A systems approach

A systems approach focuses on the overarching system and its individual parts

What is a System?

A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a purposeful whole of a complexity that requires specific structures and work methods in order to support applications and services relevant to IEC stakeholders.


Systems work

The abundance of technologies and their convergence, particularly in large scale infrastructure, requires a top-down approach to standardization, starting at the overall system architecture, rather than the traditional bottom-up approach that focusses on individual systems components. System standards are increasingly necessary in sectors such as the environment, safety, and health.

In this context, there is also an increased need for co-operation with many other standards developing organizations, as well as with relevant non-standards bodies. The systems approach also has implications for the IEC Conformity Assessment Systems and processes.


Standardization Evaluation Groups (SEG)

The purpose of the standardization evaluation group is to assess systems including several technologies, that are normally covered by the work of more than one technical committee (TC).  SEGs are set up both to evaluate new technology areas and to look at existing systems and technologies.

SEGs are mandated to:

  • define a system and its scope
  • identify all impacted stakeholders
  • pinpoint relevant technical committees, existing standards and gaps
  • propose architectures and roadmaps

The SEG will publish the results of its work so that it can be viewed by all interested parties. SEGs invite the involvement of many experts, including those who do not yet participate in IEC work.

SEGs don't coordinate the technical work between different TCs, this is the role of the Systems Committee (SyC), see column on the right.


Systems Committees (SyC)

Systems Committees operate within the defined scope of a system. They develop high-level interfaces and functional requirements that span the work areas of several TC/SC. Through collaboration and consensus, the SyC develops a work plan that involves, and is followed by all relevant TC/SCs. However, the SyC does not have the authority to dictate to TCs what work they must carry out. 

IEC Member countries (National Committees) who are willing to send experts (P-members), form the membership of each SyC. The secretariat of all SyCs is provided by IEC Secretariat in Geneva.


Systems Resource Groups (SRG)

Systems Resource Groups serve as a support and consulting resource to SEGs and SyCs. They collect and share best-practice, specify tools, and provide guidance for architecture models, road maps, and use cases. They focus on the science of system standardization but do not engage in technical standards work.

The members of the SRG comprise systems experts nominated by the National Committees and approved by the SMB.


Join a standardization evaluation group (SEG)

Participation in one of the SEGs is open to everybody who is able to contribute to their work. If you would like to participate in one of the SEGs, please contact us using the registration form link found on each of the SEG pages.

More information

A standard is an agreed way of doing something in a consistent and repeatable way. Standards set minimum requirements in terms of safety, reliability, efficiency, and so forth. 

IEC TC/SCs (Technical committees and subcommittees) develop international standards and other types of publications for a specific area of electrotechnology.

An overview of the development process of a new IEC International Standard.

A systems approach focuses on the whole system rather than each individual part.

Standards describe the processes and methods to ensure the safety, reliability, and performance of electrical systems and information technologies. Conformity assessment verifies that the written word is applied in the real world.

Why comment? Help shape international standards in your field. Take this opportunity to provide your expert comments on draft IEC Standards (CDVs) before they are published. 

The key benefits of membership come from participating in the development of the standardization and conformity assessment work of the IEC.

In this section, you can find more information about how the IEC is organized.