By OCF Staff and Betty Zhao, Standard Operation Manager, Haier U+
This is the first in a series of blogs highlighting women making notable contributions in IoT through OCF.
Serving on the Open Connectivity Foundation’s (OCF) Board of Directors as an alternate and Standard Operation Manager for Haier U+, Betty Zhao has made and continues to provide great contributions to the IoT industry. At Haier U+, a smart home ecosystem solutions provider, Betty is responsible for the company’s participation and involvement in IoT standards, helping to facilitate both the operation and promotion of the standards that Haier U+ employs. It is clear that Betty’s work at Haier makes a global impact, as the company has grown to 21 industrial parks and 24 overseas plants.
As an integral figure in IoT, Betty shared her personal experience as a woman in the industry, her work within the OCF and her predictions for 2020:
- Tell us about your current role within OCF and how you became involved?
As an OCF member company, Haier U+ appointed me as the Alternative Director on OCF Board, due to my day-to-day experience in standards work. I was excited to join the OCF Board, as I was curious about how a Board within a standards organization would operate. The OCF Board helps to approve and move forward all the goals, initiatives and planning within the organization. I am happy to be a part of these decision-making processes and work with other experts in the field to make an impact on the future of the IoT.
As a Board member, I began watching the evolution of OCF technology and saw the success of the OCF Korea Regional Forum. I wanted to see that same success in the China region. As a result, I helped establish the OCF China Forum with CEI Deputy Chief Engineer Kong Ruixun in February 2019, and became the official coordinator between the broader OCF organization and the China Forum. The goal of the OCF China Forum is to promote OCF’s mature technology standards and open source applications within China, encouraging OCF technology implementation and certified products.
In addition to acting as the communications liaison between the OCF and the OCF China Forum, I also run the OCF WeChat account, because I believe that more communication across different platforms and languages can make a difference in promoting standards as the key to advancing the IoT.
- Have you recently worked on any exciting OCF projects?
Haier was one of the seven participating OCF member companies at the recent OCF IoT Breakthrough Event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seeing Haier products implement the OCF 2.1 specification and interoperating with products from other manufacturers was exciting. I was happy to see the smart home demonstrations’ success, as they proved that OCF technology “just works” and showed great cooperation among a number of dedicated people from different companies. I am looking forward to seeing OCF commercial products released in this upcoming year.
- What are your predictions for the IoT Industry in 2020? What are your motivations for being involved with OCF?
I predict the IoT industry will still be very fragmented in 2020 – major players will continue to promote their own solutions and standards, however, in the long run these proprietary ecosystems will become interoperable and I predict one or more standards will eventually unify the communication among devices. Being involved in the OCF is meaningful to me, as it is a leading IoT standards organization and achieving interoperability in the global IoT industry is a benefit to everyone.
- The science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry and technology roles are said to be dominated by men, comprised of 28% women as opposed to 72% men. Do you have any advice for young women looking to join the STEM industry?
My gender was not a factor I considered when joining the IoT industry. Through my experience, I’ve seen that professional knowledge and attitude are always valued higher than other things. If there’s a young woman interested in STEM or any other area, I would advise them to pursue it, regardless of their gender.
There are many roles available to fit the expertise of anyone looking to begin a STEM career. In tech, this of course includes coding and testing, as well as product design, marketing, customer relations and more. STEM is really an exciting field to be a part of as it is constantly evolving and expanding.
OCF would like to thank Betty Zhao for her past efforts and continued work as an OCF Alternative Board Director and OCF China Forum Coordinator. If you’d like to learn more about the OCF China Forum and how to get involved, we encourage you to visit the OCF China Forum webpage.