Standards gives the assurance of quality and reliability (safety) as well as enables business sustainability through interoperability. Some standards are government-mandated, and others are voluntary. They will also vary by government.
Standards are updated frequently to keep pace with changing technology. A standard is defined by the National Standards Policy Advisory Committee as: "A prescribed set of rules, conditions, or requirements concerning definitions of terms; classification of components; specification of materials, performance, or operations; delineation of procedures; or measurement of quantity and quality in describing materials, products, systems, services, or practices."
Standards are a great reference source for any project, especially those that involve designing and prototyping. They ensure the safety, quality and reliability of products and services; they facilitate trade and protect our health and the health of the environment. For business, standards improve systems and processes; they reduce waste, cut costs and ensure consistency.
Standards are made by International Standardisation Organisations (ISO, IEC, ITU), European Standardisation Organisations (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI), but also by National Standardisation Organisations, Consortia, individuals and local businesses.