The future of conformity assessment in a digitalized and adaptive world

The global TIC (Testing, Inspection, Certification) market is growing rapidly, while at the same time the Internet of Things also promises tremendous challenges for providers of security. We expect sweeping changes in this traditionally stable, conservative, and low-competition market. These changes will be so far-reaching that we are introducing a third dimension alongside safety and security: prevoidance. Thanks to digitalization,test objects, processes, and business models across the entire TIC sector are now facing new pressure, threats, and drivers from multiple industries.



Safety, security, and prevoidance


Within ten years’ time, hardly any everyday objects, infrastructure, or means of production will lie outside of a connected network which acts as a unit. As virtual dangers come to increasingly threaten physical systems, the long “isolated” field of IT security will massively meld and expand. Today’s approaches to testing and certification will reach the limits of their usefulness, particularly as smart algorithms progressively come to make autonomous decisions.


The emerging layer of digital assistant systems will also bring new threat dimensions that will seem hardly conceivable to most providers, but which will still require urgent solutions. In all probability, they will create a new dimension of security – prevoidance – which we define for the first time in our scientific trend study.




Security-by-design for digital products and test objects // Expansion of the competitive arena


Products and technical facilities will become digital, individualized, and adaptive. In the next few years, entirely new and primarily digital objects will also appear – such as digital assistants and artificial intelligence. As a consequence, the requirements placed on existing text objects will also become heftier, especially with the testing of persons. The essentially one-time event of testing, inspection, and certification will also change into a continuous, data-driven process.


The good news for providers of security: All products and facilities will require expanded safety examination ten years from now. Thus the demand for product certification will rise in parallel to the number of available devices and facilities – and thanks to interconnection, sometimes exponentially so.


The new challenge: As soon as all objects become connected to the internet,


  • *the security of the entire system,
  • *of other products, and
  • *the synergy effects of interconnection


will absolutely have to be considered. Artificial intelligence, along with the now-incomprehensible complexity of the systems involved, will require fundamentally new solutions and approaches for safety testing and inspection. With solutions involving software-based updates, traditional conformity assessment bodies will face a new level of competition thanks to attackers with extreme levels of digital competence.  


The other side of the coin: Alongside the oft-mentioned growing demand for security, new technologies will enable companies to compile a precise picture of their customers’ needs, emotions, and soon even thoughts. Customers themselves will expect individualized, scalable, and adaptive security level configuration: Security-by-design is the new ideal for safety and security, data protection, trust, combinability, integrability, interoperability, resilience, and automatic adjustment. Custom tailored security-by-design solutions will be a serious market in the future, emerging between industry, commerce, and the TIC industry on the one hand and the consumer on the other.


The production and testing processes of the future will invest the products themselves with a notable intelligence that extends even to independent, automated adjustment to user needs. This means: The TIC industry will no longer simply develop testing approaches for standard products and services (which are credited with a certain minimum shelf life on the condition of standard use by a standard user). TIC will instead increasingly orient itself to the security of a unique product or technical facility with lot size 1 – and for which systems, processes, and persons will nevertheless have to be accredited and certified …


Against this backdrop, massive challenges will appear for established CABs. Pressure is mounting for TIC providers to develop new solutions in order to defend their market position against new attackers – because manufacturers will be pushing for new answers to the questions of safety and security for their products, answers which the private IT sector will increasingly provide.




Trend study “Safety 2027” now available as a free download


Together with TIC leaders TÜV NORD and TÜV SÜD, trend researchers of the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank interviewed 16 experts from the areas of TIC, standardization, technology, R&D, and industry. On this foundation, the trend study “Safety 2027” illustrates key future scenarios for the coming era where certification is data-driven and continuous, where products are adaptive and connected, and where the door to the market is wide, wide open for outside players. We have presented a selection of significant forecasts and results from the study in this newsletter.


Detailed predictions about the processes and business models of the coming ten years, original citations from influential experts and decision makers, precisely formulated strategic recommendations for the Here and Now of the TIC industry: All of these are found in the future study “Safety 2027,” available as a free download: Safety 2027

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