The world market place is changing dramatically and rapidly, and dependability objectives have
become more generally understood and now more important for successful cooperation between
End-user demand for dependability and quality of service has been, and is still, increasing because
customers have higher expectations concerning the dependability of products and they now include
dependability criteria in the choice of a service or product.
- TC 56 uses the best practice developed in different industries as a major input to achieve
standards that are generic and not market specific.
- TC 56 standards and their concepts may also be applicable to non-industrial areas.
- TC 56 standards are influenced by the emerging environmental standards and legislation, ensuring
that dependability does not contravene the requirements.
There are difficulties in obtaining a sufficient number of active experts for some of the project teams
due to the worldwide economic climate. Increased support for the project teams that have limited
life, i.e. the production of one standard only, would be welcomed.
A major key to the achievement of dependability is the need to ensure that all concerned in the
design, development and use of products and services have a common understanding of the terms
and definitions of dependability. This is increasingly important as businesses are increasingly using
more subcontractors to produce items within a system. Similarly the methodology for achieving
dependable products and services needs to be consistent across industry and industries hence
TC 56 produces:
- Generic dependability standards developed for ease of integration into one overall management system
- A limited but crucial set of business oriented dependability standards (IEC 60300 series) to help
emerging business/industry sectors establish a common dependability culture
- Non-prescriptive guidelines, Technical Reports, Technical Specifications and Publicly Available
Specifications to support dependability programmes
- A fundamental set of dependability principles, terms and definitions that can be easily
understood and adapted for industry specific applications
These publications encourage the use of a common dependability terminology through IEC 60050-191.
Customers of published and future standards
Customers are those involved directly or indirectly in industry sectors, such as electronics, telecommunications, energy and electrical utilities, transportation, automotive, aerospace,
chemical, medical devices, government agencies, educational institutions, customer support, which
are concerned with dependability performance in their respective objectives, products and services.
The standards produced by TC 56 are applicable across both large and small companies, which
deal with items ranging from components to systems. All future standards will take into account
legal, environmental and safety requirements although TC 56 standards do not directly cover these
aspects. (Where applicable, TC 56 standards refer to appropriate environmental and safety
standards produced by other IEC/ISO committees.)
TC 56 standards are horizontal standards, which should be referenced by both ISO and IEC
Technical Committees, where appropriate. The committee, therefore, recognizes other ISO and
IEC TCs as its customers and it is continually looking for more effective ways of making other
committees aware of its publications.
All of the business areas listed above are actively represented on TC 56. Further representation
from other business sectors and from small and medium enterprises is encouraged. There have
been difficulties in obtaining sufficient active experts for some of the Project Teams. Financial
support would foster increased participation by experts.
The work load of TC 56 is being carried out effectively, but additional representation from existing P and O members would be welcomed as would membership of TC 56 by other IEC TechnicalCommittee members, particularly those with whom TC 56 has liaison. New and emerging technology-based organizations are also needed.
Use of TC 56 standards at regional/national level
TC 56 projects are parallel voted in Europe, unless CENELEC/SR 56 makes a recommendation to
the contrary. TC 56 standards are generally recognized throughout the world by industries and the
dependability community and have been implemented as national standards in many countries.
Some standards that are specific to a narrow spectrum may not be so widely applied and TC 56 is
continually reassessing its work programme to ensure that it meets the changing needs of industry.
There is no competing set of dependability standards but there are organizations, such as IEEE,
developing similar dependability standards for specific industry applications. TC 56 is aiming to
minimize the proliferation of standards and duplication of effort through activities, such as
collaboration with IEC/TC 107 and cross-committee membership with organizations such as IEEE
and ASQ. TC 56 also tries to work closely with CEN/TC 319, Maintenance, with the same purpose.
Product committees are responsible for establishing and maintaining the closest possible links with
relevant TCs performing a horizontal function, such as TC 56, when preparing or revising their own
product publications and when such TCs are preparing or revising relevant basic publications.
Maintenance and development of standards
The committee's maintenance programme takes into account the anticipated future needs of
industry to ensure that TC 56 standards meet these needs. The Maintenance Teams are
encouraged to make use of the confirmation and withdrawal options in the current MCR form to
save capacity for essential work.
The committee has been reassessing its document structure in order to facilitate use and to cover current and future market needs. As a result, TC 56 standards have been divided into three
- Core standard
Standard providing overview on dependability fundamentals, objectives or management
- Process standard
Standard giving guidance on a particular dependability issue related to an aspect of
management or to a life cycle phase
- Support standard
Standard giving technical information of general relevance in various dependability issues
Within these categories, the standards are further grouped according to their content. In addition,
information is given on the phase or phases of the life cycle during which the standard can be
Trends in technology and trade
There is increased demand for dependable, safe and environmentally friendly products and
Time to market is critical and so there is extensive use and adaptation of commercial off-the-shelf
(COTS) products to enable rapid design and system integration. Both these requirements are
impacting upon TC 56 standards.
TC 56 is monitoring and reacting to the rapid technology evolution and innovation by developing broader-based process-orientated standards, in addition to tool standards.
Business is recognizing the benefit of the integration of dependability into the overall management system.
TC 56 has established guidelines for dependability management including aspects of risk management.
Dependable products contribute significantly towards protecting the environment.
TC 56 standards address environmental issues where applicable, and TC 56 monitors projects in order to include ways in which they can contribute positively to the environment.