We are always surrounded by standards which, in many cases, have become such a self-evident part of our everyday life that it seldom strikes us that they are based on a predetermined size or carefully calculated form. Many of these standards have had a major impact on society. Here are some examples that have been of considerable significance over the years.
The A4 format is an ISO standard that designates the form and size of sheets of paper, books and other printed matter.
In most cases, standard residential building measurement regulations are applied when calculating residential space in various official contexts, as when determining appropriate property tax, issuing construction permits, drafting rental agreements or buying/selling residential housing.
The screw thread and the standard established for it was initiated in the early 19th century by Joseph Witworth, who gathered the many different types of threaded screw manufactured at that time, to impose order on chaos. Nowadays, we take it for granted that screws and nuts are designed to fit each other.
The NCS (Natural Colour System®) simplifies life by ensuring that we are speaking the same language when talking about colour, vitally important to painters, architects and designers. The NCS Atlas standard contains colours based on the Natural Colour System®, which employs a system of codes to precisely describe each colour.
MPEG-4 is a compression standard for digital video and sound. One benefit is to ensure that video and sound can be compressed without a noticeable loss of quality.
The ISOFIX (International Standards Organisation FIX) standard means that we avoid the problems associated with the use of loose and adult seat belts when installing a baby/child car safety seat. The ISOFIX standard improves compatibility between safety seat and car, by adopting a clearly defined technical interface.
GSM is a mobile telephony standard originally developed for the European market in the 1980s, derived from a Nordic initiative. Prior to GSM, different countries employed different standards. By July 2007, there were 2.4 billion GSM users in 215 countries. No less than 82 percent of the world’s mobile phone users communicate via GSM.
The now ubiquitous container was invented in 1956 to avoid the warehousing requirement for goods that were to be shipped. This resulted in a completely new transport environment, featuring standardized loading pallets, trucks, trains and completely new port handling systems for freight. It has proved to be a 40-times more efficient way to transport and store goods.