At this year’s ARGE conference we hosted 4 workshops designed to debate and agree the next ARGE agenda. These groups were well attended and featured stimulating discussions, demonstrating a high level of engagement with the future of ARGE.
Here’s a summary of the workshops at this year’s ARGE Conference…
1. The Future Direction Of Standards Development
In recent years, the development of standards by CEN and the European Commission (EC) has been unsatisfactory. Despite having our own working group dedicated to standards (working group C), we feel it necessary to review the direction and level of engagement ARGE has in standardisation work.
Based on our knowledge of market needs and trends, the workshop focused on identifying opportunities for developments in the field.
Three key future opportunities were identified:
i. Speeding up the creation and revision of CEN Standards. ARGE proposes to engage in more active advocacy with the EC to create pressure from the top down
ii. Preventing EC and CEN from eliminating minimal requirements for CE Marking. The execution of the Construction Product Regulations (CPR) by the EC, without considering the consequences has led to concern amongst ARGE members. As well as investigating whether the EC’s Product Safety Directive could be of assistance, we will be looking to engage with other Manufacturing Associations also impacted by the interpretation of the CPR.
iii. Using existing standards to create market demand for higher quality products. The classifications within the CEN standards allow for differentiation between high quality and low quality products, however it is felt the advantages of higher quality products are not known or considered enough in the specification process. ARGE proposes to run a targeted marketing campaign to create more awareness around this issue.
2. Pan European Routines For Master Key Systems (MKS)
The purpose of this group was to create an industry wide understanding and guideline for the handling of MKS Data related to security requirements. This includes the planning and calculation of MKS but also its encryption, transmission and storage between manufacturers, dealers and end users.
The workshop has identified key areas, which need further understanding and guidelines creating: procedures & documentation, MKS agreements & identification, IT security and data protection.
3. European Quality Brand
CE marking has afforded little protection against lower quality products, meaning our industry continues to be exposed to low cost, low quality products offering inferior performance. This workshop proposes the development of a European quality mark for all ARGE members.
This quality mark would be based on CEN standards but owned and managed by ARGE. The workshop agreed that there would be advantages to having a European quality mark, especially as a defensive action against lower quality products. It was also felt that while these standards should be based on CEN criteria there is scope to extend these above and beyond test performances to include elements such as supply chain efficiency and ease of installation. The next step will be to develop a business case for the investment in a European quality mark.
4. The Application Of Standards Covering Smart Homes, Connected and Elmech Technologies
The rate of change of technology in the smart, connected and elmech market is accelerating to a point where standards cannot keep up, and many guidelines reflect only the product requirements and not the connected systems. The fourth workshop asked the question; is this an issue ARGE should take the lead on?
It was agreed within the group that the market landscape is changing, with an expected growth from £5billion in 2014 to £26billion by 2019. With software, data and service leading the market change, new global players are converging on the same smart and connected space. The risk to hardware manufacturers is that they miss out on this lucrative sector, whilst allowing poorer quality and unregulated products to capitalise on this growing market.
This workshop proposes to introduce standards for smart and connected products, helping to secure opportunities within smart home systems and also protect the reputation of the industry from poorer imitations.
A new standard would need to consider the following system elements as a whole: mechanical, electrical and data performance, data communication, installation and deployment. After a productive workshop, ARGE will now look to define the scope of the project, as well as the necessary phases and project deliverables.
Further information on the next steps following these workshops will be available soon.