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INTERVIEW WITH SI MOHAMED ESSAIDI

INTERVIEW WITH SI MOHAMED ESSAIDI

We would like to thank the Founding President of the IEEE, Morocco section, Mr. Mohamed Essaidi, for agreeing to devote this interview to us despite his busy schedule.

  • You are the founding chair of the IEEE Morocco Section. Can you tell us know the mission and status of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) at the international level?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a professional association for electronic and computer engineers (and related disciplines) with headquarters in New York  and an operating center in Piscataway, New Jersey, USA. It was formed in 1963 from the merger of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (founded in 1884) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (founded in 1912).

Because of its expanding scope into so many related fields, it is simply referred to as I-E-E-E (pronounced I-triple-E). It is the world’s largest association of technical professionals, with more than 423,000 members in more than 160 countries worldwide. Its goals are the educational and technological advancement of electrical and electronic engineering, telecommunications, computer science and other emerging disciplines such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual reality, smart grids and smart cities.

In addition, IEEE has more than 1,200 active standards, and more than 650 standards under development in the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) working groups. Among  the most successful and notorious standards, there are two, namely,  IEEE 802 LAN/MAN standards group, which are the widely used  wired and wireless   networks standards :     ethernet IEEE 802.3 , WiFi IEEE 802.11  and WiMax IEEE 802.16 networks standards, the IEEE 1547 standard for interconnecting distributed resources with power systems, and the ISO/IEEE 11073 standards for healthcare computing.

The IEEE Morocco Section was officially formed in November 2004, and since then it has actively contributed to the development of research and innovation in Morocco through the organization of specialized international conferences on various topics such as computer science, telecommunications, electronics, artificial intelligence, internet of things, smart cities, etc. It has also contributed in an extraordinary way to the networking of university faculty members and many other professionals and even students of engineering schools and Moroccan universities to the global network of IEEE.

  • The IEEE plays a very important role in the establishment and publication of standards, particularly in the field of WiFi. How does IEEE work  and how does it  organize itself to ensure coordination between all of its members, who are present all over the world in the 5 continents?

IEEE is organized into several geographical and disciplinary entities. Within the geographic organization, IEEE divides the world into 10 regions, namely:

  • Region 1 to 6: USA

  • Region 7: Canada

  • Region 8: Europe, Middle East, Africa. The IEEE Morocco Section falls under this region.

  • Region 9: Latin America

  • Region 10: Asia and Pacific Ocean

At the IEEE Region level, countries are represented by IEEE Sections. Within these sections there may also be IEEE Student Btanches representing IEEE at the  universities or engineering schools levels.

IEEE also has a disciplinary or thematic organization represented by the 38 IEEE Societies such as: IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Communication Society, IEEE Education Society, IEEE Remote Sensing Society, IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, IEEE Power & Energy Society, etc. These societies contribute to the development of education, research and innovation, and industry standards in their respective disciplines. These societies contribute to the development of education, research and innovation, and industrial standards in their respective disciplines and fields of interest.

There is also another IEEE entity, called “IEEE Future Directions” which develops several initiatives on emerging technologies such as: Cloud Computing, IoT , AI, Blockchain, Future Networks, Digital Reality, Digital Privacy, Quantum Computing, etc.

  • How does IEEE coordinate its standardization activities with other relevant standards bodies such as ITU, 3GPP, ETSI, ISO, and other relevant players such as, Cisco, Huawei, General Electric, Oracle, Qualcomm and the ZigBee Alliance ?

The IEEE Standards Association is a business unit of the IEEE that develops global standards in a wide range of sectors, including Energy and Power, Artificial Intelligence Systems, Internet of Things, Consumer Technology and Electronics, Biomedical and Healthcare, Learning Technologies, Information Technology, Robotics, Telecommunications, Automotive, Transportation, Home Automation, Nanotechnology, Computer Security, Smart Cities, and in many others areas.

This IEEE standards entity is not an officially authorized government body, but rather a community while ISO, IEC and ITU are recognized as international standards bodies. ISO members are national standards bodies such as the American ANSI, the German DIN or the Japanese JISC. IEC members are so-called national committees, some of which are hosted by national standards bodies. They are not identical to ISO members. Both the IEC and ISO develop international standards based on consensus and the principle of “one country, one vote”, representing the needs of industry at large. Their standards cannot be sponsored by individual companies or organizations. In addition, IEEE SA collaborates with these various international standards bodies at various levels and even in the joint development of standards such as the ISO/IEEE 11073 standard for health informatics.

  • The IEEE is a non-profit organization under American law. How does the IEEE ensure its independence, especially with respect to American manufacturers, for example?

The fact that IEEE is a U.S. based organization certainly impacts its operation, activities and products even though almost half of the membership is from other countries. As an example, a few years ago, we witnessed the intervention of the American authorities to enforce its embargo decision on the IEEE Section of Iran. Furthermore, the fact that some IEEE SA standards working groups have a majority of American nationals can influence the technical specifications of its standards.

  • How are IEEE activities funded?

IEEE activities are funded primarily through annual membership fees (more than 400,000 members), revenues from IEEE publications and standards (the IEEE Xplore platform offers more than 5.6 million IEEE research articles and standards), and through the organization of conferences through registration fees.

  • The IEEE is a powerful international organization that establishes standards for Ethernet and wireless local area networks, among others. Is the IEEE also involved in new fields such as the Internet of Things (IoT) or algorithms related to artificial intelligence?

In addition to widely used IEEE standards such as the IEEE 802.3 family for Ethernet and the IEEE 802.11 family for WiFi, IEEE SA is a major contributor to the standardization of emerging technologies such as :

  • IEEE 1451-99: IoT Harmonization and Security

  • IEEE 2700: Performance and quality of IoT sensors

  • IEEE P7006: Standard for Personal Data Artificial Intelligence Agent.

  • EEA 7001-2021: Transparency of autonomous systems

  • IEEE P2784: Smart Cities Planning and Technology Guide.

 

  • What is the role of the Moroccan Section in this international mission of the IEEE organization?

The role of the IEEE Morocco Section is focused on two main actions, namely, the dissemination of IEEE standards within the academic and industrial communities and the mobilization of its members to participate in IEEE SA working groups.

  • Normally standardization is the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry in Morocco. Do you coordinate IEEE activities with the Ministry of Industry?

There is no direct coordination between IEEE or IEEE Morocco and the Ministry of Industry. But one thing is sure, the work done by the Ministry’s teams certainly uses IEEE standards in the framework of benchmarks and studies carried out in this exercise.

  • The ANRT operates within the framework of the approval system, verifying the conformity of telecom equipment with the technical specifications it develops, and with the requirements of electromagnetic compatibility. Knowing that the IEEE also hosts the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety, is there any collaboration between  IEEE and  ANRT on this matter ?

There is no direct collaboration between IEEE and ANRT in the area of verifying equipment compliance with the technical specifications of the standards as well as electromagnetic compatibility requirements. However, ANRT experts certainly use IEEE SA specifications and recommendations in these areas, especially since these are widely adopted by many similar institutions around the world.

  • Don’t you think that some of the old standardization institutions operating in the multilateral framework are increasingly overtaken by forums or associations if they do not adapt to new organizational and technological paradigms, especially those related to agility and flexibility?

Standards institutions must adapt to new organizational and technological paradigms, particularly in terms of flexibility and agility. They must also promote cooperation and collaboration in the broadest sense to succeed in their missions in terms of the quality and relevance of the standards developed and the level of their adoption by the various standardization and certification organizations around the world.

This interview was conducted in French by Ahmed Khaouja

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