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Standardization in Emerging Technologies: A Case Study for Smart Lighting Products and Systems

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New lighting technology such as that employing light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is common today; however, “smart lighting” includes the increased use of computer and communications technologies to allow traditional lighting products to perform additional functions, be integrated into home and building automation, and access Internet-based services.

A previous report, titled The Role of Standardization in Emerging Technologies, proposed a standardization and assessment framework to provide consumers and other stakeholders greater confidence that the new generation of “smart” products and services will meet their expectations. This report responds to a recommendation in the previous report that the framework be validated using a test case, and smart lighting was selected since it is typical of the kinds of intelligent Internet-connected products being viewed with increased concern. This report aims to show, by example, how the elements of the framework can be used to help consumers and other stakeholders gain more confidence that these products and services will meet their expectations.

The proposed framework to be validated in this report is based on the use of two documents written by the vendor and on two assessment steps. The first document, the Policy document, contains the specifications, terms of service, and other information needed by consumers and regulators to satisfy their concerns about the product or service. The second document, the Practice profile, defines the standards and practices the vendor uses to support the Policy. The Policy document is a public document, while the Practice profile defines internal, often proprietary, vendor details. The first assessment is between these two documents, while the second assesses the implementation of the Practice profile by the vendor.

This report identifies a number of topics that should be addressed in the Policy and Practice documents and shows how the assessments can be used to assure consumers and regulators that the practices of the vendor are sufficient to meet their concerns.

The report provides examples of “strawman” contents for each of the two documents as an initial step in developing standardized formats for these two documents. It also summarizes ten initial topics that should be covered in these documents, namely, identification, quality, safety, energy efficiency, security of operation, privacy protection, compatibility and expandability, warranty, service life, and ethical sourcing and the circular economy.

The report identifies the following areas for future potential work:

  • The need to further refine and standardize the format and content of the Policy document based on the strawman example provided in Appendix A of the report;
  • The need to further refine and standardize the format and content of the Practice profile based on the strawman example provided in the Appendix A of the report;
  • The need to further investigate the use of assessments between the Policy and Practice documents, especially to address growing challenges related to the certification of products subject to firmware updates and new privacy and security legislation;
  • The need to further investigate the use of ongoing assessments against the Practice profile to verify ongoing performance, including the maintenance of safety, security, and privacy over the service life of the product or system; and
  • The need to further investigate specific topics identified in the original report and confirmed during the preparation of this report:
    • The need to define how the service life of products and systems can be specified;
    • The need to standardize the requirements for privacy protection; and
    • The need to define better means to communicate residual risk issues, especially related to the risk of security and privacy breaches.

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