October 14 is World Standards Day – a time to pay tribute to the thousands of experts (including many in our industry) who help develop the voluntary international standards that we all rely on.

Standards are the world's common language. All innovation is shaped and guided by standards, as ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) succinctly puts it. This includes the equipment and components manufactured by AEM members.

The impact of standards is all around us, from the mundane such as our cell phones to the technologies enabling space travel.

In fact, ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) has published more than 19,500 International Standards covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare.

Who creates standards?

Developed by groups of engineers and other experts, voluntary standards are the result of cooperation between technical professionals, companies, industry groups (like AEM), and government and consumer representatives.

They represent the combined expertise of those who have a stake in the technology, working to agree upon requirements and best practices.

What is ANSI?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a non-profit organization that coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards system and helps to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.

ANSI works to initiate standards-based solutions to national and global priorities, and serves as a neutral forum to promote partnerships between the private and public sectors.

ANSI is the U.S. member of ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) via the U.S. National Committee (USNC).

What is ISO?

ISO is an independent, non-governmental membership organization and the world's largest developer of voluntary international standards.

ISO comprises 162 member countries who are the national standards bodies around the world, with a central secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Next: What's the difference between a standard and a regulation?