Conversation Starter: Ethics and Augmented Reality

ethics-and-augmented-realityTechnologies such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are emerging today in fields such as healthcare with wearables opening a new channel of data for patient care and research and consumer electronics with smart fridges, thermostats and other connected, programmable appliances. Now imagine a future where these technologies work seamlessly together creating a personalized, customizable world. Pulling from real-time health data, purchasing habits, tastes, and more, this augmented reality (AR) promises a completely personalized display for a person at any given moment. However, as AR advancements become an integral part of everyday life, there are certain social and ethical implications that must be addressed. In Engadget’s recent Public Access article Mixed Reality, AI, and Randomness, Jay Iorio, Director of Innovation at IEEE Standards Association, raises important ethical questions that must be considered as AR/VR technology matures.

Answering and considering social and ethical questions is becoming an integral part of technology development. Concerned with how technology impacts the world and how the application of technology can improve the world, the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (IEEE SSIT) formed to address questions beyond the technical aspects. As Jay states in his article, “the ethical questions raised by this convergence of emerging technologies are unique in history,” so it is important to invest time and start the conversation now on ethics and augmented reality.

IEEE Formally Launches IEEE Standards University

standards-university-blogJoint program of IEEE Standards Association and IEEE Educational Activities Board offers comprehensive standards education worldwide

It’s a given that standards and standards development are elemental to an engineering education, as they play a critical role in driving innovation, adding value to product design and development, and making a global impact in advancing technology. In response to recognition that there is a growing need for more comprehensive educational materials related to standards and standards development, IEEE has formally launched IEEE Standards University (ISU), a joint program of IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and IEEE Educational Activities Board (IEEE EAB).

Designed for educators, students, engineers, or anyone interested in standards, IEEE Standards University brings a better understanding of the value and impact of standards in business and manufacturing. Participants can draw from a variety of materials that build a practical understanding of standards and the innovation derived from standards development. The varied resources may help improve team working and collaborative skills invaluable to career success, while enhancing understanding of standards in fields such as electrical and electronics engineering, computing, and many others.

A key first engagement point with ISU is through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are offered jointly by IEEE and edX, a leading provider of online learning based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and governed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The first IEEE Standards Education MOOC, Innovation and Competition: Succeeding through Global Standards,” ran six weeks from 29 March to 13 May 2016 to a registered participant base of almost 3,000 individuals from 135 countries.

The Standards MOOC provides a full survey of fundamental standardization themes, including an introduction to standards and standards history, basic concepts and classifications, along with crucial topics like innovation, global markets, trade, implementation, conformity assessment, regulation, intellectual property, and motivating factors in standards development. What’s more, if a university would like to run the Standards MOOC as part of a course for paid college credit, IEEE can offer a license to achieve that.

“Standards play an important role in engineering, technology and computing fields that are at the forefront of advancing technology for the benefit of all,” says Konstantinos Karachalios, Managing Director for IEEE-SA. “IEEE-SA is committed to continue in our efforts to work collaboratively to help bridge the gap between the classroom and the professional world by encouraging standards education as part of engineering curriculums around the world.”

ISU also offers a freely available e-Magazine, with a worldwide audience of educators, students, and practicing professionals interested in technical standards and standards development.

A new, highly engaging offering from ISU is the release of Mars Space Colony: A Game of Standardization, the first standards development simulation game crafted by experts with 20+ years’ experience in real-world technical standards development. The game is designed to teach about technical standards and standards development while developing team and negotiation skills. Topics include the importance of standards to industry, fundamentals of standards development, and a case study on standards. Players participate as members of standards working groups, incorporating roles that reflect the economic, political and technical realities of standards development. IEEE experts can offer support, share ideas, and provide guidance to help Game Masters achieve effective outcomes in efforts to develop the standards needed to create a viable Mars colony.

“IEEE Standards University represents a milestone achievement in providing the resources needed to advance standards and standards development education,” said Jamie Moesch, Managing Director, IEEE Educational Activities. “We are encouraged by the initial response we’ve seen to ISU, and look forward to continuing in our efforts to further standards education through new, innovative and engaging offerings that bring real value to educators, students and engineering professionals worldwide.”

To learn more, visit the IEEE Standards University homepage.

Advancing HealthTech for Humanity during National Healthcare IT Week (and beyond)

#AHT4H #VBlockchain #IEEESA

With it being National Health IT Week, what better topics to touch on than blockchain and healthcare!

Blockchain is everywhere. No matter where you look, and who you speak to these days, the expected implications of the technology are considered to be game changing – and rightfully so. With the ability to impact the way we trust, anonymize, identify and engage through the distributed ledger technology, the applications can span far and wide with potentially positive results across various sectors. Examples include – greater patient autonomy and ownership in their information; addressing counterfeiting in the supply chain; transactive energy; counterfeit management; considerations towards a potentially trust-worthy IoT; and hundreds of other applications.

In order to realize these outcomes, we need to get beyond the hype and better cultivate an understanding of and accessibility to the technology; and the necessary hands-on expertise with greater scale. With this, the opportunity to innovate using the distributed ledger technology today and develop impactful applications across a variety of industries and across a number of value chains becomes much more feasible.

The Advancing HealthTech for Humanity Virtual Blockchain Workshop,(September 22nd – October 21st) targets to support this through a first of its kind, innovative virtual workshop focused on increasing blockchain awareness and skills to make progress towards critical challenges in healthcare today. With expertise on the technology and on the challenges available to offer participants guidance across the journey, the outcomes for all could be very promising. The most impactful submissions will also be noted at the IEEE Computer Society’s Rock Stars of Emerging Technologies event in the Silicon Beach area in Southern California. It is worth noting that in order to allow for greater accessibility, the workshop organizers have agreed to make this a no fee event for participants; and the equally as such for in-kind platform and problem sponsors.

To learn more about our sponsoring experts, platforms and challenges, or to sign up to participate today – visit us at

Interested in showcasing your platform? Have a great healthcare challenge to address via blockchain? Get involved and make a difference today.

  • If you are a blockchain platform with an interest in providing our virtual workshop participants the ability to learn about the technology and use your platform to make a potential impact contact Lloyd Green at
  • If you have an identified healthcare sector challenge and personally have expertise in the topic or know someone that does, please contact Albert Waldhuber at


Japanese Consortium Accepts IEEE 802.21™ for ECHONET Lite Home Networking Specification

The ECHONET Consortium and IEEE have announced a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to utilize IEEE 802.21™ in the ongoing development of the ECHONET Lite specification, a protocol compatible with ubiquitous Internet connectivity. In Japan, the ECHONET Lite specification is already compatible with more than a hundred types of multi-vendor devices, and is also being adopted by manufacturers of the smart electric energy meters that will be installed in all future Japanese households.

The ECHONET consortium was established in 1997 to expand the market of home networking devices by standardizing the technology and assuring its interoperability. As of 2016, the consortium is made up of more than 160 companies across the industry and over 25 universities and research institutions. The MOU with IEEE defines areas of collaborative effort with ECHONET Consortium’s ECHONET System Architecture Working Group as it pertains to device communication protocols and security, technical contributions and other areas of mutual interest.

The advancement of Smart Grid and Smart Home technologies continues to drive an ever-increasing need for standardization in secure, multicast communication. In 2015 July, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) released IEEE 802.21d™ to provide a proven and reliable solution for semiconductor, network equipment, and smart device manufacturers, as well as service providers. In line with the ECHONET Consortium goals, and the application of the ECHONET Lite specification, IEEE 802.21d supports secure Multicast Group Management capability applicable to Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) networks, where thousands of nodes require periodic configuration update, handover, and re-keying in failover and failback scenarios. The standard also supports home networking reliant on secure signaling and keying of a growing number of connected devices, as well as to service providers and operators by providing a means for secure and efficient device configuration and management.

“As part of efforts to expand the global utilization of IEEE standards, our collaborative MoU with ECHONET solidifies IEEE 802.21 as an elemental component in its ECHONET Lite specification,” said Dr. Subir Das, chair, IEEE 802.21 Working Group. “Because the IEEE 802.21d framework streamlines secure multicast communications and provides cost savings over proprietary solutions, the numerous manufacturers and suppliers utilizing the ECHONET Lite specification will benefit and help drive further utilization of IEEE 802.21 both in Japan and the larger global markets they serve.”

In Japan, the ECHONET Consortium is improving standards and actively participating in national projects as part of a systematic approach to integrate many devices and systems. The ECHONET System Architecture Working Group is helping to create a next-generation home networking system, while also promoting activities to support the global development of home networks.

“ECHONET Lite addresses a growing demand for air-conditioning, lighting and other equipment inside the home to be controlled using smartphones or controllers, and for electricity usage to be monitored in order to avoid wasting energy. By applying IEEE802.21 to ECHONET Lite, multi-vendor, interoperable and reliable systems can be realized that are expected to be deployed globally,” said Mr. Kenji Shiraishi, the representative Director of ECHONET Consortium. “Signing the MoU with IEEE brings the proven capabilities of the IEEE 802.21 standard adapted to ECHONET Lite, helping establish a secure communication protocol that can be read by any manufacturer’s equipment, while also allowing ECHONET to participate more closely in standards development as we move towards a greater connected world.”

Learn more about IEEE 802.21.

Learn more about ECHONET Consortium.

IEEE Standards Association Participates in Making the Future at IEEE Technology Time Machine 2016


The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is a platinum patron and will be speaking at the upcoming IEEE Technology Time Machine (IEEE TTM) symposium on 20-21 October 2016 in San Diego, California. IEEE Future Directions’ flagship conference on future technology directions, IEEE TTM will bring together renowned experts from research and industry to explore how technology can be leveraged towards the future.

Contributing to the forward-looking conversation at IEEE TTM, Norman E. Shaw, Director of Product and Business Development at IEEE-SA will present The Future of Technical Content.

Learn more about the upcoming IEEE TTM symposium from IEEE Life Fellow and IEEE TTM conference chair Doug Zuckerman. In the Q&A below, Zuckerman provides insights into the conference’s purpose, program, and value propositions.

Question: Would you explain the TTM conference theme and its relevance and describe the value proposition for attendees?

Zuckerman: The theme this year is “Making the Future.” That’s a differentiator. Previous conferences have taken future-oriented approaches. What will the world look like in 2030? That sort of thing. But it’s always a challenge to weave together a cross-domain sense of how today’s research and development and commercial offerings will take us to that future. What can we do today that will help us shape that future? It’s important to broaden everyone’s perspective on developments in a variety of fields and how those developments may impact someone’s work in a specific domain. That’s both a differentiator as well as a value proposition for attendees.

We think that the value of networking in such an environment is very powerful. Our Future Directions initiatives include Big Data, Brain, Cybersecurity, Digital Senses, Internet of Things, Rebooting Computing – and each of those topics has inter-relationships with the others. There’s a lot of potential synergy in bringing strategists, researchers and practitioners in those fields together in one place.

Question: From a glance at the agenda, it appears that the TTM conference extends well beyond technology – is that a correct perception?

Zuckerman: Indeed it is. Not only are we looking across various IEEE initiatives and creating a holistic view of all of the important technologies – not just within IEEE but across the world in general – but we’re also focusing on the social implications of technology. One of our keynote speakers, Sherry Turkle, works as a professor at MIT and serves as director of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self. She personifies and exemplifies the inquiry into technology’s social implications. In interviews and in her books she’s constantly questioning – is all this technology really a good thing? Is it dehumanizing us? Are mobile electronics – tweeting, texting – somehow making it more difficult for people to really communicate with each other? Technology is great but perhaps there’s a downside from its impact on humanity that we should anticipate and take into account as we develop it. Turkle will explore that angle in her keynote address and I expect it to emerge as a major theme running throughout the conference. We also have what we call a “technology superstars panel,” so the program will have a compelling mix of highly relevant and thought-provoking content.

Question: Who should attend?

Zuckerman: We’ll have content and value for a gamut of people, from students to researchers to entrepreneurs to long-range strategists in the upper echelons of technology companies. Topics under discussion at TTM 2016 will cover a wide and synergistic range of business, social, economic, political and educational issues. The event is geared towards executives, decision makers, industry leaders, technologists, government officials, scientific innovators, economists, social policy makers and others.

Students should attend because they might need ideas on a focus for their thesis or it could help them decide what field to pursue after graduation. In fact, we’ll have a “Lightning Talks” event for young entrepreneurs and professionals to give five-minute insights into their work for students after dinner on the first day.

For researchers, attendance at TTM could help shape their thinking, perhaps lead them to see their own work in a broader context or more long-range. In the technology industry, anyone in mid- to high-level management, particularly people involved with strategic or long-range planning for their companies, would benefit from hearing the conference’s thought leaders and, of course, the chatter in the hallways outside the programmed events.

I should emphasize that this event is open to all interested people, whether or not they are IEEE members. Please look over the conference program and you’ll see that this is a unique opportunity to broaden your horizons on the future of technology and its social implications. It’s quite easy to register for the conference.

Also, attendees should bring their families. San Diego is a lovely location and that provides an extra incentive to make the journey to attend.

Question: What sort of takeaways or post-conference resources will be available?

Zuckerman: Typically, TTM conferences yield a summary white paper on the activities and discussions that unfold at the event and those have proven popular. That will be available via IEEE’s Xplore Digital Library. Also, we’ll be videotaping the event for possible use in creating educational resources and webinars. These resources would prove useful to attendees post-conference and to those who could not attend.

Question: Another theme to the TTM conference seems to be diversity, in all its respects – diversity of topics, viewpoints and speakers. Would you elaborate on that angle?

Zuckerman: Certainly, and gladly. We’ve already discussed topical diversity. But we take very seriously the need to present diverse viewpoints and speakers. Demographically, women in engineering have been under-represented. So, in addition to having female keynote speakers, we’re holding a first-day panel on “Women in Making the Future,” which will feature real superstars of the technology world, including Alicia Abella from AT&T, Kathy Herring Hayashi from Qualcomm, Tamara Clay from Hyperloop One, Meredith Perry, founder and CEO at uBeam and “Chuck” (Charlene) Walrad, managing director at Davenport Consulting. Frankly, it doesn’t get much better than that at any technology conference. Also, it’s important to point to the generational diversity supported by our attention to students and young entrepreneurs, as mentioned earlier.

Question: What do you hope to accomplish with TTM 2016? What outcomes would matter to you personally?

Zuckerman: We’ve used a quote from the author Arthur C. Clarke as our motif for the conference: “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” That’s fitting for TTM 2016. The role of the imagination has always been emphasized by great thinkers. Flights of fancy, unfettered by the actual technology challenges involved in realizing a vision, has always been at the heart of technology advances and scientific breakthroughs. To achieve something new, you must imagine it first. Then you work through the practicalities to see if it’s possible. We’ve conceived and designed TTM 2016 to take attendees out of their own world and give them a glimpse over their own horizons into other domains and ways of seeing the world. Personally, and as chair of this event, my goal is to send attendees home imagining the impossible, and for them to reap the rewards of bold new thinking about their technology pursuits and the social implications and impacts their work may create.

Doug Zuckerman is an IEEE Life Fellow, past president of the IEEE Communication Society and a past member of the IEEE Board of Directors, with more than 30 years of industry experience in telecommunications starting at Bell Laboratories in 1969.

California’s Push for Managing Distributed Energy Resources (DER)

By James Mater, General Manager, Smart Grid QualityLogic, Inc and Member, Gridwise Architecture Council Chair, Smart Grid NW and Rudi Schubert, Director – New Initiatives IEEE Standards Association

It was a significant step forward for grid modernization—certainly in California but quite likely in other states and regions of the world, as well—when the California Public Utility Commission (PUC) on 23 June 2016 issued an order identifying IEEE 2030.5™, IEEE Standard for Smart Energy Profile Application Protocol, as the default communications protocol for linking Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) with operations of the power grid.

Coordinated DERs can be tools for balancing out system issues caused by their proliferation, as well as the inherent intermittency of interconnected wind and solar energy sources. Many of the envisioned, historic benefits of grid modernization and smart grid rollout—enhancing the reliability of electricity delivery, reducing the net power costs for consumers, supporting more stable and sustainable national energy strategies, lessening the environmental impact of humanity’s power needs, etc.—are predicated on increased reliance on DERs and their coordination with grid operational needs.

IEEE 2030.5 defines a smart energy profile for managing energy resources in buildings, including DERs. The standard, published in 2013, defines an application protocol for management of the end-user energy environment, for applications such as demand response, load control, electric vehicles, DER and time-of-day pricing.

With the decision by the California PUC, IEEE 2030.5 has been formally adopted for a specific application in one of the most influential U.S. states. In doing so, the California order provides a regulatory driver and specific application use case for the utilities, vendors, aggregators and others to implement IEEE 2030.5 in their products. It also could deliver a terrific boost to DER proliferation and grid modernization at large.

Supporting Smart Inverter Communications

In its June decision[1], the California PUC formally adopted the IEEE 2030.5 application-layer protocol as the default standard for smart inverter communications by the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs): Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison.

California’s Electric Tariff Rule 21 generally governs the interconnection process for DERs in the state. The California PUC convened its Smart Inverter Working Group (SIWG) in 2013, in order to recommend technical modifications to Rule 21 that would enable grid operators to better leverage smart inverters, which can be used to connect solar resources and other DER with the electrical grid.

The SIWG’s initial recommendations (adopted by the full PUC in December 2014) called for Phase 1 modifications around autonomous smart-inverter functions such as anti-islanding protection and low- and high-frequency ride-through capabilities. The SIWG went on in February 2015 to detail Phase 2 communications recommendations and in March 2015 to identify Phase 3 key requirements and additional issues for discussion.

The June PUC order adopts the SIWG recommendations for both Phase 2 and Phase 3. The IOUs “shall file proposed revisions to Tariff Rule 21 setting forth any agreed-upon technical requirements, testing and certification processes, and effective dates for Phase 2 communication protocols and Phase 3 additional advanced inverter functions in separate Tier 3 advice letters no later than six months from the effective date of this decision.”[2] 

The California order also requires minor enhancements to the IEEE 2030.5 standard. This work is already in process by the IEEE 2030.5 standards-development working group—and now takes on more urgency with the June order.

Upcoming Industry Symposium

In conjunction with the California IOUs, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), SunSpec, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and others, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is hosting its second Symposium and Exposition for DER Management using IEEE 2030.5 on 1 November at Southern California Edison’s Energy Education Center-Irwindale.

Vendors who are either using or considering adding IEEE 2030.5 are invited to attend the event and exhibit their products that support IEEE 2030.5. More than 10 vendors of products capable of IEEE 2030.5-based communications attended the 2015 symposium, and more are expected to exhibit this year. It is important to the industry to know that vendors are able to support the regulatory mandates. 

Important questions will be explored at the symposium, among them:

  • In the DER use case, how does IEEE 2030.5 fit together with the other relevant standards such as IEEE 1547™, IEEE Standard for Distributed Resources Interconnected with Electric Power Systems, IEEE 1815™, IEEE Standard for Electric Power Systems Communications-Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3); SunSpec; IEC 61850, and UL 1741SA?
  • What is IEEE 2030.5’s unique role and purpose for the application?
  • What is the status of the IEEE 2030.5 updates, testing and certification?
  • What is the timetable for actual deployments of smart inverters and utility-DER communications in California, and what are the technical and organizational challenges to implementation? 
  • What will be the impact of smart inverters and DER management on utilities over the next five to 10 years?

Beyond California

Progress in DER integration is apparent in other regions, as well. South Korea, for example, is adopting IEEE 2030.5 as the standard for specific implementations of demand-response applications and has undertaken formal conformance testing on four products that support IEEE 2030.5.

Instances of adoption of global smart grid standards, such as these in South Korea and California, help fuel grid modernization around the world.

[1] Rulemaking 11-09-011, Agenda ID #14667, June 23, 2016,

[2] See Order 9, page 50.

The Value and Process of Creating Standards: CIS Develops its First Standard

justine_speckBy Justine Speck, IEEE Technical Activities

This article originally appeared in The Society Sentinel, An IEEE Technical Activities newsletter.

Earlier this year, the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) completed its first standard, IEEE 1855™, which is based on the Fuzzy Markup Language technology introduced by Giovanni Acampora, Associate Professor at University of Naples Federico II, in 2003. This Standard provides the “fuzzy community” with an important added value in terms of development speed of a system and design interoperability. IEEE 1855, like other standards projects, was developed to standardize a concept, which can benefit the technical community and ultimately consumers. 

Understanding the process of creating a standard from start to finish may initially seem a daunting task; however, the end result is a valuable contribution to the technical field the standard supports, as well as a sense of accomplishment to the Society. Giovanni Acampora, chair of the IEEE 1855 working group, urges others Societies considering developing a standard to do so, and offers experiential advice: “Think about your technology and standardisation activity as a mechanism to provide an added-value both to scientists and engineers using this technology in their research and to people using this technology in their daily life activities. Only if we are able to think about the needs of others, we will be able to achieve a success.”

The first step in developing a standard is to identify the project Sponsor, usually an IEEE Society, which is responsible for the project and provides technical oversight. The effort is collaborative; each Society-sponsored “working group” must work closely with other IEEE OUs to meticulously follow process steps outlined by the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).

The process for IEEE 1855 started in 2011, when the then Chair of the IEEE CIS Standards Committee filed a motion to the IEEE CIS Advisory Committee (AdCom) to initiate the standardization activity related to Fuzzy Markup Language. The AdCom approved the motion and appointed Acampora as chair of the working group tasked with finalizing the standard. After three years, the working group delivered and approved the official draft of IEEE 1855. Then came the sponsor balloting.

“The sponsor balloting was the most crucial activity towards the standardisation of IEEE 1855. It asked worldwide members of IEEE-SA who are interested in the aims and scope of IEEE 1855 to cast a vote of approval, disapproval or revision on the standard draft. In the case of IEEE 1855, 93% of voters returned their vote and 100% of the returned votes were “APPROVE”, says Acampora.

The IEEE-SA Standards Board approved IEEE 1855 on 29 January 2016, as the first IEEE standard sponsored by IEEE CIS. IEEE 1855 was published on 27 May 2016 and is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards store and for subscription at the IEEE Xplore digital library.

“Thanks to IEEE 1855 fuzzy scientists and engineers will be able to design their fuzzy systems by creating a simple XML file and, moreover, they could share their systems by exchanging this XML-based description, without any knowledge of the hardware details on which systems will be implemented,” says Acampora.

IEEE CIS plans to continue their Standards development efforts and are sponsoring IEEE 1849, a standard technology useful for describing event logs in business and enterprise activities.

Read more on IEEE 1855.

Learn more about getting started with Standards development.