Digital Transformation of CEN and CENELEC

Time:2018/3/27 11:03:31 From:

The 4. Industrial revolution

With the digital transformation of processes, systems and supply chains revolutionizing European industry and the lives of European consumers, industry sectors are more than ever looking towards European and international standards as a reliable reference and support tool.

CEN and CENELEC, thanks to a strong and committed membership in 34 countries, confirm their engagement to support industry in developing market-driven solutions, integrating new technologies into businesses and daily life.


This picture shows the overall connection between the IoT and IoS. The five domains (Industry... Living) will be based on cyber physical systems, the coexistence of the real and virtuel world.

Industry 4.0" and "Made in China 2025" have an impact on three dimensions:

First: Digitization & Integration of values chains (Smart Factory, Smart Plant)

Second: Digitization of the product range and service offer (Smart Products)

Third: new (disruptive) business models (Smart services)


This is a big challenge for standardization, for example cyber security is directly connected with functional safety.


Why do we need a strategic approach? 


Worldwide industry is rapidly transforming through the adoption of a wide range of innovative technologies, in particular ICT and digital (IoT, Cyber physical systems, machine to machine, 5G, Big Data, Cloud computing…). 


Traditional sectors of the economy, including those that were not previously significant digital users, have needs that require standardization responses, including deliverables.


The increasingly complex landscape of digital technologies, policies, structures and alliances require Standardization communities to be organized around a clear strategic plan to set priorities, take decisions and communicate clear messages to relevant stakeholders, ensuring that the worldwide Standardization system can provide the flexible and agile responses dictated by the digital transformation of industry.


This Strategic Plan provides a strong and clear frame for the European organization CEN and CENELEC’s Digital Transformation initiative supporting the CEN – CENELEC Ambitions 2020 to:

· Ensure CEN and CENELEC can meet the needs of industry sectors to digitally transform;

· Make the CEN - CENELEC system (including CEN CENELEC Management Center CCMC) more agile and adaptable to market and technology innovations, through digital transformation.


The joint CEN and CENELEC Administrative Boards workshop nominated me in November 2016 to be the CEN-CENELEC Digital Champion to lead the Digital Transformation initiative, supported by a Task Force and the newly established Steering Committee.


For me it is an important role to ensure CEN and CENELEC are the providers of the 21st Century standardization solutions. The Strategic Plan for Digital Transformation supports the Ambitions 2020, as well as the proposals for pilot projects.

The pilot projects are responding to the challenges identified, for example:

· Become leading providers of digital standardization solutions.

· Provide an attractive standardization offer in the digital domain.

· Attract new, digitally-aware stakeholders and experts.


What is our strategy?

CEN’s and CENELEC’s approach to digital challenges and opportunities is based on five pillars:

· Building on European assets: including leadership in technology areas such as electronics, robotics, lasers and the experience of digitization of our national members and industry partners.

· Deepening engagement with stakeholders: identifying digital standardization needs for smart technologies (applications and services such as robotics, additive manufacturing, printed electronics, Building Information Management (BIM), e-Learning, e-Skills) beyond connectivity issues.

· Coordination with relevant organizations: including ISO, IEC, ISO/IEC JTC1 ‘Information Technology’, oneM2M Alliance and the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI).

· Promoting and raising awareness of the role and benefits of standards to support take up of digital technologies in non-digital sectors and other industry engagement actions.

· Addressing transversal topics including cybersecurity and a range of data-related issues including security, ownership, privacy, functional safety, product security, identity of objects and persons.

Our modern and ever-evolving European Standardization system will further embrace digital transformation in 2018 and beyond supported by the participation of large numbers of experts in standardization activities by engaging them with the modern and flexible digital solutions including online collaborative standards making and delivering the "standards of the future" e.g. machine-readable standards (digital twins), standards as software (open source), etc... Other projects will establish key partnerships and cross-fertilization between industry sectors and horizontal digital domains, and ensure engagement with the next generation of experts.

The digital world is not limited by national borders; an international approach is the preferred option, when relevant. CEN’s and CENELEC’s links with ISO and IEC are key strengths and we will take full advantage of the significant international ICT standardization activities that meet the needs of European industry.



CEN and CENELEC Cooperation with China


The European Union and China are two of the biggest traders in the world. China is now the EU's second-biggest trading partner and the EU is China's biggest trading partner. CEN and CENELEC enjoy a strategic cooperation relationship with the Chinese national standards body, the Standardization Administration of China (SAC).


The Cooperation Agreement was renewed in 2016 in Beijing with a focus on high-level strategic cooperation and the possibility to facilitate technical cooperation in areas of mutual interest.


With the extremely fast development of the digital economy particularly in China, CEN and CENELEC believe it is more important than ever to have an effective dialogue with SAC and other Chinese standards development organizations.


CEN and CENELEC are also present in China through the Seconded European Standardization Expert in China Project, whose mission is building bridges, promote mutual understanding and information sharing, as well as serving stakeholders’ needs from both sides. The fourth phase of the project is expected to start in the spring of 2018. The CEN, CENELEC, ETSI, the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) jointly fund this project. Priority sectors are will soon be defined by the stakeholders, meanwhile horizontal topics including digital transformation of industry and cyber security will be addressed from the start.    


CEN and CENELEC are preparing a "future-proof" standardization system, ensuring that in future European industry needs will continue to be met by voluntary, consensus-driven standards.



Who are we?

CEN (European Committee for Standardization), CENELEC, (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) along with ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) are recognized by the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as European Standardization Organizations responsible for developing standards in relation to a  wide range of materials, processes, products and services.

CEN and CENELEC work very closely with ISO and IEC in the framework of the Vienna agreement with ISO and of the Frankfurt agreement with IEC with the result that roughly 80% of the CENELEC standards are IEC standards. ISO, IEC and Homegrown standards are adopted in 34 European countries with a withdrawal of conflicting national standards.

The so called "harmonized" standards and other deliverables support the implementation of EU policies and legislation that contribute significantly to the European Single Market for goods and services.

They work with the research and innovation community to get market access for their innovative solutions, through standards.



About the author


Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Thies, born in 1951, studied Power Engineering at RWTH Aachen, followed by his doctorate at Institut für Allgemeine Elektrotechnik und Hochspannungstechnik.

From 1984 to 1998, he held various positions at ABB (BBC). 

In 1999, Dr. Thies started as Deputy Managing Director of the DKE (German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE), followed with the nomination as Chairman of the Board of Directors in May 2007. 

Since October 2008, Dr. Bernhard Thies has held lectures at the RWTH Aachen “Protective Measures and Equipment in Power Supply Systems and Electrical Installations” (Master Studies Electrical Power Engineering.) 

In his capacity as Secretary of the German National Committee of IEC and CENELEC, Dr. Thies also represented German interests in various Management Committees up to 2015. 

In March 2014, he was elected as Chairman for the External Relations Committee of CEN, CENELEC and ETSI. 

Since 2012, he became the 2nd Charman of the Board and founder of EEBus Initiative.

 In January 2015, Dr. Thies has started his duties as the incoming CENELEC President; his CENELEC presidency will last from 2016 until 2018.

Since May 2017, he retired from DKE.

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