The IEC Market Strategy Board (MSB) has been set up to identify key technology trends and market needs. Comprised of high-level industry leaders and IEC officers, the MSB provides recommendations on new technologies that potentially could benefit from international standards.
The MSB’s key trends for 2019 broadly fall into four categories:
1) A new type of resilience:
A new type of resiliency for utilities is needed to cope with the effects of climate change. Resiliency refers to the ability to avoid or minimize disruptions to the grid after an extreme weather happening. Hurricanes, heat waves and flooding are some of the extreme weather events occurring with increased frequency. The impact on the delivery of electricity can be devastating with blackouts affecting millions of people
2) Digital transformation:
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technologies into organizational processes and competencies. It encompasses artificial intelligence (AI), data management and smart systems. For the IEC, areas of future work could include the development of standards to mitigate the impact of potential biases resulting from algorithms.
Data is an important feature of digital transformation, especially as it becomes increasingly easy and cheap to collect and store. This raises questions regarding data access, management, ownership and protection. Within smart systems, the MSB will examine the integration of people, smart devices and machines.
3) Maintaining safety:
The MSB has identified two technologies where safety is an area for further study: AI and the Internet of Things (IoT). Questions raised within the MSB include how to maintain current levels of safety with IoT devices and how to guarantee the safety of home appliances as these increasingly rely on autonomous decision-making. The MSB would also like to examine the impact of machine learning on functional safety.
Cyber security is an increasing threat to organizations and individuals. More systems are becoming data driven and therefore more vulnerable. With the massive proliferation of IoT devices, security questions regarding hacking, data management and privacy are emerging. Risk management has also been raised as a potential topic of further study.
4) Future trends to follow:
Robotics in the service industry and battery-propelled jet airplanes are two topics that will be on the MSB agenda for discussion and likely to become areas of interest in the next few years. Questions remain on whether robot assistants will be deemed sufficiently useful and an acceptable alternative to human personnel. While the electrification of cars and buses has begun, many issues constrain the development of electronic airplanes such as the weight and space requirements of batteries that will be used for propulsion. The IEC has a lot of knowledge in this area and has been tracking developments.
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