by Robby Simpson, PhD, System Architect, GE’s Grid Solutions and IEEE SA Corporate Advisory Group Chair
In the world of standards development, there exist a variety of participation methods. Some utilize the individual method, where each participant represents, acts, and votes on behalf of themselves. Others utilize a nation-state method, where each nation is a participant and representation and voting occur accordingly. Growing in popularity recently is the entity method, where an entity, such as a corporation, a governmental body, an NGO, etc., is the participant. Recognizing the desire of industry for such an entity method in IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) standards development, the IEEE SA created the Corporate Program and the entity method of IEEE SA standards development.
The IEEE SA Corporate Program fosters the development of industry-relevant global standards through an equitable and timely process and helps to create a sustainable process in the IEEE SA for the corporate community to develop timely standards that support industry consensus on a global scale.
While called the “Corporate Program,” entity membership is not limited to corporations. Other entities such as government agencies, academic institutions, and non-profits are also encouraged to participate. There has also been great interest in the Corporate Program from various industry consortia. These consortia have traditionally developed their own specifications. Typically, consortia follow a model similar to the entity model in their specification development and are thus quite familiar and comfortable with the entity method of standards development. By choosing to develop standards in the IEEE SA, these consortia are able to take advantage of the well-defined processes and procedures of the IEEE SA, as well as its global reach and reputation. Further, consortia can submit their existing specifications through the adoption process. The adoption process provides a method for existing specifications to quickly become IEEE standards, enabling adopted specifications to take advantage of the many benefits of being an IEEE standard.
Since its creation, the IEEE SA Corporate Program has grown significantly. At the time of writing, there are currently 349 entity members of the IEEE SA and 147 active entity projects. These entity members come from all over the globe and the IEEE SA Corporate Program has significantly increased the global presence of IEEE SA.
To oversee the Corporate Program and to serve as an advisory body to the IEEE SA regarding industry, the IEEE SA formed the Corporate Advisory Group (CAG). The CAG is a committee that reports directly to the IEEE SA Board of Governors and its members come from a variety of industries and geographic regions, echoing the diversity of the Corporate Program itself. Further, entity members are able to nominate their employees for the annual CAG elections.
As it meets throughout the world, the CAG conducts outreach and engagement. Typically, the CAG will meet with several companies, both Corporate Program members and non-members, as well as local governments, regional standards bodies, non-profits, and others. This outreach and engagement allows the CAG to better understand local needs and the needs of its members. Further, the CAG often holds workshops, typically on emerging technologies, to engage local professionals on topics ranging from blockchain to IoT.
An additional role of the CAG is that of a Standards Committee. While all IEEE SA Standards Committees are able to initiate and oversee entity projects, the CAG additionally performs that role for entity projects that may not have a clear initial Standards Committee or where there are strategic interests such as increasing geographic participation.
It should be noted that the IEEE SA Corporate Program, including entity standards development, is not intended to compete with the IEEE SA individual membership or the individual method of standards development. Both approaches are available to IEEE SA participants and it is at the discretion of a Project Authorization Request (PAR) submitter to select the method they wish to use.
As standards become increasingly important to industry participants, the value of the IEEE SA Corporate Program will likely similarly increase. Over time, this ever-evolving program will continue to strive to attract and to be a “home” for industry participants in IEEE SA.
For more information regarding the IEEE SA Corporate Program, please visit https://standards.ieee.org/about/membership/index.html
Robby Simpson, PhD, is the Chair of the IEEE Standards Association’s Corporate Advisory Group, a member of the IEEE Standards Association’s Board of Governors, and Chair of IEEE P2030.5. He is a System Architect for GE’s Grid Solutions.