‘Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity:’ IEEE at the OECD Ministerial Meeting

Consensus has gathered globally that collaboration among all stakeholders—across government, industry, international organizations, academia, civil society and others—will be crucial to spurring additional innovation, growth and social prosperity
in the digital economy around the world. IEEE has joined just such a diverse group in Cancún, Mexico, at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, to advance dialogue and progress.

The OECD Ministerial Meeting, which ends 23 June, is taking place in order to stimulate conversation in key interrelated areas:

  • maximizing the contribution of the digital economy to growth and wellbeing;
  • creating the right investment and policy frameworks to support innovation in digital technologies and boost their impact on social prosperity, and
  • attaining an environment of security, trust and resiliency for networks and users.

With the core purpose of fostering technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity, IEEE was eager to bring its voice to the OECD Ministerial Meeting through a number of opportunities.

New Markets and New Jobs

Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), joins a panel discussion 23 June, “New Markets and New Jobs.”

The proliferation of machine automation is causing many to worry about their job security and the future of employment of their children and communities at large. This is just one of the legitimate concerns that compete with the advocacy on the positive
impacts of technologies, methodologies and systems that aim to reduce human intervention in our day-to-day lives. Mr. Karachalios will speak to the IEEE efforts underway to contribute to alleviating those concerns by helping ensure that technology
is advanced to the benefit of humanity under principled disciplines.

For example, the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems has been launched to address key issues facing
society regarding intelligent technologies. And the IEEE Internet Initiative facilitates a dialogue between the two historically disparate worlds of technology and policy. In this way, the IEEE Internet
Initiative informs debate and decisions, to help ensure trustworthy technology solutions and best practices and to successfully address the new technology policy challenges. Through activities such as these, IEEE is helping drive conversation across
the boundaries that traditionally separate diverse stakeholders, to help ensure that technology is advanced for the benefit of humanity.

In addition to Mr. Karachalios, eight other speakers were invited to join the “New Markets and New Jobs” panel discussion:

  • Alfonso Navarrete Prida, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Mexico;
  • Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Secrétaire d’Etat et Directrice du Secrétariat d’Etat à l’économie (SECO), Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche (DEFR), Switzerland;
  • Arijandas Šliupas, Vice Minister, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Lithuania;
  • Nkosi, Sango Patekile Holomisa, Deputy Minister, Minister of Labour, South Africa;
  • Alan Davidson, Director of the Digital Economy, United States;
  • Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel, American Federation of Labour & Congress of Industrial Organizations;
  • Iain Mac Labhrainn (MacLaren), Director, Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, and
  • Jody Greenstone Miller, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Business Talent Group.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market for the European Commission. Bhairavi Desai, National Taxi Workers’ Alliance; Rob Atkinson, Founder and President, Information Technology and Innovation
Foundation (ITIF), and Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director, Global Indices, INSEAD, are scheduled to serve as “key interveners.”


EcoFenix was announced yesterday, 21 June, as the winner of a U.S. $1,000 cash prize for the IEEE-sponsored Excellence Award for “Best App That Addresses Value Ethical Design,” during the BIAC Connected Communities, Connected Lives Hackathon at the OECD Ministerial Meeting. Kevin Alejandro Ruiz, Luis Esteban Barranco, Noel Leyva Larios, Erik Velasco, Brenda Cristina Rico Marldonado and Fernando Garcia were members of the winning EcoFenix team.

The 24-hour competition encouraged application developers to showcase their coding talents and collaborate with peers and technical mentors from all over the world in developing innovative solutions to local or global challenges. In competition for
more than $20,000 in cash prizes and mentorship from a venture-capital firm, teams developed apps in a range of areas:

  • smart cities apps related to e-government, crisis management, environmental protection, sustainable development, urban transport solutions, energy and/or water conservation;
  • social inclusion apps related to access for traditionally marginalized groups such as the disabled, seniors, residents in rural areas and the under-skilled; digital skills development; e-government, or citizen engagement with the government;
  • entrepreneurship apps related to building business connectivity; increasing scope of small- and medium-size businesses; supporting digital entrepreneurship or transforming employer-employee or buyer-supplier relations, and
  • cultural heritage apps related to history, culture, tourism, geography or arts.

The EcoFenix team’s winning app focuses on connecting individuals in order to reuse electronic equipment that would otherwise be discarded. The app is intended to allow members of a community to utilize components of this equipment to build devices,
such as computers, tablets and mobile phones, which can be distributed to members of the community who cannot otherwise afford these devices. As devices are built using these components, members of the community can provide the instructions on how
the new devices were created that would allow others located anywhere in the world who utilize the app to follow the same approach in their own local community.

Open Standards for an Open IoT

Also yesterday, as part of the 21 June Internet Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC) Forum at the OECD Ministerial Meeting, IEEE hosted a panel discussion, “Open Standards for an Open Internet of Things (IoT).” Roberto Minerva, Research Coordinator
at Telecom Italia Lab, and Chair of the IEEE IoT Initiative, was joined in the discussion by four other panelists:

  • Elsa Chan, Co-founder of Jetlun;
  • David Conrad, Chief Technology Officer, ICANN;
  • Luis Kun, Professor of National Security at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) at the National Defense University;
  • Laurent Liscia, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, OASIS, and
  • Monique Morrow, Chief Technical Officer and Evangelist for New Frontiers Development and Engineering, Cisco.

The session explored how stakeholders can develop a common core of open standards that includes architectural frameworks, reference models and data-abstraction blueprints, to enable a clear definition of relationships among the IoT’s numerous vertical
markets, while minimizing industry and vertical market fragmentation and improving interoperability. Panelists discussed how open standards will be critical to support key development areas—smarter power consumption, improved storage and management
of data, safeguards for privacy and security, high-performance micro-controllers, communications and interoperability, among them—that will serve as the foundational building blocks for the IoT.

Continuing the Conversations

IEEE is committed to continuing the conversations that have been stoked at this week’s OECD Ministerial Meeting. Please visit the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems,
Internet Initiative or IEEE IoT Initiative to engage.

Ethiopian Student Takes Top Prize for IEEE 802® Paper Submission

The IEEE 802® LAN/MAN Standards Committee (802 LMSC) and the IEEE Standards Education Committee (SEC) recently invited students from around the world to submit papers addressing the history, application, or future application of IEEE 802® standards. Papers were judged based on demonstrating three criteria:

  • A level of refinement that is of a publishable quality
  • Readability and clarity so that an audience untrained in the field of standardization can understand the key points being made
  • Sophistication and depth of research relating the original finding to the relevant scholarly literature

A panel of judges with representatives from the 802 LMSC and the SEC has awarded the top prize to Ethiopian student Meareg Abreha, who attends Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Ethiopia’s capital city. Abreha’s paper, entitled “History and Implementation of the IEEE 802 Security Architecture”, has earned the university student a US $1000 Cash Award, a US $500 Travel Stipend, and attendance and hotel accommodations for the IEEE 802 Plenary Meeting and Awards Ceremony in July 2016, where the student also has the opportunity to formally present the winning paper.

Pursuing a Master’s thesis that is related to IEEE 802.11 security protocol improvement, Abreha says “generally, the idea of a competition is very nice, as it motivates young researchers and students to keep the focus of their research matched to the current IEEE trends, and to eventually dig frontier research ideas in the field.”

Abreha was introduced to the competition after participating in a seminar hosted by Desalegne Mekuanint, a lecturer and researcher at AAU who was also named one of the first IEEE Standards Fellows under the IEEE and Internet Society (ISOC) Exchange Fellowship Pilot Programme.

“It’s rewarding to engage young students on the importance of standards in meeting technical, economic, environmental, and societal challenges, and the IEEE 802 standards family clearly demonstrates how standards can make a global impact in our lives today and for the future,” said James Gilb, second vice chair, IEEE 802 LMSC. “We congratulate Meareg for the hard work and thorough research that resulted in an informative and decidedly winning paper that met all the judging panel’s criteria.”

The paper contest sponsored by 802 LMSC and the SEC encourages students to learn about IEEE 802 standards and how they have become globally pervasive, driven by the ever-growing needs of data networks around the world. The success of IEEE 802 standards—from their inception through today—has been based upon their fair, open and transparent development process.

The SEC is a joint committee of the IEEE Standards Association Board of Governors and the IEEE Educational Activities Board.

IEEE Photo Tech Challenge

The IEEE Foundation and IEEE Standards Association are hosting the IEEE Photo Tech Challenge to encourage people to use their mobile devices to capture pictures of how technology impacts the world in three categories:

1. IEEE’s Greatest HITS (History, Innovation, Technology & Science)
2. Technology that Empowers Bright Minds
3. How Tech Helps Humanity

Participants can upload their photos to the Photo Tech Challenge page on the IEEE Foundation Facebook Page, where we already have a great collection of technology photos submitted. You can participate by submitting a photo or by voting for your favorites by giving them a “like”; the most “liked” images will be reviewed by an IEEE panel and top picks will be awarded a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

IEEE will be selecting top photos this summer.

Photos must be taken with a mobile device and fall under one of the three categories: IEEE’s Greatest HITS (History, Innovation, Technology & Science); Technology that Empowers Bright Minds; or How Tech Helps Humanity. Participants are to give a brief description of the photo, as well as share what inspired them to take the photo.

Need some inspiration? Check out the first round of top photos in each category from the IEEE Photo Challenge below. IEEE would like to congratulate Fahad Al Mamun, Maria Arun Kumar, and Hassan El Shenawy for sharing their photos that capture the global impact of technology.

Category: IEEE’s Greatest HITS (History, Innovation, Technology & Science)

Photo credit: Fahad Al Mamun

Category: Technology that Empowers Bright Minds

Photo credit: Maria Arun Kumar

Category: How Tech Helps Humanity

Photo credit: Hassan El Shenawy

Congratulations and thank you to all who have participated in the first round of the IEEE Photo Challenge.

Check out the Photo Tech Challenge page for inspiration and more information to submit your photos or vote for your favorites today!

The National Electrical Safety Code: Engaging the Next Generation of Engineers

Can you imagine a world without electricity? We have a lot of engineers to thank for the wonders of electricity, and we are looking to engage and support the next generation of engineers who will change and evolve our power and energy systems.

IEEE is committed to helping young engineers get involved, offering IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative opportunities to students interested in pursuing a career in power and energy. It is this next generation of electrical engineers that will keep the lights on.

The opportunities are plentiful for electrical engineers and benefits include good wages, mentorship, advancement, and the prospect of providing environmentally responsible and safe services to the public, our economy, and the nation. There is a lot going on in the power industry and the time is ripe to get involved.

As electricity is deployed in new ways and in every reach throughout the world, there are serious risks that need to be tackled. One could say that, with great power comes great responsibility for safety. This is why electrical engineers come together and go through a rigorous review of the National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®), to keep the code up-to-date and useful for the protection of the public, electrical professionals, equipment, and property. With a new edition released every five years, the NESC has a track record of over 100 years of addressing particular electrical safety concerns for persons during the installation, operation, or maintenance of electrical supply and communication lines.

The collaboration and wide participation of electrical engineers and others in the power and energy industry have been key to the success of the NESC in helping provide best practices for safety of electricity supply and communication utility systems to both public and private utilities for many generations. As a review cycle comes to an end with the 2017 Edition of NESC launching in August 2016, it is time to start thinking about what’s next. Again, we look to the rising of next generation electrical engineers to challenge, review, and write a code for the future.

As May is National Electrical Safety Month, it is an opportune time to raise awareness about electrical hazards because education is a great defense against these real safety hazards. However, there is also a need for more to participate in this effort. We hope to encourage more students to join this team of engineers that are not only powering the world, but also seeking to help keep it safe.

Happy National Electrical Safety Month!

2016 OSCON Observations part 1

2016 OSCONKey themes from Wednesday at OSCON in Austin, Texas, where the global open source community has assembled this week “to celebrate achievements, spark new ideas, and map the future of open computing through collaboration and education:”

  • Community and collaboration have been inherent in the DNA of open source since it was formed, and that remains. As an organization focused on collaboration, it is impressive to see the vigorous commitment to these values. It is clear that community and collaboration continue to be the distinguishing characteristics of open source (making it a close cousin of standardization). The interest and need for them moving forward are increasing, even in the day-to-day operations and organizing principles of the organizations that are more fully embracing open source.
  • The open source community is determined to bring even more of the world’s voices into conversation to inform development. Are we as open and collaborative as we could be? In what ways are we shutting people out? Whose perspectives are not being reflected? What requirements are we not hearing? What do we not even know that we don’t know? Expanding and embracing the notion of inclusion were the steady drumbeat of conversation throughout keynotes, targeted breakout sessions and even the
    exhibit hall today.
  • Open source as a collaborative tool continues to evolve, and the dynamic effects of that on the open source community remains to be seen. Communications skills among developers are growing more and more important. Integration, auditing and respect for licensing details are increasingly critical elements in open source success.
  • Open source can and will Advance Technology for Humanity.
    The presence and sponsorship of major corporate participants in the event make up just one indication of how clearly open source is changing the ways that the world works and lives together. And humanitarian mission is clearly a strong undercurrent of the open source movement.

Play the 2016 Open Source Trivia Contest

Try your luck at the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Open Source Trivia Contest. From 18-19 May 2016 on the IEEE-SA Twitter page, we’ll be asking 7 questions related to open source technologies and organizations. Be the first to respond with the correct answer to win a $25 USD Starbucks digital gift card. The 7 winners will then be entered into a random drawing for a $100 USD Amazon.com digital gift card. Winners will be notified via Twitter Direct Message.

View the complete contest rules.

Good luck!

Join the conversation on Twitter.

National Security Depends on Standards

A half-century’s work on test and measurement supports armed forces and commercial aviation

By Mike Seavey, chair, IEEE Standards Steering Committee 20, engineering program manager, Northrop Grumman Corporation

An effort to standardize the testing and diagnostics of electronic components and systems that began in 1966 has continued to this day, with significant impacts on our safety and national security.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of our collective efforts to improve automatic test systems (ATS). This effort began with a single standard from the commercial aviation industry and has over a half-century morphed into a family of more than 30 related standards that apply as well to the United States’ and NATO’s military capabilities on the ground, at sea and in the air.

The arc of this story reflects on the success of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and its strengths as a globally respected standards development organization with a transparent, inclusive process trusted by industry and government. It also illustrates how standards are living documents that evolve to meet new needs and changing circumstances and, in so doing, more effectively support an improved quality of life for us all.

An industry need arises
In 1966, the commercial aviation industry sought to develop a standardized language for expressing test specifications and procedures. This language was known as ATLAS – Abbreviated Test Language for All Systems, an English-like description of a test of an electronic component that both a computer and a human could read. As often happens, industry players understood that they needed a third party with a transparent, inclusive process, a broad array of subject matter experts and a global reputation to develop a universally accepted standard. Enter: IEEE-SA.

A decade later, in December 1976, the IEEE Standards Board approved IEEE/ARINC Standard ATLAS Test Language, IEEE Standard 416™–1976. It would prove crucial to the preparation and documentation of test procedures that could be implemented manually or with automatic or semi-automatic equipment.

By that time, the ATLAS standard had gained widespread acceptance throughout the avionics industry and, though initially created for use by the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC), it had been introduced in numerous military applications and designated as an interim standard by the U.S. Department of Defense.

A standard begets a family
Over time, as new needs were recognized, this initial effort spawned new categories of standards and more than 30 specific standards developed in different domains.

For instance, the IEEE 1505™ based series addresses what’s referred to as the mass interconnect to the automated test equipment station itself, the hardware interface on how signals get in and out of whatever electronic component is being tested and extends to the instrumentation in use. The subject matter experts (SMEs) working on IEEE 1505-related standards have to understand the physical and electrical properties and behavior of hardware, pin contacts, insertion loss and wires.

Another example is the IEEE 1232™-based family of standards which encompass artificial intelligence, diagnostic reasoning, and expert systems. The SMEs working in that area are primarily computer scientists determining how historical data can be applied to tests to provide swifter, more accurate tests.

The benefits of time
Readers should note that 50 years isn’t just an anniversary. We have accumulated a half-century of experience – and data – related to the test and diagnosis of electronic components. That experience and data has materially contributed to making speedier and more accurate diagnoses of failures in the present day.

As the world changes, we’re attempting to address new needs as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Standards are living documents that get revised as new needs such as cybersecurity arise.

The future: prognostics
Where is testing and diagnostics in electronics going? In a word, “prognostics” – predicting the likeliness of an equipment failure and its probable cause, perhaps the ultimate promise of data analytics. That’s where 50 years of experience and data provides an invaluable resource.

Prognostics will make maintenance schedules more data-centric and condition- and priority-based and involve less guesswork. It will improve the design and manufacturing of electronic components and systems at the front end of the cycle. And it will warn of predictable failures.

In accomplishing these advances, prognostics will ultimately make commercial aviation safer and better protect the lives of our armed forces and the citizens they defend.

How it gets done
Active stewardship of ATS-related standards means that they are revised as new needs are recognized. The Standards Coordinating Committee 20 (SCC20) currently maintains more than 30 standards, of which many are in the revision process. Institutional support is critical and SCC20 is co-sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society, the IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Society and the IEEE Aerospace & Electronic Systems Society. Behind the scenes, the IEEE-SA’s staff works tirelessly to support our communal efforts.

The work I’ve described is all accomplished by volunteers and we’re always in need of more perspectives and participation in the process. If you have expertise in testing and diagnostics for electronics, we can use your help on the SCC20 Committee, and working groups. The benefits are many and include professional networking and career building, as well as influence on and insight into how standards affecting your industry are shaped and articulated.

Our community meets face-to-face twice annually. In 2016, the first meeting will take place 24-26 May, in North Reading (Boston area) at Teradyne’s Corporate Headquarters. The second will be held in conjunction with IEEE Autotestcon, on 12-15 September 2016, in Anaheim, Calif.

I cordially invite you to join our community and, in the words of the IEEE’s fundamental mission, “advance technology for the benefit of humanity.”