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Standardization is the process of establishing a standard among competing entitites in a market, where this will bring benefits without hurting competition. As an example, all of Europe now uses 230 volt 50 Hz AC mains grids, GSM cell phones, and measure lengths in metres. Standards can be de-facto, which means they are followed for convenience, or de-jure, which means they are used because of (more or less) legally binding contracts and documents. Government agencies often have to follow standards issued by official standardization organizations. Following such standards can also be a prerequisite for doing business on certain markets, with certain companies, or within certain consortia.

Important standardization bodies are:

  • ANSI - American National Standards Institute
  • DIN - Deutsches Institut für Normung (Germany)
  • ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute
  • IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission
  • IEEE - Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers
  • IETF - Internet Engineering Task Force
  • ISO - International Organization for Standardization
  • ITU-R, ITU-T - The International Telecommunication Union
  • SIS - Standardiseringskommissionen i Sverige (Sweden)
  • NIST - National Institute for Standards and Technology
  • W3C - World Wide Web Consortium