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 blockchain.ieee.org.

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 l.g.green@ieee.org.
  • 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 a.waldhuber@ieee.org

IEEE Signs MOU with ECHONET

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

ttm2016_250x250_op1

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, http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M163/K822/163822449.pdf.

[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.

Ethernet expands into new application areas: The Connected Car

IoT-CityTechnologists around the world have been working for years to create infrastructure and networks to expand connectivity globally with the goal of connecting more people in more ways to improve life. And this dream is coming to realization with the emergence of the Internet of Things with Ethernet and its standards playing a major role in moving this innovation forward.

In the Wired article, The Internet of Things and the Connected Person , Dr. Chuck Adams, 2009-2010 Past President of the IEEE Standards Association says that at the heart of this innovation is not so much a focus on the devices being linked up, but the “connected person” – allowing humans to make use of applications and services that are enabled by these devices. It’s a vision, in which, a person can utilize a smart car to stay connected to the world while reaching a destination efficiently, productively, and safely.

With connected cars expected to reach the road as early as 2020, the publication of IEEE 802.3bw™-2015 100BASE-T1 standard is quite timely. Primarily driven by the needs of the global automotive industry, this Ethernet standard is yet again another example of Ethernet’s versatility and expansion into new applications.

IEEE 802.3bw-2015 supports 100 megabit per second (Mb/s) Ethernet operation over a single, balanced, twisted pair cable in the connected car. It will not only influence functional vehicle design, but also support a new world of electronic design in vehicle electrification, in-vehicle applications, and real-time connectivity with the outside world.

Learn more about this Ethernet standard from Steve Carlson, chair, IEEE P802.3p™ 100BASE-T1 Gigabit Ethernet Task Force. In the following articles, Steve shares more about IEEE 802.3bw-2015, its applications, and the potential it brings to the connected car industry:

Ethernet has and continues to be the robust technology behind so much innovation. However, the role of this Ethernet standard for the connected car is just one piece in a much larger, exciting story – the connected person.

Interested in learning more about the role of Ethernet in the automotive industry? Please join us for the 2016 IEEE-SA Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day (E&IP@ATD) on 20-21 September 2016 in Paris France. E&IP@ATD is the premier event for manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, and tool providers to learn about Ethernet technologies and applications in the automotive environment.

A New, Unifying Specification Eases Sensor Integration Challenges

bio image joel hulouxBy Joel Huloux, a senior member of IEEE, chairman of the board of MIPI Alliance and director of lobbying and standardization in strategic planning for the microcontroller and digital ICs group at STMicroelectronics.

Integrating sensors into small devices has never been easy, but today it’s even more complex—and more important—than ever before. Thanks to the smartphone industry that popularized sensor applications, consumers and businesses benefit daily from the information sensors provide. Sensors in all types of mobile-connected devices are enabling markets in many vertical industries and fueling the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT). Camera sensors are essential to autonomous vehicles, for example, and embedded biometric sensors are innovating new medical, health, and fitness products.

Because there are broad and diverse markets for sensor-based products, engineers need integration techniques that fulfill many use cases. To facilitate both design and operational efficiencies, engineers need interfaces that are easily implemented and can accommodate multiple sensors in a device with minimal design complexity.

Minimizing pin count is fundamental to an efficient solution because it allows more sensors in a device, simplifies designs and reduces component and implementation costs. But minimizing pin count requires reducing the number of interfaces between components. Designers have traditionally used I2C, SPI, UART, or GPIOs, depending on the sensors used, and the fragmentation of interfaces can increase pin counts when multiple sensors are required.

Interfaces used for sensors need not be complex, because the devices are typically based on mechanical and analog technologies. Yet the interfaces must operate with very little power and use power efficiently to support continuous data collection and transmission from multiple types of sensors—all without compromising battery life.

A unifying solution that solves these integration challenges and provides system-level benefits has recently been released by MIPI Alliance as a draft specification to its member companies. MIPI I3C was developed collaboratively with the broader sensor industry and consolidates the I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIO approaches into a single specification. MIPI I3C is comprehensive and compatible with each approach. The specification requires just two pins and consumes a fraction of the energy the legacy interfaces require. The unified approach can interface multiple sensors from different vendors to a controller or application processor to reduce costs and complexity.

MIPI_I3C_overview_graphic

MIPI I3C is also important because it represents what standards are all about: bringing an industry together to craft engineering solutions that reduce fragmentation, facilitate interoperability, and create design and production efficiencies to accelerate time to market while reducing costs. MIPI Alliance has specialized in this work since 2003, developing methods to interconnect a full range of components in the demanding mobile operating environment.

Given the industry need and the participation of the sensor community in this effort, we fully expect the new interface will play a fundamental role in the growth of sensor-based markets, including the IoT.

MIPI Alliance is a member program of the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization (ISTO), an international federation of leading industry groups and consortia dedicated to the advancement of standardized technologies for the benefit of industry. Day-to-day operations support for ISTO and ISTO member programs is provided by IEEE Alliance Management Services.