries, including agriculture, energy management, healthcare, industrial automation, smart buildings, smart cities and transport.
Railway operators are increasingly achieving greater safety and efficiency by using digital technologies and computer‑based management, control and communication systems. The technical advances in modern transportation that the industrial internet of things (IIoT) enables are driving the development of further international standards in the railway sector.
The Open Session of the 81st IEC General Meeting in Vladivostok focused on the geographical and climatic features that influence the requirements and reliability of electrical and electronic devices as well as on the technologies used in the transportation of people and goods within the Russian Federation.
Our world is changing rapidly and technologies are converging all around us. Enhancements in communications, renewable energy, medical devices and many other areas have improved health, economic safety and development, which can benefit everyone.
Cyber attacks on civil nuclear power plants (NPPs) would have devastating consequences for a country relying, even in part, on nuclear energy. It could affect the entire power network, might cause the release of radioactive material and would have a highly adverse impact on public opinion. A Subcommittee (SC) of the IEC is developing International Standards that reinforce the cyber resilience of NPPs.
Mitigating risk and anticipating attack vulnerabilities on utility grids and systems are not just about installing technology, but also about understanding risk.
Standardization work by the IEC technical committees (TCs) and subcommittees (SCs), and by the Joint Technical Committee (ISO/IEC JTC 1) set up by the IEC and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is meant to prevent and mitigate the catastrophic impact of cyber attacks on parts of the critical infrastructure everywhere. In addition, IECEE, the IEC System for Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, is working on a generic conformity assessment (CA) model which can be applied to cyber security.
The world has never been more connected and surrounded by ICT. Whether we realize it or not, many aspects of ISO/IEC JTC 1 work affect daily life. From a smart toothbrush, animal tracking collar and household appliances, to health monitoring wearables and smart systems in buildings and transport, the list is endless.
Today, many devices and services found in homes, hospitals, the workplace and industry run off electricity. Such machines and equipment can be dangerous if they malfunction, causing explosions, fires or electrocuting users or anyone who comes into contact with them, in addition to damaging property.
IEC TC 4 Secretary Robert Arseneault, winner of the 2016 IEC Thomas A. Edison Award, was at IEC Central Office (CO) recently to receive his award. Arseneault also shared a few thoughts with e-tech on some aspects of the future of hydropower in general. e-tech will report in more depth on certain lesser-known features of hydropower in the very near future.
As more and more objects are connected, communicate and interact with each other, in what is labelled the internet of things (IoT), they become building blocks in larger systems. Known and unknown vulnerabilities in this wealth of objects are bound to attract cyber attacks that can bring down entire critical installations in many countries. Protection of IoT components against cyber threats, as well as of the systems that integrate them, is fast becoming a key priority.
The sparc-FMA International Lighting and Facilities event, organized by the Facility Management Association (FMA) took place from 30 May to 1 June, in Sydney. During the event, more than 60 exhibitors, including lighting manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, showcased the latest innovations in the two industries.
Critical infrastructure systems are being increasingly targeted by sophisticated cyber attacks. A session of the annual Future Networked Car symposium, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the fringe of the Geneva Motor Show, looked at measures aimed at Mitigating cyber security threats to automotive systems. A wide range of speakers took part, including government representatives, car and accessory manufacturers, automotive cyber security solutions developers and providers.
Fingerprint, palm, iris, voice, facial and gesture recognition will aid advances in driver-assistance systems and vehicle security. Incorporating cloud analytics will generate useful information and allow notifications to be sent during emergencies.
In our smart world, a huge number of devices are part of the internet of things (IoT), or becoming so, many of them integrated with our homes, cities, manufacturing or transport systems and infrastructures. Added to this, a growing number of connected consumer devices, appliances and systems are able to carry out many human daily tasks in the home or workplace, whether for healthcare or entertainment. Research by Gartner forecasts the number of connected things will reach 20,8 billion by 2020, of which 13,5 billion will be from the consumer sector.
From home heating systems, smart medical devices and fridges that automatically replenish food items, to connected cars that guide drivers to free parking spots, increasingly IoT is a part of our daily lives. However, this technology is not new. Industrial applications, power generation, digitization, connectivity and automation have been around for many years and IEC has been working in these areas for some time.
Traditionally, the last issue of the year provides feedback on the IEC General Meeting (GM), held in 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany,
The first World Smart City Forum was held on 13 July 2016, co-located with the World Cities Summit in the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. More than 300 participants joined the live event and listened to world experts who addressed, discussed and accepted live questions from audiences in the room and online. The event was simultaneously live-streamed to close to 1 000 online participants and IEC tweets reached well over half a million city stakeholders. The online community www.worldsmartcity.org has more than 1 000 active members.
In an increasingly connected world, instances of cyberattacks targeting objects, systems, institutions and infrastructure are growing exponentially. The sophistication, severity and impact of these attacks vary greatly according to the targets but can have catastrophic consequences if critical systems are affected. Various IEC Technical Committees (TCs) and Subcommittees (SCs), and SCs of ISO/IEC JTC 1, the Joint Technical Committee set up by the IEC and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develop International Standards to protect against these attacks.
Piracy has posed a major security threat to mariners everywhere, from Asia to the Mediterranean, since time immemorial. In the future, threats from armed gangs boarding ships and holding vessels and crews for ransom may be replaced by ones from cyberspace. Every day, many institutions, establishments and individuals are the targets of cyberattacks. While the maritime industry has yet to record a major cyber incident, it recognizes that it is only a matter of time before some of its assets are targeted. As a result, it is taking pre-emptive measures, which include the adoption of International Standards, to mitigate the possibility of cyberattacks and their potential impact.
Cyber-attacks are estimated to cost businesses between USD 400 and USD 500 billion a year, without counting the large number of attacks which go unreported [ ]. As cybercrime continues to rise, companies and CEOs are paying more attention to this threat – cyber-attacks can be damaging to corporate reputation and stock performance.
Over the years the healthcare sector has become increasingly reliant on an IT infrastructure for the proper and safe operation of its equipment and to manage patients' medical records. Healthcare establishments, long spared cyberattacks aimed at stealing confidential information, are now facing unprecedented attempts to breach into their IT infrastructure. The IEC has been developing means to protect the integrity of IT systems and equipment in the healthcare environment for many years.
Information security breaches represent a growing threat to businesses and organizations throughout the world, costing them vast amounts every year in stolen intellectual property and confidential data. The IEC and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) recently published the second edition of the ISO/IEC 27001 Standard, which will help organizations enhance their information security.