Examples of the benefits standards provide

Standardization of screw threads helps to keep chairs, children's bicycles and aircraft together and solves the repair and maintenance problems caused by a lack of standardization that were once a major headache for manufacturers and product users.

Standards establishing an international consensus on terminology make technology transfer easier and safer. They are an important stage in the advancement of new technologies and dissemination of innovation.

Without the standardized dimensions of freight containers, international trade would be slower and more expensive.

Without the standardization of telephone and banking cards, life would be more complicated.

A lack of standardization may even affect the quality of life itself: for the disabled, for example, when they are barred access to consumer products, public transport and buildings because the dimensions of wheel-chairs and entrances are not standardized.

Standardized symbols provide danger warnings and information across linguistic frontiers.

Consensus on grades of various materials gives a common reference for suppliers and clients in business dealings.

Agreement on a sufficient number of variations of a product to meet most current applications allows economies of scale with cost benefits for both producers and consumers. An example is the standardization of paper sizes.

Standardization of performance or safety requirements of diverse equipment makes sure that users' needs are met while allowing individual manufacturers the freedom to design their own solution on how to meet those needs.

Standardized computer protocols allow products from different vendors to "talk" to each other.

Standardized documents speed up the transit of goods, or identify sensitive or dangerous cargoes that may be handled by people speaking different languages.

Standardization of connections and interfaces of all types ensures the compatibility of equipment of diverse origins and the interoperability of different technologies.

Agreement on test methods allows meaningful comparisons of products, or plays an important part in controlling pollution - whether by noise, vibration or emissions.

Safety standards for machinery protect people at work, at play, at sea... and at the dentist's.

Without the international agreement contained in ISO standards on metric quantities and units, shopping and trade would be haphazard, science would be unscientific and technological development would be handicapped.

For more examples of the many areas of life and work where ISO standards provide technical, economic and social benefits, visit The ISO Café.

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