World Standards Day 2018

A message from the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS)

– Advance agricultural based nations continue to embark on the use of newer farming techniques to improve the quality, safety and consistency of agricultural products
– As we continue to make evolutionary advances in this global village, standards have also evolved to support the design, manufacture, monitoring and use of these new technologies

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, October 14, 2018

Today, October 14, 2018, we celebrate World Standards Day, and as the national standards agency, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) is part and parcel of this annual celebration. The theme for this year is: ‘International Standards and the Fourth Industrial Revolution’; and this theme sends a direct message as it infers the role of standards in emerging technologies globally. With emerging technologies, which encompass the use of robotics and other advance intelligence, resultantly, measures must be implemented to maintain the required quality and safety of products and services.

As our nation engages in the celebrations for Agriculture month, it is important to recognise that the industrial revolution has begun within the agriculture sector and the supporting manufacturing and services sectors. Advance agricultural based nations continue to embark on the use of newer farming techniques to improve the quality, safety and consistency of agricultural products.

Some of these farming techniques include the use of smart power systems, precision agriculture tools, management software, which are specific to sustainable farming practices and e-commerce, and sensors which are also within the reach of the smallest farmers of today. These technologies are necessary for achieving the long-term objectives of efficient farm management and resource efficiency, traceability and supply chain efficiency. As we continue to make evolutionary advances in this global village, standards have also evolved to support the design, manufacture, monitoring and use of these new technologies.

It has become quite common in the productive sectors for robots to work alongside humans. In 2013, there were 1.2 million robots in factories and warehouses. Japan leads the way in the use of industrial robots with more than 306,000 robots in use, compared to 237,000 in North America, 182,000 in China, and 175,000 in South Korea and Germany each. The use of automation, robotics and advanced manufacturing techniques has resulted in a record increase in production and efficiency when compared to 20 years ago. Likewise, in the transportation sector, there are driverless and hybrid cars.

The convergence of these developments means that robots are helping to increase overall output and save money, but not helping to add jobs. In looking at data from 2010 to 2016, manufacturing has seen 10 to 20 percent increases in output, but only a 2 to 5 percent increase in jobs.

This industrial revolution requires that in order for us to become competitive, developing countries like Guyana have to be equipped to compete at the global levels. Innovators rely on international standards, like those produced by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to ensure compatibility and interoperability.

This revolution calls for changing in the traditional ways of farming, manufacturing and service delivery to be competitive on the local, regional and international markets. New technologies have an initial cost which may be perceived as prohibitive, but in the long term, the costs are insignificant.

To be competitive, schools, technical institutions and universities need to restructure their curricula so that students get better training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There is a great need for workers with STEM skills as systems analysts, software developers, and biomedical engineers, among other professions.

In Guyana, we can use our existing STEM programmes to develop the science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields so that we can revolutionize our manufacturing and service sectors to be competitive on the global market. At the same time, we can use standards to ensure that the technologies we embrace can stand scrutiny at the international level.

The GNBS is a correspondent member of international standards bodies such as ISO and ITU and affiliate member of IEC which provides a link to our local businesses, educators, regulators and consumers which can have access to standards to allow Guyana to actively participate in the industrial revolution.

Happy World Standards Day to all Guyana!!

Candelle Walcott-Bostwick, Executive Director.

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