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ANSI Innovation Series: How the Information and Communications Technology Industry Keeps Lives on the Line during COVID-19


The global COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live, from how people check in at work remotely, to the way we interact and celebrate with family and friends—all with the support of the information and communications technology. The ICT systems that allow us to connect with communities, companies, and even crucial first responders starts with the foundation of standardization. The first of an innovation series, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) explores how various standards support innovative ways of working and living during COVID-19.

How ICT Standards Support the New Working Environment

With about a third of Americans working from home during the pandemic, the question remains whether remote offices will continue as part of a modern company culture. According to a global work from home survey of nearly 3,000 employees, people feel they perform equally well at home as they do in the office. A recent Harvard Business school article, entitled "The One Good Thing Caused by COVID-19: Innovation," explains that employees "who prefer to work from home may find increased productivity, reduced commute time, and a lower quit rate because they are overall happier."

Nevertheless, while telework saves company costs, cuts back on staff expenses, and even eliminates the stress caused by traffic and overcrowded subways, the continuation of remote work could increase company and employee security and infrastructure risks. As early as March 2020, when SARS-CoV-2 intensified across the globe and became a national emergency in the U.S., security experts revealed that hackers were on the rise. Hackers can take advantage of pandemics, which leave individuals and operations vulnerable to cybercrime. They have several methods to attack information systems, from malware campaigns to fraudulent websites used to steal personal information.

Standards can help combat cyber-attacks and assure data is secure. The ASTM International standard, ASTM F3286-17,Standard Guide for Cybersecurity and Cyberattack Mitigation,addresses the company or government organizational need to mitigate the likelihood of cyberattacks and reduce the extent of potential cyberattacks, which can leave sensitive personal data, corporate information, and critical infrastructure vulnerable to attackers.

Another standard, developed by INCITS, supports companies that use cloud computing to harness their data.INCITS/ISO/IEC 17826,Information Technology,Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI), specifies the interface to access cloud storage and to manage the data stored therein. It is applicable to developers who are implementing or using cloud storage.

To support sharing data from afar, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) /International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, Subcommittee (SC) 29 on Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information has developed standards that support ICT including the multi-part standard, ISO/IEC 23001, Information Technology MPEG Systems Technologies. And, to support information security management during vulnerable times of crisis, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 on Information security, cybersecurity and privacy protection, developed ISO/IEC 27007:2020 on Information security, cybersecurity and privacy protection — Guidelines for information security management systems auditing.

Summer Isn't Canceled: How ICT Supports Innovative Social Gatherings amid a Pandemic

While operations at museums, parks, and other cultural spaces that include concert venues, movies, and Broadway theater are on hiatus for now, artists, actors, and musicians alike have found innovative alternatives to share their performances with audiences through online and on-demand platforms, and even on their phones. In April 2020, it was reported that video on demand is one of the industries experiencing increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has also disrupted other industries, including healthcare, which remains dependent on essential telecommunications services. Telemedicine, for example, which was on the rise pre-pandemic, is popular with patients, who claim telehealth visits are more convenient than in-office appointments. And real estate agents have gone from giving on-site house and apartment tours to recording walk-throughs and posting them online.

Virtual events and appointments may be the new normal, and millions of people will depend on sufficient bandwidth for their connections. Several standards support innovative ways to experience work and leisure, including ATIS 0600012, Electrical Protection Considerations for Broadband Systems, developed by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS). Another standard, ANSI/SCTE 158 2016, provides Recommended Environmental Condition Ranges for Broadband Communications Equipment. It was developed by Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE).

To connect virtually to the office at home, a standard developed by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) guides professionals involved in the design, construction, assessment, and support of videoconferencing environments. ANSI/IES/AVIXA RP-38-17, Recommended Practice for Lighting Performance for Small to Medium Sized Videoconferencing Rooms, provides guidance for lighting parameters and performance criteria for "videoconferencing spaces with 3 to 25 seating locations," where there is one set of video displays and cameras oriented toward a group of seated participants. The standard establishes performance criteria for the design and testing of room lighting and finishes to assure appropriate picture quality for more efficient meetings.

Standards Support Telecommunications for First Responders

Besides the innovative ways we connect to meetings and cultural activities, standards that support ICT are essential to the first responders on call 24/7 during an emergency. Two standards that support this include UL 2524, the Standard for In-Building 2-Way Emergency Radio Communication Enhancement Systems, and ATIS-0700028 v1.1, Location Accuracy Improvements for Emergency Calls, developed by the Alliance for Telecommunication Industry Solutions (ATIS). The latter provides a number of improvements to emergency location capabilities including providing a Dispatchable Location for emergency calls to PSAPs, or Personal Sound Amplification Products.

Other standards supporting emergency response and work include the IEEE 802 standards, a family of IEEE standards dealing with local area networks and metropolitan area networks, which include Ethernet, bridging and virtual Bridged LANs, wireless LAN, wireless PAN, and more.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) also supports various parts of ICT and telecommunications with standards including TIA 470.130-C-2008 (R2016), Telecommunications-Telephone Terminal Equipment - Headset Acoustic Performance Requirements for Analog Telephones with Headsets.

As the pandemic has disrupted many ways of life, these are just a sampling of the many standards and standards developing organizations that support ICT requirements. Find more standards that support ICT on

Let us know how your organization is supporting innovation: [email protected].

See related ANSI articles:

Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: from Energy Efficiency for Wi-Fi Equipment to Videoconference Room Lighting

With Lights Out in New York City, Standards Support Emergency Telecommunications Response

With the Adoption of Telehealth Services, Standards-Supported Systems are Critical to Healthcare


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]