The highlight of the New Year's reception of Austrian Standards was the presentation of the international Living Standards Awards 2018 to the winners. This year it was already for the fourth time that this Award recognized organizations and enterprises which contribute to standardization and use standards in an exemplary way. In selecting its five favourites, the international jury put special emphasis on the successful, strategic application as well as the development of new and existing standards at the national and international level.
More than 130 personalities from Austria and abroad, business and administration as well as professional organizations attended the reception, including Secretary-General Anna Maria Hochhauser of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, OeNB President Claus Raidl, former EU commissioner Franz Fischler, Peter Skalicky, former rector of the Vienna University of Technology, Lower Austria's Provincial Construction Director Walter Steinacker, Chief Executive Director Erich Hechtner of the City of Vienna, District Chairwoman Ursula Lichtenegger of Vienna's Leopoldstadt district as well as Director General Elena Santiago Cid of CEN/CENELEC.
Water quality guaranteed by Austrian standard
The Living Standards Award 2018 rewarded the co-operative, interdisciplinary research of "UV-Team Austria" for the development of a testing standard for UV disinfection plants for drinking water. ÖNORM M 5873 "Plants for disinfection of water using ultraviolet radiation – Requirements and testing" (part 1 and 2) lays the foundation for the certification of plants that reliably ensure high disinfection performance. "The UV irradiation of water is one of the best and most effective disinfection methods for drinking water that exists today, but appropriate standards and quality criteria were lacking," Regina Sommer of the Medical University Vienna who heads the UV-Team Austria describes the motivation for developing the standard.
The principle is simple: In an irradiation chamber, drinking water flows past UV radiation and in a split second, microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and even highly resistant parasites, are inactivated. As a result, they are no longer able to propagate and infect humans. In contrast to chlorine, UV disinfection does not affect the taste of water because – when applied in line with the ÖNORM standard – it does not alter the constituents of water.
There is great International interest in the ÖNORM standard. It has already been translated into English several times and was adopted by many countries all over the world. "We are very proud of that," delights the UV-Team Austria. In France, the standard was even made mandatory in early 2013. A real proof of the quality of Austrian know-how.
Austrian know-how used world-wide
NXP Semiconductors Austria won over the jury with the efficient further development of standards. This developer of chips for secure, contactless identification and access systems sees standardization as a core element for reaching global markets. "This is why we invest manpower and funds into the development of new and existing standards," explained Paul Hubmer, Managing Director Technology of NXP, during the award ceremony.
NXP Semiconductors Austria GmbH significantly contributed to the development of near field communication (NFC) technology. Among others, this know-how was input into several standards.
In 2001, NXP was already intensively involved in the development of the international series of standards ISO/IEC 14443 on contactless smartcards. Since then, this international standard has become the protocol that forms the basis of contactless communication for all ATMs and digital identification and access systems. New technologies and requirements for final products made it necessary to develop this standard continuously. Today almost all smart phones come with NFC technology.
Standards for technologies crossing borders
Österreichische Staatsdruckerei GmbH (OeSD) also received the Living Standards Award 2018 for the successful design and implementation of an innovative project involving standards at an early stage. It created "My Identity App" (MIA), an innovative solution that provides secure access to digital documents and electronic IDs (eIDs) via mobile phones world-wide. In contrast to wallet solutions, the ID documents are not stored on smart phones. It is only with the consent of the person in question that the data requested can be accessed on a high-security server located in the relevant country via an encrypted internet connection.
OeSD experts also introduced this "security (ensured) by process" solution into international standardization work. "It is extremely important for MIA to have standards because digitized documents, such as driving licenses and vehicle registration cards, that we bring onto smart phones also must be readable across borders. For this reason we should develop standards as soon as possible - at least within the EU," emphasized Lukas Praml, CEO of Österreichische Staatsdruckerei.
Standards for the secure transmission of health data
The Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) received the Living Standards Award 2018 for an app for measuring and transmitting health data, such as weight, blood glucose and blood pressure. Peter Kastner, AIT Digital Health Information Systems: "ON the basis of standards, it is possible to integrate diverse measurement sensors made by different manufacturers into a device diary scenario and to transfer, for example, the blood glucose value measured directly to a health app. Then the data are synchronized with a central server that can also be accessed by the doctor."
Thereby, technical standards allow for a simple, novel dialogue between doctors and patients. The digital interaction between humans and technology is to ensure that people permanently change their attitudes and behaviours and live healthier. "The Living Standards Award means very much to us because it confirms our strategy to consider standards right from the start in all our innovative developments so that our products achieve the highest acceptance and effectiveness possible," adds Elke Günther, AIT Head of IT Health & Environment Department.
Green instead of grey - standards for green roofs
Last but not least, GrünStattGrau Forschungs- und Innovations GmbH was also able to take home the Living Standards Award. GrünStattGrau is the first innovation lab and competence centre for the green city of the future. The objective is to green entire urban quarters by targeted measures for greening buildings in order to improve the microclimate of neighbourhoods. "More plants can help cool entire cities, protect biodiversity as well as maintain and generate social benefits in spite of high building densities," explains Vera Enzi, the technical manager of GrünStattGrau.
Together with network partners from the fields of business, science and administration, GrünStattGrau researches and implements projects on greening buildings nation-wide. Thus, Austria implements the strategy on green infrastructure and re-naturing cities with nature-based solutions launched by the European Commission in 2014 with a special focus on practical applications not only at the national level.
Based on the application of the well-proven standard ÖNORM L1131 on green roofs that is continuously developed, Austria has the potential of becoming a technology leader internationally. At the level of standards, you cannot only define and compare many technical factors but also contribute to shaping the future - for example, by reaching climate protection targets.