01 Jul 2024
by Martin Franke

Providing leadership in standardisation

Advancements in technology and industry practices as well as changes in regulatory agendas and directives make it necessary to continuously initiate new standards and update existing standards to ensure they remain relevant and effective. In this context, leadership in standardisation is a crucial factor for achieving the desired benefits and outcomes both for industry and society.

That requires the ability and willingness of an actor to initiate, influence and shape the development and implementation of standards that are relevant, effective, and legitimate. Euralarm provides that leadership in standardisation.

Standardisation, the process of developing and promoting, and possibly mandating standards, processes and regulations has a long history and might be called as old as our human race itself.  During Greek antiquity, standardized units of measurement were found to be convenient for trade within the Mediterranean region and these units became increasingly common to different city states. The establishment of such shared concepts and meanings is a precondition for cultural interaction. It wasn't until the late 18th century that standardisation was for the first time thoroughly systematised. Attempts at large-scale setting of norms and standards gained momentum and introduced an entirely new rationale to the process of standardisation. Jumping further forward in time, Europe nowadays has three European standards bodies: CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation, 1961), CENELEC (Comité Européen de Normalisation Électrotechnique, 1973), and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute, 1988). The technology standards that they provide, focus on ensuring quality, reliability, consistency, compatibility, interoperability and safety.

Importance of standardisation

The work and results of these European standardisation organisations (ESO's) are intricately linked to the work and goals of the European Commission. Standardisation has played a leading role in allowing goods, services, money and people to move freely between EU countries, making life easier and better for Europeans and business. This is the EU Single Market and is one of the pillars of the European Union. Standards support market-based competition and help ensure the interoperability of complementary products and services. They reduce costs, improve safety, and enhance competition. Due to their role in protecting the health, safety, and security, standards are important to the public. The EU has an active standardisation policy that promotes standards to better regulate and enhance the competitiveness of European industry as well as to advocate EU values. Indeed, the success of the market-driven and consensus-based European standardisation system has had significant economic benefits in the development of specific industries. Above all, standards allow businesses of all kinds and sizes to enter the international market.

Not a static or uniform phenomenon

Whereas uniformity is the goal of standardisation, the process of standardisation itself isn't uniform nor standardised at all. It is influenced by numerous factors, such as technological change, market dynamics, consumer preferences, regulatory frameworks and societal values. Therefore, standardisation requires constant adaptation and coordination among different actors, such as industry, government, academia, civil society and international organisations.

There are several megatrends that are currently affecting the fire safety and security industries as well as the standardisation for these industries. The threat of trade wars constantly lurks and protectionism reigns supreme. Inflation has been high in recent years and the supply chains have been regularly disrupted. Moreover most sectors are experiencing labour shortages. Additionally, there is a growing focus on sustainability and an ever-increasing emphasis on digitisation.

Green and digital Europe

All these developments have led to a tsunami of new (European) regulations. Two important ‘drivers’ behind this are the Green Deal and the Digital Decade, reflecting the green and digital transition of Europe. Under the umbrella of these programs a wide variety of regulations is introduced having an impact on all aspects of our industries, ranging from products and project design to installation, operations and response and maintenance.  Examples of regulation under the Digital Decade with a high impact are the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, Data Act, the Delegated Act of the Radio Equipment Directive and the Cyber Resilience Act. An overview of the impact of the several regulatory acts is shown in the table below.


Examples of regulation under the Green Deal with a high impact are the regulation on Eco-design and the requirements for sustainable products (ESPR), the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) and the Battery Directive. An overview of the impact of the several ‘green’ regulatory acts is given in the table below.


Leadership in standardisation

Many of the regulations such as Cybersecurity, AI, Data Transparency, are so-called horizontal in nature, meaning that they cover a broad number of sectors. While these are not directly focussed on our industry, they are affecting it, and this is creating numerous challenges for our industry. The lack of knowledge on these subjects and the shortage of expertise to deal with these is apparent. Euralarm is supporting companies and national associations that want to meet those challenges thereby establishing leadership. That role is filled in a variety of ways. First, Euralarm initiates new standards through the bodies in which it is represented. For example, two service standards that were first issued by Euralarm as guidelines were later elevated to European standards. Today, EN 15763 specifies minimum requirements for service providers as well as the competencies, knowledge and skills of their involved staff charged while the EN 50710 defines the requirements for the provision of secure remote services for fire safety systems and security systems.

Secondly, Euralarm is leading the actualisation of existing standards to ensure they evolve with technological, social or economic developments. A good example is the overhaul of the requirements for intruder and hold-up alarms as defined in EN 50131-1. The outlines of this overhaul were drafted by Euralarm as a memo in 2020. Following that first draft Euralarm provided the relevant Technical Committee (CLC/TC 79/WG 1) with conceptual drawings for a future-proof and function-oriented standard. Euralarm was then actively involved in compiling the new text for the adapted standard.

Finally, Euralarm closely monitors the development of horizontal standards and acts where necessary to adjust the development. An example of this was given by Euralarm’s involvement in supporting Technical Committees that faced the impact of cybersecurity regulations. For example, Euralarm provided Guidance and explanatory documents to the CLC/TC 79 community to ensure that the different players in Security and Fire Safety understand their roles and responsibilities with regards to Cybersecurity. It also ensured that RED DA standards (prEN 18031 series) are in line with the requirements of alarm systems. The same goes for monitoring the activities in artificial intelligence (CNC/CLC/JTC21), intervening where necessary to ensure that developments in artificial intelligence don’t conflict with the requirements of security and fire safety systems and services.

Both standardisation and regulatory level

Euralarm's involvement is not only limited to standardisation level but also relates to regulation. With the Data Act, for instance, Euralarm played a significant role in limiting the mandatory sharing of data for security systems and avoiding conflicts with National Regulations on security. The same goes for the Digital Product Passport (DPP) where Euralarm is ensuring the compatibility between DPP requirements under other regulations, such as the Eco-design Directive for Sustainable Products (ESPR), CPR and Battery Regulation.

Prepare yourself

The tsunami of new regulations will affect the security industry in all European countries. Therefore, it is of vital importance to stay informed, either via national associations such as APSEI or Euralarm via webinars, guidance papers, articles and training courses.  For the individual companies it is of utmost importance that they ensure that their personnel are qualified to cope with these new types of regulations. For those looking for support, Euralarm will gladly provide leadership on the topic of standardisation.

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