ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ISO Conference Highlights Standards’ Impact on Innovation and Everyday Life

By Sandrine Tranchard; originally published by ISO


While the role of innovation in boosting economic growth, creating jobs, and addressing societal challenges is well known, the role standards play in supporting this innovation is less well understood. An International Organization for Standardization (ISO) conference held at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on November 13-14, 2014, demonstrated how standardization and innovation are linked, the potential they offer to the world, and how they both play a key role in our daily lives.

The two-day event was a hub of ideas and innovation, and brought together experts and academics from a range of subject areas to discuss how standardization and innovation are inexplicably linked, and the potential they offer to the world. Two examples follow:

How Media Technology Came into Your Home
When video arrived on the market, it had different standards, and the consequence was a lack of interoperability. The solution to that was standards for encoding audio-visual information (e.g. movies, video, music) in a digital compressed format. Compression was the answer to making more and more information available to the public, and standardization was the key for making this possible on a larger scale. This is how the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) started to develop audio and video digital compression standards such as MP3, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4.

In the above presentation, Leonardo Chiariglione, chairman and co-founder of the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), explains what happened to audio and video before it came to your TV and mobile phone screens.

From Soap and Water to Alcohol-Based Gels in Hospitals
Professor Didier Pittet, director, infection control program, at the University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, demonstrated how, by reproducing the same hygiene process in many hospitals, the number of infections in patients has been greatly reduced. The traditional hand-washing with soap and water was replaced by a process involving an alcohol-based hand rub, and thanks to this, hygiene in hospitals has increased significantly.

At right, Professor Pittet tells us how hygiene has reduced the rate of infection among patients.

To find out more about standards and innovation, watch the entire webcast of the event and all presentations on the event resources page.