EIAC launched a number of new accreditation schemes:
Crime scene investigations
The Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) has launched its ISO/IEC 17020:2012 accreditation scheme for inspection of crime scenes. This is a first of its kind in the region. EIAC is already running ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation schemes for forensic and digital forensic testing laboratories. This new accreditation scheme will enhance the confidence in the reliability and accuracy of data produced during criminal investigations.
Medical sample collection centers and laboratories
This scheme is based on ISO/TS 20658: Medical laboratories- Requirements for collection, transport, receipt, and handling of samples and covers the essential and very important aspect of medical testing. Ensuring the integrity of the samples is crucial reliable testing.
Inspection for clean room and biosafety cabinet
This scheme is based on ISO/IEC 17020:2012 and provides reliable tools to ensure the better environmental monitoring.
EIAC accredited first day care surgery center
EIAC has accredited the first Day Care Surgery Centre in the region. The scheme is based on the requirements of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua). This scheme was developed to address the growing need for quality management in the healthcare sector.
EIAC signed MoU with Dubai Health Authority
EIAC has revived its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai Health Authority (DHA). A delegation from DHA visited the offices of EIAC and the progress on the MoU was reviewed and it was resigned. The DHA is an important stakeholder for EIAC in its accreditation services. DHA has recognized EIAC as one of the accreditation service providers for healthcare sector. The EIAC extended its services to cope with the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and accredited conformity assessment bodies for COVID-19 testing and personal protection equipment testing. The EIAC has accredited 168 medical laboratories and one day care surgery center.
EIAC CEO with visiting DHA delegation
EIAC participating in regional and international events
As a major accreditation body in the region, EIAC actively participates in regional and international activities.
Ms. Amina Ahmed Mohammed, Chief Executive Officer of EIAC, attended the 8th International Halal Food Conference on 1st September 2021. She presented on the “Role of EIAC Accredited Halal Conformity Assessment Bodies in Developing Halal Trade”. Mr. Mohammad Abdelmotagaly, Advisor of EIAC, gave a presentation on the “Approach Towards Harmonizing Halal Standards”.
Ms. Amina Ahmed Mohammed also attended the symposium of Saudi Accreditation Council. The symposium celebrated World Accreditation Day. Ms. Amina spoke on the role of Arab Accreditation Cooperation in the region for supporting the accreditation bodies.
EIAC CEO addressing the International Halal Food Conference
EIAC’s accreditations helping business entities and decision makers
The United Arab Emirates has a strong quality culture. The EIAC is playing a vital role in maintaining the highest levels of quality in various fields. Business entities, and public and private decision makers are widely accepting the accreditation granted by EIAC.
An EIAC accredited inspection body was contracted to inspect all stages of the world’s tallest Ferris wheel known as “Ain Dubai”. It is 250 meters (820 ft) tall and is due to open on 21st October 2021. The EIAC accredited inspection body has certified the whole journey of the Ferris wheel from reviewing the design, to inspecting the manufacturing process and the functionality, and verifying the safety of the wheel post installation.
EIAC Director of Certification Bodies Accreditation Department and the Advisor of EIAC visited Dubai airport and immigration authorities and discussed persons certifications for various fields related to airport and immigration operations.
EIAC representative’s briefing to Dubai airport authorities
EIAC’s peer evaluation by ARAC
The periodic peer evaluation of EIAC was conducted on 23-27 May 2021. The scope included ISO/IEC 17025, ISO 15189 and ISO/IEC 17020 for testing, calibration, medical laboratories and inspection bodies, and the evaluation was conducted remotely.
EIAC’s remote peer evaluation
ISRAC: A remote/on-site hybrid for accrediting PCR based COVID-19 molecular detection
The Coronavirus crisis forced ISRAC to adapt quickly. As in all other affected economies, performing an on-site assessment presented a serious health risk to both the laboratory and the assessment staff. The risk was highest when assessing the performance of medical laboratories, especially those seeking accreditation for routine PCR-based COVID-19 detection.
In Israel, there is no regulatory demand for ISO 15189 accreditation. Nevertheless, two laboratories sought accreditation for a kit-based system.
Some of the challenges were instantly apparent. The technical assessor, while having vast knowledge needed to adequately assess the activity, was in a risk group. Furthermore, vaccines were not available.
To solve this challenge, aw remote assessment was used. However, this concept was relatively new. As e could not fully rely on remote tools, as it was unclear how efficient such an assessment can be. For that reason, we developed a risk-based approach to the viability of such an option. Including proper supporting infrastructure, type of assessment, and limitations to conducting observations and interviews properly. The last parameter in this risk-based approach was the presence of an ISRAC representative on-site, as we believed such a presence would lower the risk significantly.
Accordingly, the laboratory representatives assured us beforehand that the Wi-Fi signal is strong in all relevant workspaces and a lead assessor with experience in molecular biology was on site, along with a laptop setup with a remote communication program.
The assessment was certainly adequate, in part thanks to the cooperation of the staff. However, several problems arose. The two main issues revolved around the equipment used for the assessment. The noise in the room made the communication hard. Furthermore, the camera quality prevented the technical assessor from seeing items in a proper resolution, and she often relied on verbal descriptions given by the assessor on site. This dynamic slowed the process significantly, and arguably, without a representative on-site the assessment could not have been carried out adequately.
To improve on this performance, the equipment used at the second laboratory was upgraded and included Speakers, a microphone, and a Go-pro camera. The lab provided a cart that acted as a sort of portable assessment station, moving from one bench to another, and providing the technical assessor with much more information than before. The infrastructure needed was more of a challenge in this case, as the lab is set up underground, and the relevant workspaces were more spaced out. However, clear communication between ISRAC staff, lab management, and the hospital’s IT staff resulted in a clear and strong signal throughout the day. The addition of the go-pro camera allowed for greater flexibility in the visual aspect of the assessment. it was possible, for example, to examine tip positioning in the robot, hard-to-reach calibration stickers, and proper use of equipment inside the biological cabinets. The fact that the same assessors, both the technical and the lead, were the same in both laboratories was also beneficial as even this limited experience with a hybrid assessment made the second one better.
A pandemic made it necessary to come up with a new tool that would allow us to continue with our duties. While unforeseen issues had to be overcome, constant improvement and risk management allowed ISRAC to establish an adequate tool for remote and hybrid assessments. The assessors stayed safe, and all the aspects of the ISO 15189 standard were adequately examined. Hopefully, this new tool will not be put aside even after a global return to normalcy.
NABL has taken up a unique initiative to promote the services of accredited Proficiency Testing Providers (PTPs) and Reference Material Producers (RMPs) and sensitize laboratories on the available infrastructure and services.
This year 5th PTP/RMP conclave was conducted on 30th – 31st August 2021 by NABL virtually which saw participation from not just the local but the international community including China, Iran, Mexico, Sri Lanka, etc. Chief Guest, Prof. HE Ping, CNAS, APAC PT Chair, provided an update on the revision of ISO/IEC 17043.
The PTP/RMP conclave also saw presentations from PTPs and RMPs on their PT plans and RM productions. The presentations are then judged by NABL experts based on technical aspects, content, presentation time, etc. and prizes were given to the top three PTPs/RMPs of the 11 presentations in the conclave.
For the full article on 5th PTP/RMP conclave please visit the NABL Newsletter August 2021 (Link: https://nabl-india.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/NABL-Newsletter-Aug-2021.pdf)
National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is a Constituent Board of Quality Council of India (QCI), an autonomous body under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India.
NABL is an accreditation body providing accreditation services to CABs:
*CABs accredited as on 30 September 2021
NATA pushes for accredited travel testing for COVID-19 to meet global standards
With Australia’s international borders soon to re-open, NATA has been actively urging the Australian Federal Government, aviation companies and international travel agencies to mandate use of accredited COVID-19 testing organisations and procedures to provide travellers assurance and confidence the tests conform to globally recognised standards.
While vaccination rates are rising around the world, vaccinated persons can still carry COVID so the need for diligent testing for both arriving and departing international travellers will continue to be a focus.
NATA believes that any laboratory performing COVID-19 tests should not only be accredited, but also be recognised under the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) framework.
In Australia, NATA has already accredited more than 160 facilities for COVID-19 tests including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and more recently, Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT).
NATA firmly believes that specifying accreditation for COVID-19 is the only way for regulators to ensure the reliability of tests and to help reduce the impact on health, trade and the Australian economy.
View NATA CEO, Jennifer Evans, discussing travel testing with the BBC.
View NATA’s official Media Release
Why NATA? A new video series
“You can’t be what you can’t see” is often used as a motto to encourage diversity.
NATA, Australia’s leading accreditation authority, is using “they say you can’t be what you can’t see” as a vision to deliver a new video series that brings visibility to the NATA brand and showcases and promotes the benefits of accreditation.
Titled ‘Why NATA?’, the series uses video storytelling to make an emotional connection by highlighting what NATA does and the role it plays in helping consumers, in every aspect of their daily lives – from the water we drink, the food we eat, the houses we live in or the cars we drive.
NATA produced the first episode as a “proof of concept” which you can see https://bit.ly/3pcBWNK
The spot features a family going about their daily routine and highlights how NATA impacts their lives and how standards exist all around them.
NATA is now planning to produce a series of episodes which will touch upon the many industries NATA works with, from agribusiness, animal health, the environment and human pathology, to forensic science and sleep disorders.
For additional information, please contact Brendon.email@example.com
To be is as essential as to look and at the National Accreditation Body of Colombia – ONAC, we are convinced that the evolution we have been cultivating for some time now and our willingness to change for the better must be reflected not only in our actions, but also in our “look and feel”; in that important part that connects with all our audiences.
Therefore, thinking about ONAC’s purpose as a permanent promoter of accreditation, understood as a fundamental activity for a sustainable economic development supporting and strengthening the country’s quality infrastructure, we carried out a review process of all aspects of such an organization. We contrasted it against our values and evolution during the last years, leading to a comprehensive redesign of our brand, achieving greater alignment with our strategic objectives, our organizational evolution, and the promise of connecting the quality of Colombia with the rest of the world in order to increasingly help position the country´s image and enhance its international recognition. ONAC is an ally inviting all its stakeholders to continue consolidating it as a Hub Catalyst of the world of quality that generates trust, through inspiring and convening leadership.
As a result of this evolution, the new logo that identifies the National Accreditation Body of Colombia was redesigned, and with it, the new Accredited and Associate ONAC Symbols, as shown below. Additionally, a new accreditation certificate was designed to reflect the new brand, which is already being used.
Accredited Symbol and Associate Symbol
The National Accreditation System of the Republic of Uzbekistan has had several developments since the accreditation of conformity assessment bodies was first introduced in 2013 with the adoption of the Law on Conformity Assessment.
In 2014, the first accreditation program for testing laboratories was introduced by the Uzbek Agency for Standardization, Metrology and Certification in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025. In 2014/2015 the accreditation system was extended to inspection and certification bodies of management systems, persons, and products. Institutional reforms in 2017/2018 separated accreditation from other conformity assessment activities. The Center for Accreditation (O’ZAKK) re-established in 2018 and to-date has accredited over 300 conformity assessment bodies.
It should be noted that O’ZAKK’s accreditation services have been fundamentally transformed to better serve interest groups, ensure confidence in the market and demonstrate competence by providing access to the latest information about accredited organizations on the website – www.akkred.uz.
The O’ZAKK team of 55 employees, and pool of 46 assessors and 100 technical experts has been able to expand its presence in the international community through co-operation with the following accreditation bodies: TURKAK (Turkey), ENAS (Emirates), NCA (Kazakhstan), KAB (Korea), Rusaccreditation (Russia) and PCA (Poland).
Another important step for the Uzbek National Quality Infrastructure is the country’s first internationally recognized calibration service, when TURKAK officially accredited the National Metrology Institute of Uzbekistan (O’zMMI) on 22 March 2021 for selected calibrations in the areas of mass, scales, pressure and temperature.
As of February 2018 O’ZAKK is an associate member of APAC. O’ZAKK joined ILAC in March 2018 as an affiliate member and its membership was successfully upgraded to an associate status in April 2020. And in December 2020 O’ZAKK was successfully granted membership status to the IAF. Moreover, O’ZAKK’s experts represent Uzbekistan in ISO/CASCO’s conformity assessment standards development activities and participate as a member of ILAC’s Arrangement Committee (ARC).
O’ZAKK continues its development and will apply for APAC full membership status to become an APAC MRA signatory in 2021 with plans to achieve IAF MLA and ILAC MRA signatory status in 2022.
Standards have been widely used as government and regulators are constantly called upon to make decisions related to the health, environment, and welfare of consumers which may entail the development or update of regulatory and legal requirements.
Similarly, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) of the Philippines has released the MARINA CIRCULAR NO. 2018-02 stipulating that, “All MARINA-Registered Shipyards licensed under this Circular shall be required to secure ISO 9001:2015 on Quality Management System and its latest amendments from a certification body accredited by the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB).”
Many of us may ponder upon the relevance of ISO 9001 in the Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SBSR) sector. This question was answered when Engr. James E. Empeño, Director of the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) was invited by MARINA on 01 September 2021 to discuss the significance of quality management systems in this highly-specialized industry.
During the 7th Philippine Marine 2021 Virtual Expo’s SBSR Technical Conference, Dir. Empeño explained that ISO 9001 is a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system. It helps businesses and organizations to be highly efficient and more customer-focused.
“ISO 9001 is suitable for organizations of all types, sizes, and sectors. One of the key improvements of ISO 9001:2015 was to make it more applicable and accessible to all types of enterprises,” said Dir. Empeño.
A well-implemented quality management system helps organizations to clearly define their objectives and identify business opportunities while making their customers a top priority. Apart from these benefits, it also aids businesses in ensuring that works are done efficiently, statutory requirements are met, organization-associated-risks are addressed, and markets are expanded because of the use of internationally-accepted standard.
Dir. Empeño’s discussion included some useful tips that would guide organizations in getting started with the implementation of ISO 9001. He also presented some success stories in adopting the said standard to provide further inspiration to those who are yet to pursue certification.
The demand for the certification in the SBSR and other sectors is expected to increase in the coming years due to the continual push of some regulators to conform to international standards.
As of writing, there are already 12 shipyards certified to ISO 9001:2015 apart from the 58 SBSR facilities with ongoing applications for ISO certification in the Philippines.
According to MARINA, the 7th Edition of Philippines Marine (PHILMARINE) 2021 is the only specialized maritime, shipbuilding, and offshore event in the Philippines that brings together an international congregation of maritime, shipbuilding, offshore, and their supporting industries to showcase the latest developments in the maritime industry. It aims to improve the current shipbuilding technology and equipment to help maintain the Philippines’ current status as the world’s fifth-largest shipbuilding industry.
From March to May, international auditors of the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) evaluated the national accreditation system (NAS) of the Russian Federation in order to confirm the signatory status to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement in the following areas:
As well as considering the application to expand the scope in recognition of the following areas:
As a result the auditors recommended to confirm the status of RusAccreditation as a signatory of APAC MRA (ILAC MRA accordingly) in the current field, as well as to expand the scope of recognition by areas declared by RusAccreditation. The final decision will be made by APAC MRA MC by the end of 2021.
June 9 marks World Accreditation Day, a global initiative co-founded by IAF and ILAC with a view to improving public awareness about the importance of accreditation. The theme of World Accreditation Day 2021 was the role of accreditation in supporting the implementation of the sustainable development goals.
Supporting the initiative of international accreditation organizations, RusAccreditation promoted the role of the accreditation institute in the modern world and participated in the development and distribution of IAF and ILAC information materials in Russian.
In this regard RusAccreditation published on its website a joint video and IAF and ILAC brochure such on Accreditation: Supporting the implementation of the sustainable development goals.
The 1st meeting of Working Sub-group on Accreditation and Testing Laboratories of China-Russia Standing Group on Standardization, Metrology, Conformity assessment and Inspection Control of the Sub-Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Commission for Arranging Regular Meetings of Heads of the Governments of Russia and China was held on July 28, 2021 in the videoconference format.
The delegations appreciated the many years of cooperation in the field of laboratory participations in proficiency testing rounds. Plans were outlined for new proficiency testing programs in the 2nd half of 2021.
Among other important issues discussed was that of conducting remote assessments of conformity assessment bodies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar approaches were identified in the organization of the remote assessment.
The main risks of assessing conformity assessments bodies in a remote format and ways to minimize them were also reviewed.
In addition, the delegations shared experiences for improving management systems of RusAccreditation and CNAS. Also the Chinese delegation shared experiences on the implementation of the Medical laboratories standard, ISO 15189.
A new version of ISO/IEC 17025 was published in November 2017. ILAC General Assembly Resolution No. 20.15 of November 4, 2016 as well as the joint ISO and ILAC communiques, established a three-year transition period for testing and calibration laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 from its publication.
On 11 June 2020, due to the spread of COVID-19 and measures to minimize the impact of the pandemic, the joint ISO and ILAC communiques were amended and the transition period extended from November 30, 2020 to June 1, 2021.
RusAccreditation approved a plan for the transition of National Accreditation System (NSA) participants to the international standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017, including training seminars provided on the NSA unified educational platform for assessors and officials of RusAccreditation. Advanced training courses were also provided for assessors, technical experts, managers and specialists of testing and calibration laboratories to implement the requirements of interstate standard GOST ISO/IEC 17025-2019 (ISO/IEC 17025:2017, IDT).
According to the results of the transition period, all laboratories accredited in the national accreditation system meet the requirements of GOST ISO/IEC 17025-2019 (ISO/IEC 17025:2017, IDT). Accreditation of laboratories that had not switched to the new standard by June 1, 2021 was suspended or terminated.
In July 2021 the regular meeting of the Public Council under RusAccreditation was held through video-conference. The main topics for discussion were the results of the international peer-evaluation of the national accreditation system in 2021 by the APAC, the review of the Technical Committee for Standardization «Conformity Assessment» (TC 079) and the working group on the activities of accredited CABs in the field of conformity assessment of construction materials, products and structures.
The Chairman of the Public Council under RusAccreditation noted the effective cooperation among RusAccreditation and the members of the Public Council, its working groups and committees, as well as the transparency of the collective taken actions.
In June 2021, the annual meeting of the General Assembly of APAC was held in the format of a videoconference. About 200 representatives of full, associated and affiliated members of APAC took part in the meeting. Representatives of RusAccreditation took part in the meeting from the Russian side.
During the meeting the report on the implementation of the Strategy plan as well as the reports of the heads of the standing committees of APAC were presented.
The Capacity Building Committee Chair Mr. Brahim Houla presented an overview of the APAC Knowledge Centre. Among the training programs, the course on the international standards ISO/IEC 17025:2017 the translation of which was prepared by RusAccreditation in association with the National Institute for Accreditation of RusAccreditation was noted.
Aspects of Accreditation in Turkish MRV of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Turkey has set up a monitoring, reporting and verification system (Turkish MRV) to measure the amount and reduction of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere by fixed installations. This is in line with global efforts that aim to limit the increase of atmospheric temperature by 1.5°C. This system is enforced by legislation, which requires mandatory accreditation of Verification Bodies verifying greenhouse gas emissions.
As a result, TURKAK has developed and implemented an accreditation program which takes into account several aspects of accreditation. Although ISO EN 14065 is being used as a Level 3 standard, there are other accreditation Level 3 standards that should be used in association with the ISO EN 14065 in order to measure the emissions with assurance and accuracy. As such, laboratories taking part in the system are now obligated by legislation to be accredited to and comply with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 standard. Given that, there are more than seven hundred installations in the system from a variety of manufacturers such as cement factories, refineries, electricity generation, and so on; now their laboratories and their associated laboratories to comply with the accreditation standard. The makes up to more than a thousand laboratories in the market.
Furthermore, legislation now requires several new tests (properties of biofuels, carbon content of some raw of semi-raw materials) that were not previously in the capacity to be performed by competent laboratories. As a result, many laboratories have had their accreditation scopes extended to include these new tests.
The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization is currently developing Proficiency Testing schemes for the tests in question to maintain the quality level across the country, meeting a demand for accreditation to be a Provider in accordance with the ISO/IEC 17043 standard.
Moreover, to calculate the amount of activity data (for example, weight – volume of material), inspection activities such as draft survey of ships containing materials or sampling of some fossil fuels or scraps from part of the imported bulks or calculation of volume of storage tanks can take place. For proper implementation of these activities, Verification Bodies and TURKAK are using the requirements of ISO/IEC 17020 standard. Accreditation of inspection bodies’ however, is not yet mandatory.
How accreditation helps SDG 7 in Turkey
The struggle to find clean and safe fuels and develop technologies to expand the use of renewable energy continues worldwide. Hydrocarbon-based energy is becoming expensive and is moving towards being a less attractive option due to the damage it causes to the environment. Besides the financial impact, measures taken to reduce its use and incentives given for alternatives play an important role in making it more expensive. However, undoubtedly the most important challenge is minimizing or eliminating the damage caused by hydrocarbon-based fuels to the environment.
To this end, the United Nations has set the goal ‘Ensuring Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy for All’ under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7. Various sub targets and indicators have been identified under this goal and these indicators are monitored on an annual basis. According to the 2021 edition of ‘The Energy Progress Report’, the latest available data and selected energy scenarios reveal that at today’s rate of progress, the world is not on track to achieve SDG 7. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable countries and those that were already suffering.
In Turkey, under SDG 7, overall performance evaluation shows that positive progress was achieved towards indicators of population with access to electricity (%) and share of renewable energy in total primary energy supply (%). Projects that reduce energy intensity and increase efficiency have been organized through incentives and support practices followed by the Energy Efficiency Coordination Board within the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
In line with these efforts and the progress, various legislations have been put into effect in the housing sector for the spread of insulation applications, efficient and environmentally friendly energy consumption, and efficient use of lighting and electrical household appliances. Further improvements have been made in the field of energy efficiency such as reducing fuel consumption levels in passenger cars, public transportation and rail transportation infrastructure, increasing the quality of roads and developing signalling systems suitable for needs in the transportation sector.
The Energy Efficiency Law No. 5627 and Regulation on Energy Performance in Buildings were implemented, and the Energy Performance Certificate application was initiated regarding the efficient use of energy in buildings, energy saving, control of greenhouse gas emissions, insulation properties and efficiency of heating/cooling systems. The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan includes items such as improving the financing mechanism and providing support for energy efficiency projects, as well as the establishment of energy management systems.
Accreditation has a special function under all these legal, technical, and financial considerations. The Ministry of Industry and Technology provides incentives to companies for their certification activities related to these purposes. SDG 7.3 sets a target for the improvement in energy efficiency. In accordance with these goals and targets, TÜRKAK has started to provide accreditation services to certification bodies in the field of ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems. TÜRKAK accredits test laboratories in the fields of energy efficiency and performance measurements according to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard. TÜRKAK also accredits energy efficiency testing laboratories for energy efficiency certifications. The accredited testing laboratory infrastructure has an important place in product certification processes in the field of energy efficiency. Furthermore, TÜRKAK has direct or indirect contribution to the management and evaluation of energy efficiency in many areas.
As part of the strategic priority to “To be agile, enabling the organisation to adapt and innovate” UKAS has been examining and researching the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) on accreditation and the conformity assessment sector. What is clear is that 4IR is a large diverse topic covering a multitude of differing technologies including:
Artificial Intelligence (AI); Machine learning; Internet of Things; Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology; Big Data; Wearables; Virtual/Augmented Reality; Autonomous Vehicles; Digital Healthcare; Genomics; 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing; Cyber Security; Smart Devices; Nanotechnology; Robotics and Cloud Computing.
It is evident that many of the technologies have the ability to not only introduce change to the accreditation and the conformity assessment communities but also to change how we all live and work.
Through conversations and meetings with customers and stakeholders about 4IR in the conformity assessment sector the picture that emerges is very mixed. Some are very early on in their journey with 4IR and others are much further down the road, already identifying the potential for 4IR technologies to improve the services or products they provide.
Regardless of which technologies are being considered however, and how far along the process organisations are, there is a fundamental need for business and consumer confidence in these new technologies. The potential for products such as Smart Devices, AI and Self Driving vehicles is evident and exciting, but their perceived complexity can make businesses and consumers wary. As can be seen through concerns over data security of Smart Devices and AI systems inheriting the biases against specific demographics based on the data they were ‘trained’ upon.
Accredited conformity assessment can provide a solution to deliver the necessary trust and confidence in a new generation of products and services that are underpinned by 4IR technologies. Whilst these new technologies can initially appear complex to provide assurance on, the existing mechanisms used by the conformity assessment sector (namely Testing, Inspection and Certification against agreed specifications, regulations or standards) are appropriate to provide the level of assurance required.
There is a need for the conformity assessment sector to work with these emerging technologies and develop its skills in 4IR. This will enable us to understand the critical points at which these technologies have to be tested or inspected, so that the standards and specifications that are developed are fit for purpose. Doing so will support ongoing innovation whilst providing the necessary assurance demanded by regulators, businesses and customers.
Already UKAS has been closely involved with its National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) partners the Department for Business, Energy & industrial Strategy (BEIS), the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in producing an Action Plan for Regulation for the 4IR. This has been an excellent example of the NQI partners working in collaboration and represents some initial steps in what will be an ongoing journey to provide trust and confidence in 4IR technologies.