In a nutshell, they are optimized model solutions developed by experts – also across sectors – for all kinds of products and services.
Let us take the example of Mr. Schöberl to illustrate this:
Mr. Schöberl lives in a world without standards. He manages a medium-sized supply company in the electronic industry and closely co-operates with several international corporations. Each of these corporations has its own proprietary systems that are not compatible.
Which consequences does this have?
Ms. Berger, a hairdresser, operates a hair salon and has to style her customers’ hair reliably every day. Being an experienced salespersons, Mr. Schöberl maintains regular contacts with his customers and thus gives Ms. Berger a modern, multifunctional hairdryer as a surprise birthday present. Ms. Berger is enthusiastic, wants to plug in the hairdryer and is flabbergasted: The plug does not fit into the socket. Mr. Schöberl had forgotten that the electrical fittings installed in this building had been made by another manufacturer.
Mr. Schöberl has the idea to initiate a modern standard for plugs and sockets. He asks one of his employees to prepare a proposal and submit a detailed project application to Austrian Standards International. Mr. Schöberl is pleased and takes a coffee break.
After the proposal’s submission, the plug manufacturer Siegelmüller reads the project proposed by Mr. Schöberl and comments on a few passages. He is so enthusiastic about the idea that he wants to take part in the development of the standard and calls the competent committee manager at Austrian Standards International.
Thus, the standardization process begins. The committee manager of Austrian Standards International sets up a committee made up of persons interested who develop a draft standard.
After some time, Mr. Schöberl reads precisely that draft standard while he sips a cup of tea. Delightedly, he calls Ms. Berger and tells her about the progress made. He asks her for her opinion and notes down modifications she proposes. The committee collects all comments, analyses them, incorporates them and finally agrees on the new standard.
Subsequently, renowned manufacturers start using the standard for their products and Ms. Berger is content that she can dry her customers’ hair also with the hairdryer she received as a gift as the standard explicitly allows for adapter solutions ensuring backward compatibility to existing systems.
Two years later, the committee meets to update the standard because new market requirements make its revision necessary.
Shared solutions for Austria and the world
What is new in Mr. Schöberl’s world is routine practice for us. Austrian Standards International makes it possible for numerous Austrian experts to input their innovative ideas in national and international standardization processes.
A standard = a recommendation
5 things you should know about standards
- Standards are a “common language”, they create important interfaces and make sure that different systems “understand” each other and interact reliably and efficiently.
- The application and development of standards raises the competitiveness of the economy. Access to new international markets is supported.
- The development of standards (standardization) is open to all. Everybody can take part. Experts from diverse fields network and develop cross-sectoral best-practice solutions.
- Standards are the basis of new ideas. You can build on them, and they are a constant driver of innovations.
- Standards are not legally binding – unless they are agreed in contracts or made binding by lawmakers.