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ANSI’s Joint Member Forum Meeting Launches Discussions on New Opportunities for Standardization as Tech Expands

Drones, the Future of Standards and Conformity Assessment, and China’s Standardization Reform among Key Topics


Expert speakers and stakeholders at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)’s recent Joint Member Forum (JMF) in Washington, DC, engaged in panel discussions that shed light on new opportunities for standardization growth and collaborative cross-sector engagement. The event was free for all ANSI members – nearly 150 attended – and featured five moderated panel sessions on topics ranging from unmanned aircraft technology to U.S. involvement in China’s Standardization Reform.

Part of World Standards Week 2016 on October 24 to October 28, the event captured valuable insights from experts and ANSI members representing companies, organizations, government agencies, and consumer groups who provided ideas for collaborative standards work and conformance solutions applicable to emerging sectors with the potential for global reach.

The five moderated sessions covered the following topics:

Drones and Unmanned Vehicles: Coming to a Standards Meeting Near You

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also called drones, as aircrafts without a human pilot onboard. Instead, UAS are controlled from an operator on the ground. The potential for standardization in this area is extensive, as the FAA projects that there will be 600,000 commercial operators of drones by this time next year. Even more, the economic potential within the global market for drones is currently $11.3 billion and expected to grow to $140 billion over the next 10 years.

As drones, UAS, and other unmanned vehicles continue to fuel consumer demand and gain popularity for recreational and commercial use, challenges surrounding safety and security arise. Panelists at the first JMF session, Drones and Unmanned Vehicles: Coming to a Standards Meeting Near You, addressed the need for standardization and the potential for new stakeholders to get involved in areas of technology and data development for UAS.

Experts included moderator Cortney Robinson of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), who explained how ANSI has made active contributions to the UAS industry as the U.S. member body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) through work in ISO Technical Committee (TC) 20, Subcommittee (SC) 16, Unmanned aircraft systems. He also noted how cybersecurity issues are key considerations that are relevant to the implementation of drones.

Panelists from industry and government discussed escalating issues and opportunities surrounding the implementation of unmanned vehicles across the country. For example, major U.S. cities are expanding tech infrastructure with new initiatives, including Beverly Hills, which has launched an autonomous vehicle initiative to reduce traffic congestion and “provide meaningful safety, environmental, and economic benefits as well as mobility for the transportation disadvantaged.” Standards and conformity assessment can support such systems as they expand nationally.

Stephen Ridella of the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, noted that 613,501 lives have been saved by vehicle safety technologies and associated federal motor safety standards from 1960-2012, and noted that while more than 90 percent of all crashes are due to human error, technology can help address these risks.

The panelists also noted how cybersecurity issues are key considerations relevant to the implementation of drones and unmanned vehicles as technology continues to emerge. Speakers stressed the importance of uniting standards developers to coordinate work via the roadmaps developed by individual organizations for private-sector standards development.

Presentations given by this panel are available on ANSI’s website.

Changing Landscape: How Will Standards and Conformance Look in 10 Years?

As the standards and conformity assessment community embraces new opportunities for work to keep pace with emerging sectors and technologies, leaders must continue to engage new stakeholders.

Moderator Laura Hitchcock of The Boeing Company addressed this issue in leading a discussion of the Changing Landscape: How Will Standards and Conformance Look in 10 Years? The chairs of ANSI’s Government, Organizational, Company Member, and Consumer Interest Forums served as panelists to spur discussion of how users will interact with standards and conformance and how standards and conformance programs will continue to evolve over the next decade.

Topics explored included emerging technologies and how various industries identify the need for standards. Panelists discussed standardization obstacles as the speed of technology changes, and noted that there needs to be a better understanding of how procedures work among stakeholders and as well as greater transparency. From the consumer perspective, it was stressed that there is no trust without transparency, and there isn’t transparency unless there is greater participation among key industry stakeholders, including consumer representation.

The experts also addressed the Internet of Things (IoT), the convergence of technologies, how it has impacted their line of work, including the shortening of timelines and the need to be mindful of growing technology areas. Speakers discussed how credentialing for the next generation of talent can provide benefits to industry as globalization and cross-cutting technologies expand. They also noted that leveraging the possibilities of new technologies requires greater engagement, education, and collaboration of all stakeholders.

What is the True Impact of Standardization? A New Report from the International Trade Administration (ITA)

Jeff Okun-Kozlowicki (left), an economist with the International Trade Association (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), discussed a new ITA report, “Standards and Regulations: Measuring the Link to Global Trade,” which offers enlightening statistics on the relationship between standards and technical regulations and goods trade. Most relevant to the standards and conformity assessment community, the paper highlights how standards and global technical regulations potentially affect 93 percent of global exports and 92 percent of U.S. exports—statistics that have major implications for a variety of sectors.

Mr. Okun-Kozlowicki provided further details about the link between standards, technical regulations, and trade, noting how the ITA is setting long-term priorities and ways for stakeholders to get more involved. He noted that when standards and regulations differ across countries, they can create barriers to U.S. exports, as they “set the rule” on entering the market.

As ANSI previously reported, the ITA report reflects how technical regulations—in particular, those that are based on incorporated national or regional standards instead of international standards—can create additional costs for exporters as they seek to adapt their products and processes to differing regulatory requirements around the globe. Technical regulations include mandatory requirements for labeling, testing, or manufacturing products—as well as procedures to certify compliance with such requirements—that must be met in order to get a product on the market.

Mr. Okun-Kozlowicki explained that ITA is very focused on exports and external regulations that impact the U.S. and encouraged stakeholders to notify the ITA if there are regulations that impede U.S. exports. Mr. Okun-Kozlowicki’s complete presentation is available on the ANSI website.

Services Initiative: Reaching New Sectors

Moderated by Sharon Stanford of the American Dental Association, the Services Initiative: Reaching New Sectors panel discussed how experts representing healthcare credentialing, the food sector, and franchising actively participate in standards and conformity assessment activities. The session also covered updates on ANSI’s Board Task Group (BTG) on Services, a comprehensive outreach campaign that targets five specific sectors: food safety, retail, transportation, recycling and waste management, and amusement and entertainment.

Industry and association panelists discussed resources helpful to maximizing knowledge about standards in the service sector. It was noted that there is no greater priority in the food industry than safety, and that implementing standards and food safety management systems are the best way to ensure safe outcomes for consumers. Franchises were discussed as a key example of the importance of standards to serve as roadmaps, as franchisees are often first-time small business owners in need of constructive guidance.

In addition, greater availability of data (via tracking software, for example) can help prove to stakeholders that standards improve business efficiencies and drive the bottom line. Panelists also discussed that some organizations may be resistant to standards due to the fear of the unknown, but there are opportunities to work together and share knowledge to enhance service sector operations. The panel session also highlighted the value of ANSI’s Accreditation Program for Personnel Certification Bodies under ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 in helping assure the quality of certifications for service industry professionals.

Details about ANSI’s continued outreach to the service industry are available at

China Standardization Reform

Moderated by James E. Matthews III of Corning Incorporated, the final panel offered the latest insights on the overhaul of China’s standardization system, a process which ANSI has been closely monitoring, as the reform has significant implications for U.S. stakeholders. One highlight included an update on ANSI’s unique workshop held earlier this year, which featured presentations and dialogue with a high-level delegation from the Standardization Administration of China (SAC). [see related story]

Panelists from industry and government discussed how China is looking to use standards to develop their emerging industries, noting that the country has expressed its intention to work with the U.S. with an emphasis on reducing mandatory standards and encouraging market-driven standards development.

Speakers expressed that companies want to participate in China’s standardization activities in meaningful ways, but that engagement under SAC’s technical committees can be difficult. China’s ambitions in standards activities are unlimited, and stakeholders can expect more activities from China promoting service standards. The experts also referenced China’s recently launched public online portal [related coverage], which provides information and links related to the country’s association standards, and is available in Chinese. There was general agreement that China’s efforts to reform its standards system are welcome, and that emphasis on a more coordinated, structured system is a positive step.

See the ANSI in China Newsletter for more information on updates on technical activities, policy decisions, trade matters, and other information of interest to ANSI members operating in or interacting with China.

For full JMF proceedings, including the agenda, presentations, and photos, visit the event webpage.


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