Baoying Tong is a charted electrical engineer at AECOM in Sydney. He was selected by Standards Australia for its Young Leaders Programme 2016-17 and has been involved in standards committees including EL-001-14 IEC Coordination and JTC-001-01 Smart Cities Reference Group. He represented Australia for the 2019 IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) Young Professionals’ Programme in Shanghai and was elected as a leader for the cohort.
Outside of work he volunteers his time for various organisations to promote STEM education through university/professional body outreach, and cultural diversity in the engineering profession through mentorship programs. He sits on the CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) NSW Young Engineers Committee since 2017.
Baoying was named as Young Engineer of the Year in 2018 by CIBSE, Australia and New Zealand.
Standards Australia (SA): How and why did you get involved in standards development?
Baoying Tong (BT): I started my journey in standards development after being selected for the Standards Australia Young Leaders Program (now known as NEXTgen Program), 2016-17. The program provided me with the knowledge, tools and opportunities to be involved in standards development.
Besides staying up to date on current trends and being aware of where the industry is moving to, there are two other reasons for me getting involved in standards. Firstly, as an engineer, I love to solve problems, and especially, problems which have a greater impact and make the world a better place. Standards play a crucial role in our society and by publishing the right standards, it safeguards the wellbeing of the society – contributing to standards development reflects my passion.
Secondly, I enjoy the high-level of collaboration that comes with being on a committee. Being on a committee means being part of a group of representatives from a range of stakeholder groups that all have the common goal of developing the right standards for Australia.
SA: You were recently were elected as an IEC Young Professionals Leader, why do you think international standardisation is important?
BT: It is more efficient to develop international standards than each country developing their own. It helps products and designs that comply with recognised international standards flow freely from one corner of the world to the other. Take smart cities as an example, by developing international standards, it enables a digitally connected global community of which people would expect there are certain benchmarks that are met universally and hence facilitate the overall development of the technology.
There are also many emerging technologies which are reshaping the world, such as autonomous vehicles, internet of things, and artificial intelligence. There is no single country that is leading on each aspect of those technologies. By developing the standards as an international effort, it brings the best experts together and ensures the technical quality of the documents.
Standards are not only technical tools, but also social vehicles to connect technical communities across the world. On one hand, developing international standards facilitates knowledge sharing and technology transfer. On the other hand, cultural diversity brings out fresh ideas and new perspectives which help ensure that the standards are not written in a biased way.
SA: How can standards help the development of smart cities in Australia?
BT: Smart cities are gaining more and more momentum both domestically and internationally. However, there are many challenges around data, connectivity and system integration. Many early stage smart cities projects are not future proof because at the time there were no clear standards or guidelines that defined those critical elements and making them siloed and outdated projects.
There are many features that smart cities should have, such as transparent data collection and governance, generation of reliable information, assistance with decision making, security, and readiness for next waves of innovation. All of these require new standards to be developed that stipulate current best practice and take future development into consideration, which the JTC-001-01 committee is currently working on.
SA: What does the future of standardisation look like?
BT: I think the future of standardisation will likely be automated by Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI would be able to notify us what new standards/modifications are required and immediately produce the draft. Our roles would be reviewing those standards that AI drafted, which would probably be the most time-consuming task in the whole process!