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Murray Teale

Our birthday Standards Heroes have been nominated by their peers to represent all our contributors - individuals we consider to be the real heroes of standards, in Australia and internationally. We thank those who contribute their knowledge and expertise, service, and time to Standards Australia for the benefit of the Australian community.  

Murray Teale has been Technical Director at VTI Services for over 20 years. He sits on multiple national and international standard committees.  

How did you become involved in standards development? 

As a technician I utilised standards as a risk mitigation strategy, but as I became more involved in management, I realised that some of the standards compliance obligations were unclear and standards for emerging technologies took substantial time to develop.

My involvement in standards was driven to fully understand the intent of the standards, to mitigate risk for my employer and industry, and provided guidance to industry as to the obligation and compliance requirements of the standards.

I had additional concerns that a large number of members on the committee were employed by large international organisations, whose objective may have been based on their organisations international corporate vision and not Australia’s net benefit. It’s very important to make sure Australian companies are represented at national and international tables, and this has always been a focus of mine.  

What role have standards played in your career?   

My involvement in Australian standards has provided me tangible benefits, both personally and in business. It has allowed me to engage with industry as a “subject matter expert” within my industry and provide me and my clientele an understanding of best practices within Australia and the rest of the world.

My career success is based on being an independent trusted advisor providing my clients of compliance requirements and industry best practices while additionally mitigating risk for my clients and my business.

Standards development has such a positive impact on my business. I commit at least 20% of my working life to the process, which I deem to be a great investment in my business. The benefits include, but not limited to my business, is being the only NATA approved organisation for my field, and as far as I am aware the only ILAC approved inspection body in my field (by Mutual Recognition) in the world.

What is a project you’ve been particularly proud to have helped deliver? 

Australia has led four projects in my area that have been world firsts:

  1. Test method for optical fibre system. The original concept for a fibre channel test method was developed by myself, improved by the Australian committee and adopted internationally and published in ISO/IEC 14763-3, and as far as I am aware no IEC standard covers channel testing. The Channel test method has substantially lower measurement uncertainty and is how all optical fibre systems are deployed.
  2. The Optical fibre installation standard has been developed by Australia. This standard was developed in AS/NZS as no international standard was available. The standard is widely utilised and specified within the Australian marketplace.
  3. The AS/NZS committee identified the need for a modular plug terminated link (MPTL). MPTL were, and are, deployed within the Australian marketplace. Some of the implementations of MPTL supports health, safety and security systems. Australian committee in the absence of an international standard developed a standard to cover MPTL. As a footnote my company deemed this to be so important for WH&S that we as a small company sponsored the NZ adoption of the standard AS/NZS 11801.1. The Internationally standards later adopted a test method for MPTL (ISO/IEC 14763-4) which has the same requirements as the Australian version.
  4. Current CT001 is looking at diverse pathways which are specified throughout Australian industry however requirements are not specified within Australian or international standards. The CT001 committee believes that this has an impact on safety and security and network availability of critical services and is likely to undertake the development of a TS or Australian Standard.    

Outside of standards development, what have been some highlights of your career? 

I have been involved with electrotechnology for over 40 years. My working career has always involved technologies within Australia and the UK. My highlights started with some of the first deployments of generic cabling within Australia before standards existed (AS/NZS3080 – AS 11801 series), the development of optical fibre channel testing to meet an industry need and being the first NATA inspection body in my field. Being an expert witness for the high court, and arbitrator in contract resolution, would rate highly in later years.

But if I need to say what the highlight of my career was/is my industry engagement. Communicating with regulators, end users, industry bodies, suppliers and contractors and help to guide them in standards obligation and additionally help incorporate necessary changes within standards.

What do you think the future of standardisation looks like? 

Convergence, digital disruption, and converging technologies will provide the greatest challenges. The challenges for all of us is to base the outcome on net benefit and not let tradition and commercial pressure be a roadblock/innovation to change.

Is there anything you’d like to say or mention about Standards Australia’s centenary year? 
Over 100 years Standards Australia has provided to the Australian people and industry world best practices which has helped ensure that Australia remains at the forefront. I believe there are two primary groups of people that ensure this happen - The Standards Australia Project Managers, who help ensure committees are functioning and following process (transparency) and the working group that operates under the main committee. In my experience WG are the life blood of standards work and are often not acknowledged sufficiently.

The challenges for Standards Australia, given the rate of change with technologies and the reluctance of some sectors to change, is how will Standards Australia keep Australian standards relevant.