This week we are in Busan, Korea where BSI has a strong presence at the 2018 International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) General Meeting. I was impressed to learn that this is the biggest IEC annual meeting yet with over 3,300 experts and representatives attending from the 86 member countries. Two weeks of technical committees and management boards will culminate this Friday in the annual meeting of the Council, which will agree plans for 2019. In his video address to the spectacular opening ceremony, President Moon Jae-in of Korea stressed the importance of the IEC’s work shaping international standards in this sector, so vital to the global economy. Discussions will range from rural electrification to white goods, smart cities and digital transformation.
The city of Busan has embraced the conference, showcasing its own smart city projects, which are using sensors and data to improve public services. UK is represented by over 80 delegates, experts working on technical committees which are meeting in plenary sessions in the city’s huge BEXCO convention centre. BSI is the UK member of the IEC and hosts the UK National Committee, which is chaired by Rodney Turtle of Schneider Electric. Together with Rodney, the BSI policy team has been engaged in bilateral meetings with other countries and participating in the technical and management boards being held in parallel with the technical committees.
It is a pivotal time for the IEC, which is seeking to diversify its expert base engaging wider consumer, environmental and regulator interests in using consensus international standards. IEC standards have historically focussed on product safety, but there is growing demand for electrotechnical standards-makers to work on issues of trust, particularly in digital and online products, and to ensure their standards support international trade and better regulation. Next year IEC will be in Shanghai.