Press releases

IEC Lord Kelvin Award 2020

Geneva, Switzerland, 2020-11-13 – The IEC has awarded the 2020 Lord Kelvin Award to Mr. Toshiyuki Kajiya from Japan for his outstanding contribution to the development of market relevant and cost-efficient conformity assessment services. The Lord Kelvin Award is the highest honour in the global electrotechnology industry.

Mr Kajiya, who becomes the 37th laureate and the fifth from Japan, received the gold medal in a ceremony held in Japan. The IEC President, Dr Yinbiao Shu, and the IEC General Secretary, Mr Philippe Metzger, sent video messages.

“It is my pleasure and honour to bestow the 2020 Lord Kelvin Award on Mr Toshiyuki Kajiya, in recognition of his valued leadership and tireless support of the IEC,” said Dr Shu.

“I would like to thank Mr Toshiyuki Kajiya — a tireless advocate for IEC during all these years — for his dedication and professional expertise which has advanced the market-relevance and global reach of IEC work in many ways,” said Mr Metzger.

Mr Kajiya is the Director and Board Member of Japan’s Institute of Global Safety Promotion. He is the 2019 recipient of the Japanese Prime Minister Award for Industrial Standardization.

Since 2005, Mr Kajiya has been involved in IEC Conformity Assessment work as the Head Delegate to the Certification Management Committee of the System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components (IECEE). He is also Chair of the IECEE Japanese National Committee and in 2009 joined the IEC Conformity Assessment Board (CAB).

As an eminent member of both CAB and IECEE, Mr Kajiya has led activities that have achieved formal recognition of the Certification Body (CB) Test Certificate as proof of compliance by national regulators in the Gulf and Eurasian economic regions. He has conducted capacity building activities and increased effective use of IECEE in the ASEAN region through his leadership in planning and role as lecturer and trainer in the IEC Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status (ACAS) programme. 

About the Lord Kelvin Award
The prestigious IEC Lord Kelvin Award takes its name from the first IEC President, who was a distinguished scientist and prolific inventor. Lord Kelvin contributed significantly to the advancement of modern physics and the practical applications of electrotechnology.

Lord Kelvin, together with Charles Le Maistre, the first IEC General Secretary, can be considered the true fathers of standardization. They put in place the processes and methodologies that enable companies to spread new technologies broadly and countries to build more sustainable infrastructure.

Today, the Lord Kelvin Award honours their vision and drive to understand and improve the practical applications of the millions of electrical and electronic devices and systems that are part of our daily lives.

About IEC
The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is a global, not-for-profit membership organization that brings together 173 countries and coordinates the work of 20 000 experts globally. IEC International Standards and conformity assessment work underpins international trade in electrical and electronic goods. It facilitates electricity access, and verifies the safety, performance and interoperability of electric and electronic devices and systems, including for example consumer devices such as mobile phones or refrigerators, office and medical equipment, information technology, electricity generation, and much more.

Conformity assessment refers to any activity that determines whether a product, system, service and sometimes people fulfil the requirements and characteristics described in a standard or specification. Such requirements can include performance, safety, efficiency, effectiveness, reliability, durability, or environmental impacts such as pollution or noise. Verification is generally done through testing and/or inspection.


IEC publishes a white paper on the future of safety 

Geneva, Switzerland, 12 November 2020 – The Internet of Things, big data, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence are transforming the connection between technology and people. New and complex safety requirements have emerged with the expansion of intelligent systems. As more machines are integrated into factory and logistic automation, mobility and healthcare processes, the need to ensure safe procedures for people working with machines is increasing. 

It may even be possible that machines gain a characteristic that is traditionally the reserve of humans: intelligence. While the probability of such a scenario is subject to debate, it is known that unforeseen consequences for humans inevitably emerge when new technology is introduced. Consequently, and now more than ever, it is critical to ensure that human safety is placed at the centre of the new human-machine relationship. 

A new IEC White Paper 
The IEC has published a new white paper, Safety in the future, which examines the topic of safety in the new digital environment. It references current social trends and initiatives, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as various real-life examples that are pioneering innovative safety solutions for the future. 

These solutions share the common understanding that the concept of safety will be delivered in an integrated system in which workers, machines and the environment collaborate. Based on this common understanding, the IEC White Paper introduces a collaborative framework called the tripartite system for safety to provide a systems approach to examining key elements of safety in the future. The collaboration will be made possible by information flows going back and forth between the different intelligent agents of the system: human workers, smart machines, and the IT-enabled environment in which they function. 

However, to achieve the goals of the tripartite system for safety will require significant efforts from the standardization community. For example, it will be necessary for standardization organizations to mitigate some of the most pressing challenges related to the decision-making between machines and humans as well as to expand their holistic approaches to safety by gathering insight from the fields of safety psychology, sociology and human behaviour. 

The IEC White Paper concludes by formulating recommendations of both a general nature as well as specifically addressed to the IEC and its committees. 

Downloading the IEC White Paper 
The development of the IEC White Paper Safety in the future has been made possible by the efforts of the IEC Market Strategy Board safety in the future project team. It can be downloaded from the IEC website free-of-charge. 

About the IEC 
The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is a global, not-for-profit membership organization that brings together 173 countries and coordinates the work of 20 000 experts globally. IEC International Standards and conformity assessment work underpins international trade in electrical and electronic goods. It facilitates electricity access, and verifies the safety, performance and interoperability of electric and electronic devices and systems, including for example consumer devices such as mobile phones or refrigerators, office and medical equipment, information technology, electricity generation, and much more. 


IEC launches its first virtual General Meeting 

Geneva, Switzerland, 09 November 2020 – Over 400 participants representing 84 countries are attending the first virtual IEC General Meeting. It consists of 15 sessions taking place between 9 and 20 November. Participants can register to attend management meetings, thematic workshops and two open sessions to discuss specific IEC work items. The 2020 IEC General Meeting also marks the first GM that Philippe Metzger will attend in his official capacity as IEC General Secretary & CEO. 

The move to an exclusively virtual format has been made to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has accelerated the process towards digitalization and the adoption of online tools for businesses around the world, including at the IEC. The 2020 General Meeting provides an opportunity to showcase the seamless transition made to an all-digital environment without hampering IEC core activities or services. 

According to IEC President Dr Yinbiao Shu, “The IEC has shown strength and leadership throughout 2020. The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of cooperation and at this IEC General Meeting we will have the opportunity to share our different experiences and approaches. It is only by working together that we can tackle the current emergency and any others that we may face.” 

The General Secretary & CEO notes, “At the IEC, we are privileged to be able to leverage the unique know-how, insight and knowledge of thousands of experts representing almost every country and industry in the world. The General Meeting will mark an important occasion where we will be able to take stock of the past year and address some of the challenges that the IEC will need to consider in the years ahead.” 

Topics for the online sessions 
The 84th IEC General Meeting will consist of a series of virtual management meetings of the Standardization Management Board, Conformity Assessment Board, Council Board and the Council. Given the time constraints inherent to virtual meetings, the Council session on 13 November 2020 will only address statutory items. To provide members with a forum to learn more about the ongoing governance review and new revenue generating opportunities, the IEC will host two open session on these topics. 

Three online sessions will allow developing and newly industrializing countries to learn more about the role of standardization in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the importance of conformity assessment and how to engage stakeholders in the standardization process. These three sessions will include case studies from participants in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

The Academy and Capacity Building Day will showcase activities and best practices learned from the past year including stakeholder engagement and training approaches during COVID-19. It will also present its first courses available on the IEC Online Learning Platform. 

Information, including registration, is available on the IEC General Meeting 2020 website

About the IEC 
The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is a global, not-for-profit membership organization that brings together 173 countries and coordinates the work of 20 000 experts globally. IEC International Standards and conformity assessment work underpins international trade in electrical and electronic goods. It facilitates electricity access, and verifies the safety, performance and interoperability of electric and electronic devices and systems, including for example consumer devices such as mobile phones or refrigerators, office and medical equipment, information technology, electricity generation, and much more.