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ANSI and SPRING Host Services Conference Uniting Experts in Unmanned Aircraft, Financial Sector, Smart Healthcare, and Conformity Assessment

Event was part of World Standards Week 2017 in Washington, DC


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), in partnership with SPRING, the national body of Singapore, held the first of two sessions of its services standardization conference on October 17-18. The U.S. conference, part of World Standards Week 2017 in Washington, DC, had over 90 standardization and conformity assessment experts and attendees, and focused on sessions highlighting healthcare services, financial services, unmanned aircraft systems, and conformity assessment.

The pair of collaborative conferences—with the second scheduled for November 2-3, in Singapore—is intended explore areas of services standardization of common interest to the United States and Singapore, in order to determine if there are opportunities for joint national standards or international standards in these areas. With a conference in each location, ANSI and SPRING aim to benefit their respective national members and stakeholders.

ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia opened the first session on October 17, emphasizing that the standards community must find ways to increase bilateral and international collaboration to meet the needs of service providers, especially as service sectors grow. "We need global solutions," he said. "Work is going on at every level of standardization, but more collaboration is needed."

Standards Give Support to Services, from Private Business to Government

The speakers for the opening session included Sauw Kook Choy of SPRING, who noted the close partnership between ANSI and SPRING over the past several years, and shared a video that highlights key roles that standards and conformance play in becoming a smarter nation. She emphasized how standards are a common language, and collaboration is key between nations and regions, especially in growth sectors. See the SPRING Singapore services overview video on ANSI's YouTube channel.

As the director of the standards coordination office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gordon Gillerman described the "three layers" that make up the service standards stack, including technology, delivery, and engagement standards. He noted how NIST is dedicated to the cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure and how cloud computing, an emerging service and engine of growth, helps power healthcare IT, which allows service providers to share information. He shared that the Department of Commerce (DoC) estimates 250 billion spending on cloud computing in 2017, and emphasized how an emerging set of global standards is needed for vocabulary, reference architecture, interoperability, importability, service level agreements (standardized language, measurable), and security.

Steven Simchak, the director of international affairs at the American Insurance Association, explained how the insurance industry has a mix of government and industry-led standards activities, and noted how cyber insurance supports cyber resiliency and how standardization must be flexible and responsive to market demands. He added that Singapore plays a critical role as a hub in the region in insurance and re-insurance.

Experts on Healthcare Services

As Singapore's population ages rapidly, standardization can help support innovative healthcare shifts, including faster and more streamlined healthcare delivery services, sensors, and age-friendly homes. Experts for the healthcare services panel included Robert Chew of the Singapore Standards Council and iGlobe Partners, Scott Colburn of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. John Halamka of BIDMC and Harvard Medical School, and Selina Seah of Changi General Hospital.

Jennifer Padberg, senior vice president, standards program and policy, Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), moderated the discussion of healthcare services, which provided insights on how the collaborative standardization community supports advancement in healthcare. She noted the need for standardization for vocabulary, data security, interoperability, integration, and more – but not at the expense of provider time and efficiency. Outcome must be the key driver, not just the technology.

Mr. Chew provided an overview of the Singapore standardization program, which has a major area of focus on the smart nation initiative, including aging, healthcare, and social services. He noted how quality and standards are a key pillar of Singapore’s future economy—starting with healthcare. With 80 percent of an individual's healthcare costs spent during a person's last few years of life, Mr. Chew emphasized how standards can innovate healthcare to provide better and more convenient lifestyles for aging populations. He explained how Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative focuses on four strategic areas: living, mobility, health, and services.

Mr. Colburn explained how the FDA participates in various standards activities, and follows OMB A-119, emphasizing the public-private partnership and government reliance on voluntary standards. He noted how the FDA engages with the community to find out which standards are relevant and would help meet the needs of industry, and emphasized the importance of training on the use of standards as key in order for stakeholders to understand how to interpret the language and to translate it accurately for their needs.

Reflecting the practicing physician point of view, Dr. Halamka provided a presentation by video, which emphasized the need for three areas of standardization – addressing vocabulary, security, and content. He also highlighted the requisite for interoperability in the medical field, as he has noticed how patients are frustrated with various portals and lack of integration, and as security challenges escalate. [See the full video on ANSI's YouTube channel].

Integration poses a major challenge, even between robots, robots and infrastructure, facilities, providers, and other contact points, Ms. Seah said. She noted that there is room for standardization in safety (including charging, EMC, cybersecurity, human interface); performance (deviation, speed, durability, endurance, hardware interfaces); insurance; privacy; certification; infrastructure upgrades; workforce transformation; and clinical validation.

Standards in the Finance Sector

During the session on financial services, moderator Karla McKenna, director at Citi, explained how financial services standards must set requirements for clear, consistent information and reliable communication. The session included insights from Heather Kreger of IBM, who noted that IBM is highly involved in standards activities and collaborates across the standards and regulatory arenas. She explained that blockchain provides a way to optimize business so that it runs in a smoother, faster, more trusted and reliable way, and stressed the need for regulators and standards developers to work together.

Rich Robinson, the head of industry relations and strategy for Open Symbology, Bloomberg, explained that in his industry, context matters, especially given different markets, systems, languages, and national and international standards. Conversion costs and politics are challenges, he noted. He stressed Financial Instrument Global Identifier (FIGI) challenges, noting that the data discipline is still young and there is a lack of serious expertise. In addition, there are still misconceptions in the industry as to what a standards organization is, and clarification would open up opportunities to get more involved in the standardization process concerning regulatory inclusions, certified providers, adoption, and maturity.

Kelvin Tan, the head of Fintech and Data, Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX), referenced a number of standards adopted in Singapore, including ISO 20022 and ISO 6166 (ISIN), adding that SGX plans to adopt several more ISO standards. He proposed an inter-ledger communications protocol, noting that while it may be too early for specific ledger standard.

Another panelist, Stanley Yong of Practical Smarts, discussed the disaggregation of financial services in developed markets. With so many service providers doing different things, he said, the challenge is how to build a new bank using smaller players. He added that marketplaces need global standards in a multitier model. There is a need to harmonize frameworks to operate together, with a governance framework, a functional framework, and technical architecture.

How Standards Can Launch Unmanned Aircraft Systems

To kick off the third session on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), moderator David Miller, the director of standards development, Global Industry Services, American Petroleum Institute (API), gave the audience a statistic signifying room for standardization work: "We have over 500,000 miles of pipeline [in the petroleum industry] – we need to send planes over it all once a month." He noted that with platforms offshore and refineries that require inspection, there are many opportunities to use UAS (“drones”).

Sean Cassidy, the director of safety and regulatory affairs at Amazon Prime Air, noted how many standards already exist in other industries that can be adapted for UAS use, as delivery tools such as drones, evolve.

Phil Kenul, senior vice president, aviation and operations, Trivector Services, noted how access to airspace is an issue, as infrastructure has not kept up with the pace of technology. He noted the broad potential for UAS, including in marine monitoring and oil spill response – including amusing anecdotes about the "SnotBot" that has made whale research safer and more effective.

Tracy Lamb, vice president of regulatory and safety affairs and chief pilot for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), cited that the UAS global market is currently $11.3 billion—and is expected to grow to $140 billion in 10 years. She noted that regulations are an integral part of moving the technology forward, and provided insight into AUVSI's collaboration on the “Know Before You Fly” campaign (, which has guidelines on how to fly safely and responsibly.

On behalf of emergency response, Philip J. Mattson, DHS Standards Executive, Director, Office of Standards, Capability Development Support Group, Science & Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), spoke about collaboration with NIST and ASTM International on standard test methods for response robots. He noted that the use of test methods have stimulated technology development and increased inter-agency collaboration.

Credibility and Quality of Service Providers through Conformity Assessment

Panelists at the conformity assessment session spoke about how it is extremely important to provide tangible results for meeting a standard. Moderator Dale Cyr, CEO, Inteleos, noted the concern that some professional communities are becoming skeptical of some less-effective standards and conformity assessments, and expert panelists provided additional insights into why reliable conformity assessment is necessary in their fields.

Graham Brent, CEO, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), explained how third-party accreditation has a critical role to play to ensure quality certification. He noted how in Singapore, the approach to health and safety is tangible, especially in construction. NCCO currently has 10 certification programs accredited by ANSI [See more about ANSI accreditation]. Accredited certification helps get buy-in from employers/companies and governments. When certification is government mandated, he explained, programs proliferate. He emphasized that accreditation differentiates certifications of value and helps establish credibility.

Danny Kerr, vice president of quality management, TUV SUD, noted how the services sector in Singapore continues to grow and that service provision is an interconnected chain of departments, systems, and services. He explained that there is a need for many standards and conformance throughout this spectrum.

Michael Violette, director, American Certification Body, cited a number of standards and regulations related to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). He explained the importance of accreditation in his industry, noting how the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC )allows for cross-border acceptance of certifications.

QR codes is a technology area on the rise for e-payments in Singapore. Mr. Yong noted how Chinese companies are increasingly using QR codes in payment, but there are environmental and infrastructure challenges affecting accuracy and quality. He explained that standard codes, plus conformity testing of the reader applications, are critical.

A common thread that emerged in the conference discussions was the view that standards do not stifle innovation, unless developed prematurely; rather, they create a solid framework on which new technologies can advance. Especially for emerging industries, responsive standardization is a critical tool for fostering innovation while keeping safety at the forefront of development.

For full ANSI-Spring Services conference coverage, including the agenda, presentations, and photos, visit the event webpage and access images via ANSI's Flickr Album.


conformity assessment    services    UAS    World Standards Week    WSW    WSW 2017   
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