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Interview
Q&A: François Coallier

April 28, 2021

Q&A: François Coallier

Canadian academic and leader in software and systems engineering standards development

 

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Interview
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François Coallier is a Professor at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), a leading Canadian engineering school affiliated with the Université du Québec network. He is the founding Chair of the Department of Software and IT Engineering at ÉTS. François has more than 35 years of experience in software and systems engineering standards development. Currently, he Chairs the Joint ISO and IEC subcommittee responsible for advancing standards for the Internet of Things (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 41), and serves as Vice-Chair of the Canadian JTC 1 mirror committee. François is also on SCC’s Governing Council.

Q.

What do the standards developed by subcommittee ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 41 Internet of Things and related technologies mean to everyday Canadians?

A.

The potential impact is enormous because the standards that are developed are used to support new markets. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) can be found in smart cars, precision agriculture, as well as electric grids and smart factories. Smart cities have a lot of sensors and the Internet of Things is the backbone of those systems. This technology can also be seen in smart health, including consumer items like FitBits. The standards which are used to support new markets also contribute to improving communication between people, teams and organizations.

Q.

How do you advance standardization within the academic world?

A.

Before starting in the academic world, I spent nearly 22 years working in the commercial sector and held various engineering and managerial roles in quality engineering, IT procurement, IT infrastructure deployment, and operation and Enterprise Architecture Management. The research done by academics can advance both standardization and the teaching world. As a professor, I incorporate standards in my teaching.

Q.

How does ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 41 ensure standards development is on pace with the rapid growth of Internet of Things and other related technologies?

A.

The subcommittee was established in 2016 and since then it created 14 exploratory Advisory and Ad Hoc Groups to explore new areas and the potential for new development.  These areas include Edge Computing, Real-Time IoT, Wearables, Reference Architecture and Vocabulary Harmonization, Societal and Human Factors in IoT -based Services, Integration of IoT and Blockchains, and Trustworthiness interoperability.

Q.

As a Canadian influencer in the standards world, what are you most proud of?

 

A.

I’m most proud of being the Chairman of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 7 Software and Systems Engineering for 20 years, from 1997 to 2017 and contributing to the enablement of the elaborations of a standardized body of knowledge in these areas through its extensive collection of published standards.

Q.

What’s your advice to young professionals who want to shape software and IT Engineering standards?

 

A.

Be interested in standards. It is an opportunity to meet different people and learn about various cultures. It is a good way to develop yourself professionally. It gives you a sense of fulfillment and contribution.

Participation in international technical committees, such as ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 41, allows experts to shape standards that impact them. Find more opportunities to get involved in standardization activities.

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