This post is also available in: العربية (Arabic)
What is a Standard Organization?
A standards organization is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpreting, or otherwise producing technical standards to address the needs of a group of affected adopters.
In simple words, it is an organization that works to create uniformity across producers, consumers, government agencies, and other relevant parties regarding terminology, product specifications (e.g. size, including units of measure), protocols, and more.
Its goals could include ensuring that Company A’s external hard drive works on Company B’s computer, your blood pressure measures the same with Company C’s sphygmomanometer as it does with Company D’s, or that all shirts that should not be ironed have the same icon (an iron crossed out with an X) on the label.
Most standards are voluntary in the sense that they are offered for adoption by people or industry without being mandated in law. Some standards become mandatory when they are adopted by regulators as legal requirements in particular domains, often for the purpose of safety or for consumer protection from deceitful practices.
There are thousands of standards organizations around the world, and they can standardize pretty much anything to make life easier, safer, and more productive. Often, these bodies have agreements to cooperate with each other. They may endorse each other’s standards, build upon them, or purposely avoid duplicating efforts. We are bringing you 10 standards organizations that guide the technology you use:
1. ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
The International Organization for Standardization is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.
Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and works in 165 countries.
It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The International Organization for Standardization is an independent, non-governmental organization, the members of which are the standards organizations of the 165 member countries. It is the world’s largest developer of voluntary internal standards and it facilitates world trade by providing common standards among nations.
Till date it has set more than twenty thousand standards, covering everything from manufactured products and technology to food safety, agriculture, and healthcare.
Use of the standards aids in the creation of products and services that are safe, reliable, and of good quality. The standards help businesses increase productivity while minimizing errors and waste. By enabling products from different markets to be directly compared, they facilitate companies in entering new markets and assist in the development of global trade on a fair basis.
The standards also serve to safeguard consumers and the end-users of products and services, ensuring that certified products conform to the minimum standards set internationally.
2. IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)
The International Electrotechnical Commission is an international standards organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as “electrotechnology”.
IEC standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, semiconductors, fibre optics, batteries, solar energy, nanotechnology, as well as many others.
The International Electrotechnical Commission held its inaugural meeting on 26 June 1906, following discussions among the British Institution of Electrical Engineers, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and others, which began at the 1900 Paris International Electrical Congress and Colonel R.E.B. Crompton played a key role. In 1906, Lord Kelvin was elected as the first President of the International Electrotechnical Commission.
The IEC was instrumental in developing and distributing standards for units of measurement, particularly the gauss, hertz, and weber. It also first proposed a system of standards, the Giorgi System, which ultimately became the SI of Systeme International d’unites (in English, the International System of Units).
3. ITU (International Telecommunication Union)
The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies. Established in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, it is one of the oldest international organizations in operation.
The ITU was initially aimed at helping connect telegraphic networks between countries, with its mandate consistently broadening with the advent of new communications technologies; it adopted its current name in 1934 to reflect its expanded responsibilities over the radio and the telephone.
On 15 November 1947, the ITU entered into an agreement with the newly created United Nations to become a specialized agency within the UN system, which formally entered into force on 1 January 1949.
The ITU promotes the shared global use of the radio spectrum, facilitates international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, assists in developing and coordinating worldwide technical standards, and works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world.
It is also active in the areas of broadband Internet, wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology, TV broadcasting, and next-generation networks. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the ITU’s global membership includes 193 countries and around 900 business, academic institutions, and international and regional organizations.
4. JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council)
The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association is an independent semiconductor engineering trade organization and standardization body headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, United States.
JEDEC has over 300 members, including some of the world’s largest computer companies. Its scope and past activities include standardization of part numbers, defining an electrostatic discharge (ESD) standard, and leadership in the lead-free manufacturing transition.
The origin of JEDEC traces back to 1944 when RMA (subsequently renamed EIA) and NEMA established the Joint Electron Tube Engineering Council (JETEC) to coordinate vacuum tube type numberings.
In 1958, with the advent of semiconductor technology, the joint JETEC-activity of EIA and NEMA was renamed into Joint Electron Device Engineering Council. NEMA discontinued its involvement in 1979. In the fall of 1999, JEDEC became a separate trade association under the current name, but maintained an EIA alliance, until EIA ceased operations in 2011.
The early work began as a part numbering system for devices which became popular in the 1960s. The first semiconductor devices, such as the 1N23 silicon point contact diode, were still designated in the old RMA tube designation system, where the “1” stood for “No filament/heater” and the “N” stood for “crystal rectifier”.
The first RMA digit thus was re-allocated from “heater power” to “p-n junction count” to form the new EIA/JEDEC EIA-370 standard; for example, the 1N4001 rectifier diode and 2N2222 transistor part numbers came from EIA-370. They are still popular today.
In February 1982, JEDEC issued JESD370B, superseding the original EIA-370 and introducing a new letter symbol “C” that denoted the die version, as opposed to “N”, now meaning the packaged version. The Japanese JIS semiconductor designation system employs a similar pattern. JEDEC later developed a numbering system for integrated circuits, but this did not gain acceptance in the semiconductor industry. The European Pro Electron semiconductor numbering system originated in a similar way from the older Mullard-Phillips tube designation.
5. ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide.
ANSI accredited standards that are developed by representatives of other standards organizations, government agencies, consumer groups, companies, and others. These standards ensure that the characteristics and performance of products are consistent, that people use the same definitions and terms, and that products are tested the same way. ANSI also accredits organizations that carry out product or personnel certification in accordance with requirements defined in international standards.
The organization’s headquarters are in Washington D.C. ANSI’s operations office is located in New York City. The ANSI annual operating budget is funded by the sale of publications, membership dues and fees, accreditation services, fee-based programs, and international standards programs.
6. ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society for computing. The ACM was founded in 1947 under the name Eastern Association for Computing Machinery, which was changed the following year to the Association for Computing Machinery. It is the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society. The ACM is a non-profit professional membership group, claiming nearly 100,000 student and professional members as of 2019. Its headquarters are in New York City.
The ACM is an umbrella organization for academic and scholarly interests in computer science (informatics). Its motto is “Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession”.
ACM is organized into over 171 local chapters and 37 Special Interest Groups (SIGs), through which it conducts most of its activities. Additionally, there are over 500 college and university chapters. The first student chapter was founded in 1961 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Many of the SIGs, such as SISGRAPH, SIGDA, SIGPLAN, SIGCSE and SIGCOMM, sponsor regular conferences, which have become famous as the dominant venue for presenting innovations in certain fields. The groups also publish a large number of specialized journals, magazines, and newsletters.
ACM also sponsors other computer science related events such as the worldwide ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), and has sponsored some other events such as the chess match between Garry Kasparov and the IBM Deep Blue computer.
7. NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a physical sciences laboratory and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. NIST’s activities are organized into laboratory programs that include nanoscale science and technology, engineering, information technology, neutron research, material measurement, and physical measurement. From 1901–1988, the agency was named the National Bureau of Standards.
NIST is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates a facility in Boulder, Colorado. NIST’s activities are organized into laboratory programs and extramural programs. Effective October 1, 2010, NIST was realigned by reducing the number of NIST laboratory units from ten to six. NIST Laboratories include:
- Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL)
- Engineering Laboratory (EL)
- Information Technology Laboratory (ITL)
- Center for Neutron Research (NCNR)
- Material Measurement Laboratory (MML)
- Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)
8. Ecma International
Ecma is a standards organization for information and communication systems. It acquired its current name in 1994, when the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) changed its name to reflect the organization’s global reach and activities. As a consequence, the name is no longer considered an acronym and no longer uses full capitalization.
The organization was founded in 1961 to standardize computer systems in Europe. Membership is open to large and small companies worldwide that produce, market, or develop computer or communication systems, and have interest and experience in the areas addressed by the group’s technical bodies. It is located in Geneva.
Ecma aims to develop standards and technical reports to facilitate and standardize the use of information communication technology and consumer electronics; encourage the correct use of standards by influencing the environment in which they are applied; and publish these standards and reports in electronic and printed form.
Ecma publications, including standards, can be freely copied by all interested parties without copyright restrictions. The development of standards and technical reports is done in cooperation with the appropriate national, European, and international organizations.
Unlike national standardization bodies, Ecma is a membership-based organization. It takes pride in the resulting “business-like” approach to standards, claimed to lead to better standards in less time, thanks to a less bureaucratic process focused on achieving results by consensus.
Ecma has actively contributed to worldwide standardization in information technology and telecommunications. More than 400 Ecma Standards and 100 Technical Reports have been published, more than 2⁄3 of which have also been adopted as international standards and/or technical reports.
Ecma International is responsible for several standards, including:
- ECMA-6 – 7-bit Coded Character Set (based on ASCII), also approved as ISO/IEC 646
- ECMA-35 – Character Code Structure and Extension Techniques, also approved as ISO/IEC 2022
- ECMA-48 – Control Functions for Coded Character Sets, also approved as ISO/IEC 6429
- ECMA-107 – FAT12/FAT16 file system
- ECMA-119 – CD-ROM volume and file structure (later known as ISO 9660)
- ECMA-130 – CD-ROM “Yellow Book” format
- ECMA-334 – C# Language Specification
- ECMA-335 – Common Language Infrastructure(CLI)
- ECMA-341 – Environmental design considerations for electronic products
- ECMA-363 – Universal 3D File Format
- ECMA-367 – Eiffel: Analysis, design and programming Language (See Eiffel programming language)
- ECMA-372 – C++/CLI Language Specification
- ECMA-376 – Office Open XML (later known as ISO/IEC 29500)
- ECMA-377 – Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) Recordable Cartridges
- ECMA-378 – Read-Only Memory Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD-ROM)
- ECMA-388 – Open XML Paper Specification
- ECMA-402 – ECMAScript Internationalization API Specification
- ECMA-404 – JSON
- ECMA-408 – Dart language specification
- ECMA-412 – Framework for distributed real-time Access systems
- ECMA-413 – Data Migration Method for BD Recordable and BD Rewritable Disks
- ECMA-414 – ECMAScript® Specification Suite
- ECMA-415 – NFC-SEC Test Methods
- ECMA-416 – Scalable Sparse Spatial Sound System (S5) – Base S5 Coding in Frequency Domain
- ECMA-417 – Architecture for a distributed real-time access system
9. CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization)
CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) is responsible for European standardization in the area of electrical engineering. Together with ETSI (telecommunications)and CEN (other technical areas), it forms the European system for technical standardization. Standards harmonized by these agencies are regularly adopted in many countries outside Europe which follow European technical standards. Although CENELEC works closely with the European Union, it is not an EU institution. Nevertheless, its standards are “EN” EU (and EEA) standards, thanks to EU Regulation 1025/2012.
CENELEC was founded in 1973. Before that two organizations were responsible for electrotechnical standardization: CENELCOM and CENEL. CENELEC is a non-profit organization under Belgian law, based in Brussels. The members are the national electrotechnical standardization bodies of most European countries.
10. JEITA (Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association)
The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (Formerly Minato Communications Association Co., Ltd., MCA) is a Japanese trade organization for the electronics and IT industries. It was formed in 2000 from two earlier organizations, the Electronic Industries Association of Japan and the Japan Electronic Industries Development Association.
In 1979, Minato Communications Association Co., Ltd. first appeared in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. In 2000, Minato Communications Association Co., Ltd. was Re-branded into Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association.
Image Credit: Badge vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com