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Collaborative Safety: Japan to Convey New Security Concept in the IoT Era

October 18, 2019

Japan upholds a new concept on consolidation of safety and security called “collaborative safety” and aims to develop international standards for this concept and broadly encourage the rest of the world to make use of the standards. To these ends, on October 3 and 4, 2019, Japan hosted the First International Meeting in Tokyo to hold discussions on the details of “Safety in the Future,” a white paper to be prepared by the Market Strategy Board (MSB)* of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Japan will play a leading role in preparing the white paper and developing international standards for the concept.

*Note: The MSB is a council working for identification of major technical trends and demands in markets in the IEC fields. Since January 2019, Mr. Kazuhiko Tsutsumi, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, has been serving as the IEC Vice-President responsible for the MSB. The white paper will be compiled under the leadership of IEC Vice-President Tsutsumi and representatives of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation as project leaders.

1. Background and purpose

Along with the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the AI and IoT era, workers in certain fields, including monodzukuri (manufacturing), construction and civil engineering and agriculture, have been advancing collaboration with robots. While the range of such collaborative works is broadening, the mere segregation of workers from robots, as conventionally seen in plants, is not a sufficient safety measure, and to overcome this challenge, the concept of “collaborative safety,” approaches to achieving consolidated safety through collaboratively forecasting and avoiding hazards between workers and robots, is considered necessary for companies.

2. Outline of the meeting

On October 3 and 4, 2019, 19 MSB project members from 8 countries were brought together in Japan. For these two days, they made presentations and exchanged proactive opinions on: new changes in approaches to safety, new safety management in the fields of construction and civil engineering, approaches to achieving consolidated safety taking advantage of agricultural machines (robots) and the current situations of safety monitoring making use of IoT equipment, and shared their thoughts on future directions of the white paper. Aiming to position the cultivation of new markets taking advantage of the consolidated safety based on the new safety concept of “collaborative safety” as a major policy for IEC activities, Japan will strive to lead the project for preparing the white paper.

3. Future schedule

The MSB will hold four international meetings in Japan, this time, with the Netherlands, Singapore and Canada, before convening the MSB General Meeting to be held in June 2020 and will compile a white paper. Following this, the white paper will be released as an IEC white paper at the IEC General Meeting in Stockholm to be held in October 2020.

After this release, the IEC’s internal related boards, committees and other bodies will advance discussions toward the establishment of specific international standards for the concept.

Division in Charge

International Electrotechnology Standardization Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau