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A Look Back at 2020 News: Stepping Stones to a Brighter Future Together


Despite many challenges in 2020, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) looks back at some of the highlights in international and domestic news that capture how progress in standardization and ANSI affiliate efforts are positioning the U.S. for a brighter future. From additive manufacturing to workforce credentials, below is a sampling of over 400 headlines that we have published in 2020:

ANSI Members Take Action during the Pandemic

As businesses and employees grappled with the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic, ANSI launched its COVID-19 resource page in March to keep the public informed about important information related to the public health emergency - and to highlight activities of the U.S. standardization community in the fight against the pandemic.

Since the launch, ANSI has covered more than 100 news items on pandemic efforts, from training to efforts in PPE production, travel news, and trial vaccinations. Access the latest COVID news:

Also in March, ANSI launched a portal for read-only access to key IEC and ISO standards critical to COVID response efforts. Throughout the pandemic, manufacturers, government agencies, national laboratories, research institutions, and universities accessed and used these standards. Find out how to access the portal.

Standards Support Worldwide Sustainability Efforts

ANSI covered how several standards help support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which aims to achieve sanitation for all by 2030. One such standard, ISO 31800, can help to improve human living conditions, reduce air and water pollution, and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases for a more sustainable future.

To further support sustainability efforts, ANSI is partnering with organizations worldwide to support the implementation and adoption of two international non-sewered sanitation standards worldwide. ISO 30500 and ISO 24521 can enable nations to promote sustainable community development and ultimately spur economic growth.

If you don't have time to catch up on reading, catch the ANSI video that explains sanitation standards in just two minutes.

Advancing Technology Solutions for the Future

ANSI’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC) published the Standardization Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Version 2.0) in June 2020. The roadmap was a collaborative effort of 400 individuals from 250 cross-sector organizations. The release of the updated roadmap represents the culmination of the UASSC's work to date to identify existing standards and standards in development, assess gaps, and make recommendations for priority areas where there is a perceived need for additional standardization including pre-standardization research and development (R&D). 

2020 also marked the first trip to the International Space Station from American soil in 9 years, and a new era of human space travel began as private company SpaceX launched astronauts into orbit in May. To explore standardization and the commercial space industry, ANSI convened a widely-attended virtual meeting in December focused on space situational and domain awareness, space traffic coordination and management, and orbital debris mitigation. Subject matter experts representing government, industry, non-governmental organizations, and academia shared their perspectives on policy instruments, industry standards, best practices, and areas of need. More information, including a recording and slide presentations are available.

As Artificial Intelligence – or AI – makes its way into more and more aspects of our lives, it is also finding growing applications in the health care industry. Over the next 10 years, AI is expected to play an even bigger role in predictive care, networked hospitals, and improved efficiencies. That’s why ANSI convened a virtual workshop in September to explore opportunities to advance AI-enabled systems in health care. Panelists and participants discussed standardization needs surrounding data, transparency and explainability, and governance and risk management. A workshop in 2021 is now being planned to examine safety, quality, responsibility, and risk.

In mid-2020, ANSI announced that it is partnering with members and leveraging their collective interests to shape the strategy called for in the 2020 Secure 5G and Beyond Act—advanced by the President of the United States—and its related implementation plan, advocating for actions that foster greater interagency coordination and enhanced standards-related partnerships between the private and public sectors.

And in December, ANSI announced its participation in an America Makes mini technical review and exchange (TRX) on additive manufacturing. The event featured an overview of the America Makes and ANSI Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative (AMSC) and a moderated discussion of trends and activity responsive to the recommendations contained in the AMSC’s Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing (Version 2.0, June 2018). America Makes has made a recording of the event available.

Workcred Shines a Light on a New Era of Possibilities in Certifications

ANSI’s affiliate Workcred recently announced the publication of “Understanding Certifications” part of a collaborative project with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) and George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP). The guide is just the latest of Workcred's efforts to help the public understand various types of credentials - including certifications, certificates, and licenses.

To get a better idea of what it all means, access the 2020 Workcred video, "Differing Types of Workplace Credentials," in which executive director Roy Swift, Ph.D., gives the scoop on credentials.

ANAB: Boosting Quality, Trust, and Confidence

In just two of its latest recognitions, the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), a wholly owned subsidiary of ANSI, was recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an accreditation body for the Accreditation Scheme for Conformity Assessment (ASCA) Pilot, enabling ANAB to accredit testing laboratories to perform premarket testing for medical device companies. And in September, ANAB was approved by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship as a Standards Recognition Entity. With the recognition, ANAB will now evaluate and recognize industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs) pursuant to the Department of Labor’s standards.

Lessons for the Next Generation: Strategic Standardization

Among the top priorities for ANSI is engaging and preparing the next generation of standards professionals so that they can be better prepared for successful careers. The next generation of professionals who understand the strategic importance of standardization are an asset to industry, government, and U.S. competitiveness at large.

ANSI regularly encourages the students to engage in standardization input, with opportunities to participate including the ANSI Student Paper Competition. The 2021 theme covers The Use of Standards in the Global Fight against COVID-19.  Also check out more in the USNC Current, which focuses on the next generation of professionals in the electrotechnical industry, and need-to-know information on how to get involved in standards development.

These achievements are just a sampling of ANSI's 400+ news stories in 2020. Visit the new, mobile-friendly, launched in 2020 to simplify and modernize the Institute's website design, search function, and content. And, read about our latest news updates, including how ANSI supports Advancing Global Trade and Development through Partnerships, ANAB's response to COVID-19, and more in ANSI's 2019-2020 Annual Report.

"As always, the success of all collaborative activities relies on robust participation – of our members, governance leaders, partners, volunteers, experts, and stakeholders – so, I encourage your active involvement in the many activities on the horizon," said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO.

ANSI staff wishes its members, stakeholders, and greater standardization community a happy and healthy new year!

If you have news to share with ANSI to consider for publication in 2021, please email the ANSI communications team at [email protected].


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]