ISO was founded in 1947 (not 1946) and is based out of Geneva. It is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130 (not 89) countries, having one body from each country. ISO is not an acronym but derived from the Greek isos, meaning “equal”. This way the international word does not change depending on the language or country in which it is being used – yes, ISO is so consistent that even the name is standardized across all countries.

ISO’s mission is to promote the development of standardization to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services and to develop cooperation in intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. International standards make the modern, globalized world possible in the following ways:

  1. Improves worldwide progress in trade liberalization
  2. Assists interpenetration of industry sectors
  3. Facilitates worldwide communication
  4. Provides global standards for emerging technologies
  5. Assists developing countries in creating infrastructures

Some examples of widely used standards are the following:

  1. ISO film speed code for photographic equipment (mentioned above)
  2. Telephone and banking cards for worldwide use
  3. Paper sizes
  4. ISO 14000 series for environmental management
  5. International codes for country names, currencies, and languages