Standards for the Virtual World!
The world of standards used to be so tangible! You could clearly validate when two components fit together (conformed to certain interoperability standard). Even when we talked about safety or quality matters, it was quite clear whether a process met certain standards. But times are a changin’! Some technologies are now rapidly taking us from the real world into augmented reality and virtual reality. Just to be clear, the interoperability standards are still important; in fact, these applications depend on such complex ecosystems that the adherence to interoperability standards for communication and data is a fundamental requirement. The notion of quality, however, is now built into the bits that make up the digital picture, audio or video and the rate at which it is processed to present the rich experience of reality we seek. As the algorithms continue to benefit from the increased computational power, greater bandwidth, and access to vast quantities of data, we are getting accustomed to highly personalized experiences and services even though there is greater concern over our privacy and personal safety. In this issue of the eZine, the experts are bringing us timely information about some of the emerging standards in camera picture quality, drone technology, augmented reality and virtual reality. We also get to hear from researchers about advanced processes for manufacturing wearable sensors. Just as various audio and video standards brought us improved experiences on mobile devices over the past decade, wearable sensors will bring us near-reality experiences in the coming decade. Can we really be in two places at once? Will we be able to distinguish between the real avatar (self) and the virtual avatar?
While I participated in the development of technical standards for semiconductor and design automation industries, my interaction with government officials on such matters has been minimal. Conceptually, I understood and appreciated the need for strong technical standards to help define regulatory requirements. I also had the opportunity to participate in engineering projects that led to necessary compliance and certification of a few products. On recent Standards Association Board of Governors (SA BoG) meeting in Dublin I was privileged to present Standards Education activities to National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and Dublin City University. It came as no surprise that the attendees quickly grasped the importance of IEEE’s Global Initiative on Ethics. As Artificial Intelligence algorithms get deeply embedded in all the pervasive technology around us from Smart Cars and Smart Homes to Smart Cities, many governments are concerned about the privacy and safety of its citizens. Their proactive interest may lead to direct participation in the P7000 series of standards and possible development of government policies in this domain. The last issue of eZine became a timely reference for them.
Another Standards Education activity that caught the attention of some of the participants was the Standards Game. With humongous amount of data being collected through IoT and GPS devices, interest in the standards for data formats and data access has grown. In turn, the government’s interest has grown in how the standards are developed and deployed across different industries. Some of the industry advisors to NSAI quickly picked up on the potential benefits of using the Standards Game to familiarize their staff members with the intricacies of developing new standards. I was very pleased with this dialog and hope they will soon host a session or two of the Standards Game. I can’t wait to hear the positive outcome in near future!
Let the virtual games begin!