Beer Opatsuwan is a chartered electrical engineer and a chartered manager currently working for Energy Queensland, which operates Australia’s largest electricity distribution network. Beer graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, holds a Post-graduate Certificate from Queensland University of Technology and pursuing an MBA. Beer’s portfolio of experience covers a broad range of engineering management projects within the energy industry in Australia and the UK. In 2015, Beer was recognised as Queensland young professional engineer of the year. As the Manager Intelligent Grid Program, Beer is responsible for the development and maintenance of intelligent grid solutions project governance and coordination for Energy Queensland.
In addition to his contribution to standards development at a national and international level, Beer is also currently supporting Standards Australia’s General Mananger Operations Kareen Riley-Takos as alternate on the IEC Standardization Management Board.
Standards Australia (SA): Why do you think standards are important?
Beer Opatsuwan (BO):
There are three reasons that come to mind:
SA: You’re the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB) alternate for Kareen Riley-Takos, what has that experience been like so far and what is to come?
- Standards are a powerful channel to influence our society for the better. Amongst many positive forces is the potential for standards to level the playing field for stakeholders across various sectors thus fostering competitive markets.
- They’re a robust facilitating platform to foster Australia's economies leveraging the diversity of thought.
- An enabler to market monopoly disintegration and a catalyst for new technology acceleration.
It has been a steep learning curve as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a complex organisation. I have been able to gain insights into the IEC's management framework, its strengths, weaknesses and have been rapidly formulating ideas into how to make a positive impact.
The 1st SMB meeting in New Delhi was a huge eye-opener for me. I was able to interact with many experienced SMB members from across the globe, each providing me with their perspectives to help solve pressing matters to the IEC.
My vision for the IEC is to advocate for agile operations as a critical pillar for IEC/SA to keep up with a rapidly changing world. As a former Young Professional, I strive to be the glue between the IEC Young Professionals Programme (emerging leaders) and established leaders to attract/retain the world’s best leaders/experts in the field to support the work of standardisation.
With Kareen's depth of standardisation experience and support, I want to work with her to inspire trust and foster strong linkages and relationships between IEC, Standards Australia, the Australian electrotechnical sector and other National Committee members.
SA: How can we get more young people involved and educated about standards?
The conversations regarding standardisation need to start at the grass-root level. I see an opportunity for standardisation bodies to work with universities and generate an awareness of national and international standardisation.
Young professionals should be aware that they can make an impact on the Standardisation forum. The old-age mentality of standardisation is reserved for experienced professionals nearing retirement needs to be eliminated.
I see an opportunity for Standards Australia to work closely with Engineers Australia and other industry technical forums (e.g. CIGRE and IEEE etc.) to promote the work of standardisation to young and experienced engineers.
SA: What do you think is the future of standardisation?
The standards platform becoming more agile in its operations whilst maintaining consensus rigour. Standards will be borderless, inclusive, exciting, balanced, digital-centric and readily accessible.
Increased use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to coordinate and harmonise intellects from the industry. The standards development systems are becoming more autonomous with a huge amount of operational insights feeding in. This in turn creates more powerful and balanced standards – just look at what Google and Facebook are doing.