National Electrical Safety Code Timeline

Today, the National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) celebrates 100 years in print. One of the most widely adopted safety codes and produced exclusively by IEEE, the NESC provides best practices for safety of electric supply and communication utility systems to both public and private utilities.

Every five years the NESC goes through a rigorous review process to keep the code up-to-date and useful for the protection of the public, electrical professionals, equipment and property. Below is a list of important dates for the review process:

1 August 2014: IEEE commemorates 100th year of the NESC.

1 September 2014: Preprint of the change proposals for incorporation into the 2017 Edition of the NESC published for distribution to the NESC Committee and other interested parties. This opens the public comment period, by interested parties, on the submitted change proposals and the subcommittee recommendations.

1 May 2015: The final date to submit comments on the submitted change proposal and the subcommittee recommendations. All comments and recommendations on these proposals are due to the Secretary, NESC Committee.

September-October 2015: Period for the NESC Subcommittee Working Groups and the NESC Subcommittees to reconsider all recommendations concerning the proposed amendments and prepare final report.

15 January 2016: Proposed revision of the NESC, Accredited Standards Committee C2, submitted to the NESC Committee for letter ballot and to ANSI for concurrent public review.

15 May 2016: NESC Committee approved revisions of the NESC submitted to ANSI for recognition as an ANSI standard.

1 August 2016: Publication of the 2017 Edition of the NESC.

To ensure the NESC aids in another 100 years of keeping utilities safe and efficient, the NESC Committee and IEEE-SA invites all interested parties to participate in the review and public comment process. For more information, please visit the NESC webpage.


Fashion Forward: Where Style and Technology Meet

Shuang Yu, Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing, IEEE Standards Association

Would you wear a dress capable of changing color with your mood? Or carry a clutch that doubles as a speaker? What about a bracelet that measures sun exposure and provides personalized recommendations to protect your skin? Would you use a basketball that critiques your performance and offers customized coaching based on performance? Or rock a drum solo on a pair of pants that serves as a drum kit?

Sounds like science fiction, right?

What if I tell you that I’ve seen all of these and more with my own eyes at the recent Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2014 Wearable Fashion Show at Santa Clara, California? Yes, these futuristic clothes and accessories are coming to our daily lives.

As someone who is fashion-conscious and works in a technology organization, I’m intrigued by the possibilities of utilizing the latest technologies in the future of clothing design. This AWE showcase, highlighting the successful fusion of the two, made me rethink the traditional concepts of fashion and clothing: with technology advancement, will clothing continue to serve in its present role of protection and personal style? Or will it become something more?

With sensors and wearable technologies, each of us can collect data about ourselves: how we sleep, what we eat, when we exercise. All the information collected creates better awareness about us, allowing personalized recommendations to be made. This marriage of fashion and technology will help improve our overall quality of life – for example, a golfer might be able to correct his swing with data captured by a device embedded in his golf shirt, which monitors and analyzes physical movement.

As technology continues to evolve, clothing is becoming increasingly interactive and changing the way we communicate with the world. Did you know there is a Facebook jacket that gives a person a “hug” when someone likes his/her online status? Or how about this Twitter dress that displays tweets in real-time on its surface? What about the outfit that Lady Gaga wore at the 2013 iTunes festival where blowing-bubbles came out of her dress? In the near future, we may see Hunger Games-style digital couture: we may be able to change our appearance with the press of a button whenever and wherever we feel like it. It will take self-expression to a whole other level.

What began to dawn on me at AWE was that there’s a new world in the forming, a digital world that is based on the vast amounts of data we generate and collect. This brave new digital world will be an extension of our physical world. In the near future, we could enter the era of the “connected person”, where individuals connect and interact with both worlds constantly. Our clothes, accessories, and even our own bodies eventually, may become a primary interface through which we access information, communicate, and connect to the universe.

For example, we may see nail polish changing color to reflect one’s sugar level, or flashing to alert you when there’s a phone call coming in. Or we might see clothing able to assist in emergency situations. – Imagine the power goes out at your house, taking the lights with it. What if your clothing was designed to be light sensitive, allowing it to detect and react to this change in your environment? Your outfit could emit a glow allowing you to move around safely, provide real-time status alerts (is this a block-wide issue? Is it only your house?), and place a call to the power company automatically?

Technologies are transforming the traditional definition of clothing: it is moving from just style and functionality to improving the way we as humans interact and communicate with the world. I look forward to watching this space carefully, as the worlds of fashion and technology grow closer and closer.

How do you see the technology and fashion interact with each other moving forward? Send me an email, or leave a comment below.

IEEE and DIGITALEUROPE lead efforts to keep EU MSP’s momentum

On 21 May IEEE-SA held a joint event in Brussels with DIGITALEUROPE – the European trade association representing the digital technology industry – to take stock of the work done by the Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) on ICT Standardisation since its creation in late 2011. The event was attended by around 50 participants including representatives from the European Commission, national competent authorities as well as from the ICT industry. IEEE was represented by David Law and Karine Iffour.

Created during the standardisation review process that resulted in EU Regulation 1025/2012 on European standardisation, the MSP has played a key role in ensuring that innovation is based on voluntary, global and consensus-based standards and in avoiding duplication of standards where these already exist, hence speeding up market uptake of new technology solutions. As an active member of the platform, IEEE has been an important voice advising the European Commission on ICT standardisation policy and on identifying standards for referencing in public procurement.

As member of the speakers’ panel, David Law highlighted the key role of standards in driving innovation and ensuring interoperability. Law’s views were shared by many of the participants, such as W3C, who advocated for more standardisation and more cooperation in the ICT sector, pointing out that those two elements could lead to better responses to the challenges that internet poses. In particular, W3C made reference to the importance of the OpenStand Principles, namely cooperation, transparency, broad consensus, availability, empowerment and voluntary adoption, in shaping a global community for open innovation.

The event was also an opportunity for MSP members to share their experience in contributing to the platform’s work since its launch and convey their views on what their future priorities should be.

Michel Catinat, Head of Unit, DG Enterprise and Industry and MSP co-chair, concluded the meeting by acknowledging the success of the MSP over the past 2 years. He called for additional actions in order to maximize the impact of the Rolling Plan and to speed up the process of identifying specifications.

Learn more about the IEEE-SA Global Cooperation

The ‘Connected Person’ Brings e-Health to Life

By Alpesh Shah and Bill Ash

The origin of humanity is akin to that of technology: It is what we are willing to accept as truth. No matter what we choose to believe of either’s origins, what becomes evident—as the years pass and we start to look to the future—is that humanity and technology begin to intersect and converge in very meaningful ways … ways that can change the game when it comes to addressing our shared millennial grand challenges such as ensuring access to clean water, harnessing efficient energy and managing resources and population growth …. ways that allow us to collaborate in nanoseconds with the power of a thought … ways that allow diseases to be aggressively attacked to save lives … and much, much more.

How is this possible? What will it take? How will we get there? How do we get started? The answers to all of these questions boil down to one fundamental answer that we then build upon: the “connected person.”

Who or what is the connected person?
Many of us already think of our cell phones and other mobile devices as a natural extension of our bodies, and, as such, we are always connected. This is certainly one way to conjure the concept of the connected person—a world in which the person, environment and technology work together simultaneously.

Let’s take another step forward in the concept with a complementary view—that we ourselves are technology. No other technology comes close to compare to the complexity of a person. For example, the human body with its detailed elements represents interoperability in the truest of fashions. Think about it. Each cell has a set of receptors meant to trigger specific actions based on the level of access the transponder may have. The value, though, is not in balkanized living ecosystems but in the enhanced connectivity of these ecosystems in an enhanced way.

It may sound more like a subject matter in Philosophy 101 than for a technology blog, but think about it. And if we choose to believe this to be true, then we begin to imagine the real power of the connected person.

The connected person represents us as individuals that interact with human technologies and manufactured technologies across the spectrum. As our level of interaction and usage increases at an exponential pace, our dependencies on these technologies as a part of us strengthens, and we begin to see that we, as connected people, are integral to the concepts of connected homes, connected vehicles, connected cities and a connected world.

So why should I care about the connected person?
A great application for this concept is the transformation that is playing out in the healthcare industry. For example, consider the large focus on achieving, maintaining and monitoring wellness and the role of technology in these pursuits.

Think about how many of your friends you have seen on the train, in class, at work or even at parties wearing devices that measure their sleeping patterns, the number of steps they take each day and/or the calories they burn. These same devices immediately sync to the always-on mobile device, and, within a few minutes, they have a dashboard outlining a snapshot of their health.

This information, furthermore, can be shared not only with their healthcare professionals, but the user might also choose to easily, securely share their data with the greater world. Constant connectivity of information and actionable data streams result in the connected person receiving support and encouragement through online communities. Also, transmission of their data along with all of their meals for the week can be sent to their healthcare physician, who is able to triangulate this progress with recent symptoms to glean a more accurate and comprehensive assessment of the connected person’s wellness. In such ways, “e-health” allows for earlier detection, easier monitoring and new, at-home treatment options.

OK, so I now understand the connected person, but what does the IEEE Standards Association have to do with it and healthcare?
Connectivity in healthcare stands to substantially strengthen public health, and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is playing a major role in the interoperability of healthcare applications and devices with the IEEE 11073™ standards.

By measuring both activity levels and health stats, the goal of e-health is to allow these monitoring and independent living devices to work together to detect conditions sooner. Allowing personal health devices to securely exchange information among the device, patient and physician is the focus of the IEEE 11073™ standards.

Studies have shown a $30-billion loss in the United States alone due to lack of interoperability among medical devices. Standards-based e-health implementations not only help to address this financial deficit, but also help reduce the cost of healthcare overall. Medical devices leveraging the interoperability from these standards also allows hospitals and physicians to focus on creating the services that go along with these devices instead of worrying if they will work with the other technology they have in place. For example, imagine a refrigerator that dispenses medication when a person goes for a glass of water … no more forgetting medication.

This adaptation and convergence of our technology, our environments and ourselves epitomize the concept of the connected person, a symbiotic relationship with technology.

The IEEE-SA provides market-driven, open standards such as the IEEE 11073™ family and facilitates collaboration across key, interrelated areas of innovation to connect people and improve lives globally. Through the IEEE-SA, the world’s technologists tap into unmatched access to cross-disciplinary expertise across and beyond IEEE to work together to build the infrastructure, networking, generation, automation, operation and distribution necessary to enable the connected person. Furthermore, the IEEE-SA helps protect a connected person’s privacy and security through education and open interoperable standards that foster a trustworthy framework for connectivity.

Get connected … with IEEE
IEEE-SA will be at Health Datapalooza in Washington DC June 1-3, if you are attending we invite you to stop by our table for a conversation about e-health and the connected person.

Healthcare is just one facet of technology that is changing with the integration of electronic processes and communications, and the connected person spans much farther than just e-health applications. The IEEE-SA is interested in connecting with you to talk more about the concept.

Whether you are a technologist, manufacturer, consumer, educator, consultant or anyone else interested in e-health, augmented reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), the smart grid, smart cities, intelligent vehicles or other such innovations, we invite you to join the effort of developing and advancing the connected person. Visit our webpage or Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on LinkedIn.

In addition, if the idea resonates with you, we invite you to show your creative side by submitting your own original artwork, picture or short video of your view of the connected person. Those submissions that we find the most intriguing, we will post on the Standards Insight Blog.


Alpesh Shah is Director of Global Business Strategy and Intelligence for the IEEE-SA. You can reach him via email at Alpesh.Shah@IEEE.Org or Twitter at @_AlpeshShah.

Bill Ash is the Strategic Technology Program Director for IEEE-SA. You can reach him at or @SA_BillAsh.

Autism, Augmented Reality and the Frontiers of Technology Innovation

By Bill Ash and Kathryn Bennett, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA)

One of the great, wild frontiers of technology today is augmented reality, and developers in a huge range of industries—automotive/aerospace, banking, design and architecture, defense, entertainment/gaming, navigation, the public sector, publishing, real estate, retail shopping, tourism and urban planning, among them—hope to tame it to the benefit of their users.

But perhaps nowhere is augmented reality’s potential more compelling than in medical research and healthcare. Certainly, the innovative technology’s possibilities have the interest of the autism community.

In augmented reality—the term is oftentimes abbreviated to “AR”—digital content is synchronized with and superimposed on a person’s physical environment. Text or graphics might dynamically appear in a user’s field of view, or audio signals might automatically sound as the person moves through the physical world. In time, augmented reality might deliver content that appeals to the gamut of human senses, both detecting and enhancing sight, hearing, taste, smell and/or touch, depending on the application. The technology’s potential usefulness is so obviously great that its developers wonder if augmented reality might one day permeate every-day life.

In autism research, scientists are exploring how augmented reality could be harnessed for their particular uses. Might there be looming in the future of this nascent, mind-blowing technology a new, break-through capability for helping enhance the ability of autistic people to communicate and socialize? Researchers are looking at questions such as whether handheld devices could adapt augmented reality to help children learn to better interact and engage with others. Could augmented reality be used to help autistic people more calmly interpret information about their environment so as to better integrate with the world around them?

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is working to ensure that augmented reality reaches its full potential and to support the industry’s smooth growth by facilitating global collaboration among varied stakeholders in the technology space. IEEE is helping foster advancement in the quickly evolving space by:

  • Engaging industry participants in dialog about lessons learned and existing or potential obstacles
  • Developing training and certification programs around the technology
  • Encouraging the use of standards (there are already dozens of IEEE standards or standards in development with relevance for augmented reality), open interfaces and sound engineering practices

Augmented reality is just one of the technology areas where development might yield valuable new tools for autism therapy.

Electroencephalography (EEG) is emerging as another potential technology in this space. Research around the question is in its early stages, but could neurofeedback be utilized in treating some of the symptoms of autism? The IEEE-SA provided a development forum for EEG technology, as well. For example, IEEE 2010™ “Recommended Practice for Neurofeedback Systems”, which was published in 2012, describes EEG biofeedback instruments and software to optimize the quality and availability of information available to device users.

Sensors embedded in homes, toys or even on or in a person comprise another technology area that might one day, too, play a larger role in autism care. How could researchers use data such as heart rate or measurements of hugs and squeezes to inform diagnosis or treatment? Here again, the IEEE-SA is deeply involved in the innovative technology space. The IEEE 11073™ standards, for example, are designed to support communications from various personal health devices.

Where might technology and standards development in augmented reality, EEG, sensory capabilities for monitoring and other burgeoning areas of technology ultimately lead autism researchers over the next decades? We do not know. That is the nature of true innovation. What we do know, however, is that, along the way, the IEEE-SA will provide the forum for the vanguard of the technology, research and healthcare communities to come together, share expertise, define the path forward and advance technology for the benefit of humanity.

Leveling the Playing Field for Individuals with Autism

Chuck Parker
Vice President, Personal Connected Health Alliance
Executive Director, Continua Health Alliance

Autism, also referred to as autism spectrum disorder, is characterized by a range of difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviors, and may be associated with other physical and intellectual disabilities. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing that one in 68 children in the U.S. have autism. According to the advocacy group Autism Speaks, some technologies can help people with autism improve communication, assist in the development of social skills and enhance the ability to learn.

During Autism Awareness Month 2014, the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA) and IEEE Standards Association have joined together to focus attention on the application of personal health technologies to help solve some of the challenges facing people with autism and their families.

Not surprisingly, technologies such as tablets, smartphones and mobile apps are increasingly being used to help people with autism improve communication, aid in the development of social skills and enhance their ability to learn. Healthcare providers and families are embracing video-based virtual visits, which are more convenient and patient-friendly. Organizations like Autism Speaks and their Innovative Technology for Autism Initiative (ITA), and the iTaalk Autism Foundation are helping educate parents, family members and healthcare providers on the use of technology, and support the development of new technologies to help those with autism.

Numerous published studies are also demonstrating how personal health technologies are helping people with autism in a variety of ways, including improved communication, increased attention span and social interaction, as well as better healthcare. Parents and care providers are learning more and more about how to use these technologies and are embracing the use of tablets and mobile health devices and apps to make a difference in the lives of people with autism.

The IEEE 11073 series of personal health device standards includes device specializations targeted for sensors, tablets, smartphones, PCs and mobile apps in processing sensory information such as sounds, sights and smells. Continua’s 2014 Design Guidelines help to enable connectivity between these devices and systems, as well as the sharing of the data collected with the families, caregivers and healthcare providers of people with autism, in order to improve communication and provide better care.

PCHA is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Continua Health Alliance, mHealth Summit and HIMSS, to engage consumers with their health via personalized solutions that are designed for user-friendly connectivity and meet their lifestyle needs. The Continua global standards-based interoperability Design Guidelines and product certification program will continue to facilitate the most convenient, secure and robust health data exchange and greatest utility of health information for personal and population health management.

The value of the IEEE and PCHA partnership is that both organizations believe that the success of personal connected health depends upon engaging consumers and ensuring connected health solutions are responsive and compelling, convenience, accessible and can entertain, educate and enable social connections—all which can be achieved via standardization.

We encourage global healthcare communities to use the IEEE standards and Continua Design Guidelines to develop new plug-and-play solutions for addressing the needs of the autism community. To that end, IEEE and PCHA encourage developers to submit use cases to advance the adoption of personal health technologies for people with autism. Personal connected health technologies can facilitate communication, connection and better care for people with autism, opening up a new world of possibilities. We invite you to participate in the development of innovative, creative solutions to help the autism community.

IEEE and Autism Awareness Month

By Donna Ceruto, IEEE Standards Association, Associate Manager, Solutions Marketing and mother of a child on the Autism spectrum.

“Autism is a developmental impairment affecting the ability to communicate and socialize. It is called a spectrum disorder, because it can appear in greatly varying degrees, often showing up early in life. Symptoms include poor language development, lack of empathy, resistance to changes in routine, repetitive behavior, and obsessive interests. At one end of the spectrum are people who retreat into their own world and become profoundly [challenged]; at the other [end] are those with ”high-functioning autism” who, though they lack some degree of intuition about what others are thinking, can often figure things out through logical analysis, a ”human-hacking” process not unlike the efforts of Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan character in the TV series ‘Star Trek.’” Excerpt from IEEE Spectrum Magazine “When Engineers’ Genes Collide” 10/1/2006

As a working mother of an Autistic seven year old, I understand the all too real challenges that a child ‘on the spectrum’ can face. One frequently documented area where autistic children encounter many challenges is in school. Generally speaking, I have found that the tools to evaluate autistic children in a normal school setting are not geared to capture the nuances of behaviors that are exhibited by the autistic population. For example, many parents, including myself, have a need to make sure that our children’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is built for their success in the classroom. In order for the best informed and holistic version of the IEP to be developed and then implemented, it is necessary that the daily behaviors, teacher’s observations, feedback and interactions are recorded. Yet, this is not an easy task for any of the partners involved – including parents, teachers and most of all the children.

It is evident that to help autistic children succeed, all of the stakeholders must collaborate effectively and reach the appropriate level of consensus in the most transparent, fair, open and inclusiveness manner in order for the child to have the greatest level of success in school. In the best of scenarios, everyone is able to focus on the end goal and make the necessary commitments to make it happen.

Even in these ideal cases, it is my belief that technology advancements can complement these key stakeholder conversations and aid to potentially reduce time to positive outcome, as well as possibly offer creative solutions to support greater likelihood of the child’s success.

This is where I find working for the IEEE as an opportunity to help foster advancement in technologies that benefit humanity – including helping to make life easier for those that face life challenges such as autism. From what I see, technology has the potential to impact the autistic population in a meaningful way and throughout the full lifecycle of autism management. For example, innovative technologists have been working on sensorized devices (i.e. rattles, toys(1)), in order to monitor sensory-motor development, with the intent to detect and diagnose autism at an earlier stage. Along the lines of diagnosis, the technological advancements in EEG and neurofeedback solutions have the eventual power to capture and help optimize the quality and availability of output information, and can serve to be an emerging therapy for Autism (2&3). Another intriguing example offers a cloud-based solution leveraging mobile applications to manage the autism management lifecycle – including helping children to learn about emotions, body language, turn taking and other social skills (4). There is great potential also in the robots that help with emotional interactions and learnings as well as the development of social interaction, verbal and non-communication (5), emotional intelligence, mimicking and even academic skills through educational games. Certainly, it is clear to see how technologies like these can be beneficial in the classroom to all stakeholders involved. Further, with advancements in augmented reality, processor power, sensors and wearables and faster data pipes, it is also evident that as the technologies continue to evolve at such a rapid pace, and with more focus is placed on autism and all its use cases, we will begin to see greater progress in the oncoming years.

Technology has an important role to play as a complement in the autism management lifecycle, and with the full support and commitment of all of the key stakeholders focused on providing the necessary and needed adequate education (which is the legal obligation of every school district), I, as a parent of an autistic child, know that the best outcomes for my child’s future can become a very achievable reality. So as I sit here writing this article in the final days of Autism Awareness Month, I eagerly look forward to that day when I can see the advancement of technology progress to the point of truly benefiting all of humanity.