Standards-Developing Organizations

As previously noted, there are more than 400 standards developers in the U.S. private sector. Most of these belong to one of three main categories: industry associations, professional societies, and standards-developing membership organizations. In addition, consortia are playing an increasingly important standards development role, particularly in industries characterized by rapid advance of technology. Testing and certification organizations, such as Underwriters Laboratories, NSF International, and the American Gas Association, are discussed in Chapter 3. They represent a specialized category of organization responsible both for developing standards in certain sectors—typically related to health and safety—and for providing associated testing and certification services.39

Professional Societies Professional societies are individual membership organizations that support the practice and advancement of a particular profession. Several such societies, particularly in the engineering disciplines, develop technical standards. The goal of these SDOs is generally to find the best technical solution to meet an identified need. Participants in standards committees serve as individual professionals, not as representatives of the firm they work for. If more than one employee of a single firm serves in a committee, each still has a full vote in committee deliberations. Marketing considerations, however—such as securing commercial advantage for participants' firms—are in many cases secondary to technical factors in committee deliberations.40 Funding for these SDOs is principally from publication and sales of standards, as well as direct services to industry.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards. IEEE Standards is a division of IEEE, Inc., an engineering professional society, founding member of ANSI, and ANSI-accredited standards-developing organization. The IEEE has a membership of more than 300,000 engineering professionals worldwide. IEEE Standards publishes more than 600 standards. Its area of expertise is electrotechnology, which ranges from electrical circuitry to artificial intelligence to aerospace. A Standards Board composed of voluntary industry and government representatives and 10 committees review requests from technical groups to initiate standards projects. After a consensus process, standards are approved by the Board and published as IEEE standards. IEEE participates in the United States National Committee (USNC) of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the ISO and IEC Joint Technical Committee on Information Technology (JTC1).41

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