The Importance of Standardization – Benefit and Advantages

Standards are extremely useful – that applies nationally, in Europe and internationally. Standards are of major significance for consumers and users as well as for commerce, science and the government as they ensure innovative technologies and increased safety for the public.

Importance of standardization in general

Our world is changing rapidly and we want to benefit from progress and safety in any situation, whether at work or during our free time. We achieve this by developing and applying national, European and international regulations, which are very important for the public as they provide orientation, safety and clarity: Standards and specifications.

With its standardization work, DKE is dedicated to electrotechnical standardization in Germany. Our objective is to safely and quickly integrate innovative electrotechnical products and new technologies like electric cars and intelligent household technology into our daily lives. The fundamental structures or standards and specifications are beneficial here because they significantly simplify the integration and distribution of new, innovations.


DKE Deutsche Kommission Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik in DIN und VDE

Basic principle of standards and specifications

Standards and specifications represent knowledge in the form of regulations and guidelines that are documented in writing and can be easily distributed in both printed and digital formats. Since they are also accessible to everyone, they help people throughout the world understand each other better so they can react faster and act accordingly. Whether in the private or industrial sector: In nearly every area of life, there is generally at least one standard that plays an important role.

Significance of standards for the economy

Standards are accessible to everyone and are therefore the ideal tool to help increase the use of new technologies and products and thus stimulate the economy.


Importance of standards by segment

Benefits for the economy and society

Standards have become an integral part of our daily lives; and not just in society, where guidelines and regulations are intended to prevent misunderstandings and ensure fairness and safety. Such regulations are also highly significant in commerce with respect to operating processes, products and services, so that commercial trade can function smoothly, safely and efficiently.

By its very nature, a standard is capable of implementing fair trade, understanding and smooth-running processes as well as achieving more productivity and cost efficiency. Products, services and economic processes are structured and optimized so they can mesh seamlessly, be quickly developed and made available to the market. These benefits are extended by another significant factor, namely standards and specifications apply and are accepted across national borders, allowing for barrier-free global trade which promotes economic growth.

We frequently profit from the benefits of standardization without even knowing it. It impacts economic growth of many countries more than patents and licenses. In Germany, for instance, with a value of approximately 17 billion euros per year, standards provide a powerful business and economic support which again highlights their importance.

Benefits for market participants

By taking a closer look at the significance of standardization for the economy, the many benefits for each and every market participant become clear.

Significance of standardization for market participants - picture

In addition to their application, the development of standards and specifications offers each and every market participant exclusive benefits.


Perception of the importance of standards on all levels

DIN and DKE: Standards are created on the national level

On June 5, 1975, the then Federal Government concluded the “Standardization Agreement” with DIN. This recognized DIN as the competent standardization organization for the Federal Republic of Germany, an historic event of major importance in the history of standardization.

As the “national standardization organization”, DIN represents German interests in non-governmental international standardization organizations like ISO and CEN. In a subordinate exchange of correspondence regarding the standardization agreement, it was determined that DKE would assume these duties in the electrotechnology and information technology sectors as the German member of the IEC and CENFLEC.

International standardization organizations

International standardization organizations


DKE’s task is to represent the interests of the electrotechnology, electronics and information technology segments in the field of international and European electrotechnical standardization work. As a result, it is responsible for the standardization work done in the relevant international and European organizations (especially the IEC, CENELEC and ETSI). This task also includes activities and publications in advance of the standardization work (standardization) in the commission’s scope of responsibility.

The results of DKE’s electrotechnical standardization work is documented in the DIN standards which are incorporated into the German body of standards as German standards and, if they contain safety-related specifications, are also incorporated into the VDE body of requirements as VDE regulations.

Until the foundation of DKE in 1970, the electrotechnical standardization work was still performed, on the one hand, in the technical standards committee for electrotechnology (FNE) in the German standards committee (now: DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V.). On the other hand, the regulatory work was done in the technical committee and at the German Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker ((VDE) Association of German Electrical Engineers) (now: VDE - Verband der Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik e.V. (German Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies).

CEN and CENELEC: Standards created on the European level

CENELEC, in which DKE represents Germany, develops the European standards and specifications in the field of electrical, electronics and information technologies; CEN is responsible for all other standardization fields.

As international non-profit, technical scientific associations based in Brussels, CEN and CENELAC have had common rules for standardization work since 1986 and have been supported by a common business unit, the CEN-CENELEC Management Center (CCMC) since 2009.

ETSI is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. The organization was founded in 1988 and is seated in Sophia Antipolis near Nice.

The distribution of tasks between CEN and CENEFLEC is the same as that between ISO and the IEC. As expected, DIN (or DKE) plays an important role in European standardization work.

Harmonization documents are a special feature of the European standardization work done by CENELEC. They are often created by adopting international standards, but do not require a verbatim or full form adoption. The European standardization work is therefore of great importance with respect to distributing international standards because, as part of the harmonization of standards, they make it possible to introduce international standards on the national level as well. As a result, the global uniformity of standards and specifications is promoted which is a significant advantage for international trade.

ISO and the IEC: Standards created on the international level

The international standardization organizations ISO, the IEC and the European CEN and CENELEC each only have one representative from each country that represents all of that country’s standardization interests. In ETSI, on the other hand, interested industrial companies, service providers and communications technology users are themselves members. National standardization organizations have concluded contracts with ETSI as the National Standardization Organization (NSO).

The ISO and the IEC’s primary objective is to create international standards, while CEN and CENELEC develop European standards and harmonization documents. Topics of general interest that are not suitable for a standard or have not found enough support to be issued as a standard can be published in specifications (technical specification or IEC-PAS (Publicly Available Specification) and technical reports.

The international standards from ISO and the IEC are non-binding recommendations like DIN standards. They can, however, be made binding by means of reference in legislation or they can become the basis of mutual obligations of the contracting parties by being stipulated in individual contracts.

Relevant statements, assessments and other information about the benefits of the IEC’s work can be found at Your perspective on the IEC website.

Importance of international standardization

The electrotechnical standardization on the international level is also vital as it allows for the creation of a uniform global body of standards. It defines a state-of-the-art that is recognized worldwide.

Share of international standards - diagram

Share of standards based on international standards (IEC)

| sinuswelle - Fotolia | DKE

Share of international electrotechnical standards in Germany

The high degree of relevance of the international standardization work is demonstrated by the fact that more than 80% of all published electrotechnical standards in Germany are of international origin.

Thanks to the competent representation of German interests, we, the DKE, enjoy an excellent reputation as a German body in the IEC and CENELEC To promote and support the internationally-aligned standardization work in the best possible way and highlight its importance, our committees and their technical experts work closely with the standardization organizations IEC, CENELEC and ETSI. Currently, a total of 9,000 experts accompany these organizations’ standardization work on behalf of DKE.

DKE experts in CENELEC and IEC - picture

DKE experts represent leading positions in CENELEC and IEC


Cooperation on the international level

Of the around 9,000 experts who currently cooperate with CENELEC, IEC and ETSI, around 1,250 experts are active in the IEC and 550 in CENELEC. Several of them hold important positions. We thus provide a leading number of chairpersons and secretaries within these organizations.

  • 25% of all sitting IEC chairpersons and 19% of all secretaries are from DKE.
  • The share of CENELEC chairpersons from DKE is even as high as 28%. Around 36% of the experts fill the role of a secretary.
  • Secretly, the German experts are a welcome and vital part of the international and European standardization community. They actively support and shape the standardization work.