Issue 32 – October 2011
World Standards Day is celebrated each year on 14 October to pay tribute to the efforts of the thousands of experts worldwide who collaborate with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and ITU (the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs) to develop Standards. These Standards facilitate trade, spread knowledge, and share technological advances.
The theme for this year's World Standards Day on 14 October 2011 is 'International Standards – creating confidence globally'. In an era of economic globalisation, the rapid development of information and communication technologies, increases in personal mobility, and in feelings of uncertainty, and the challenge of facing diverse kinds of risk, international Standards are necessary to create confidence on a global scale.
The Standards-making process itself creates confidence for consumers. International Standards development is based on the involvement of many experts (businesses, government, consumers, associations, national government organisations, and so on) from all over the world.
Standards provide benchmarks that national and regional regulations fail to provide, due to a lack of harmonisation or availability of such regulations. They also provide measurement tools (through metrology) and ensure comparability of results through common analytical methods.
International Standards facilitate systems interoperability and compatibility. For example, the A4 format enables the development of printers, photocopiers, and other digitisers that can be used by everyone, creating global marketing opportunities.
International Standards can promote the transfer of new technologies by enabling market access for innovative solutions and providing confidence to users.
Finally, Standards development work is no longer confined to products, but also addresses societal concerns such as the environment, services, accessibility, and social responsibility. Confidence in Standards relies not just on the valuable guidance they provide, but also on their capacity to address sensitive issues for society and to anticipate future challenges for the generations to come.