Wirtschaft digital Baden-Württemberg

Standards

One common language for digitalisation

We encounter standards each and every day, often without being really aware of this. Without standards, we would often be unable to use things in the customary manner. Standards already have a role to play for paper, for instance, which is produced for use in customary printers, or for nuts that come with matching bolts. In the construction industry, a host of standards ensures that access is barrier-free, that roofs are tight and that stairs are safe. Standards are therefore everywhere and offer consumers safety and reliability.

Standards are adopted in a defined procedure, they are generally valid, and they serve to regulate a certain situation. A standard must be technically mature and offer users a benefit. However, standards do not necessarily have the effect of a law.

A standard is often used as a general term for technical standards which are widely accepted or standardisations that have been tacitly agreed to. An informal standard is a process which has not undergone a formal standardisation process, but which was found to be useful and correct. Both manufacturer-specific and open standards exist. The latter are more commonly used. They include, for instance, the USB and micro-USB plug, the DVD or even the text-based HTML language.

Standards influence markets

Standards are a common language that provide an accepted solution for the protection of health, environment and safety/security. Standards strengthen trust between customers and suppliers because they warrant compatibility and quality. At international level, they make it easier to perform trade agreements.

In order to remain competitive, companies must continuously revise and update their products and services. Standardisation can help to sustainably anchor innovation on the market because interfaces and standardised measuring methods are defined. This is because companies can take an active part in the standardisation process and thereby exert considerable influence on the standards to be used in future. Since standardisation is a process that takes place in an expert body, companies benefit from early exchange with experienced members and therefore have the possibility to learn from their expertise and to possibly adapt their product even before its market launch.

Since the technical sector is developing continuously, standards must do the same. This is why new standardisation methods are always needed, for instance, to draft reliable standards for smart home products or electric mobility. Testing, quality and safety standards are particularly important in this area because they ensure transparency. Companies that develop many new business models should therefore make use of standardisation as a strategic tool to ensure the marketability of their innovation.