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The Power of standards

First innovation, then standard
The Power of standards

The market for connectivity technologies can’t work without them: standards define compatibility, safety and quality. All market participants can be sure that standardised technical components work in precisely the same way as they’re described. This also contributes to long-term customer loyalty and satisfaction. In practice, standards ensure the easy and safe handling of electrical products. But what is often overlooked is the power that flows from standards in creating innovations.

In the beginning there is the idea. Once the creative phase of product development is complete, all the parties involved should strive to establish a standard. The old principle of "Those who do not standardise will be standardised" is sufficient motivation for one to opt to set the foundations oneself. The innovator wants to be "first", the one who will serve as a guidepost around which others will orient themselves with their technological developments.

Standardisation organisations like IEC and DKE help

Even if innovations emerge in protected, in-house company space, the famous "silent chamber", the relevant standard is defined on an equal footing with all participants and, ideally, in cooperation with the experts of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the DKE German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technology. Here, the standard is conferred with the relevance that attests to its unique selling point in the market. The standardisation organisations remain neutral with respect to content and play the role of "moderator" in the standardisation process. The design of the standard is reserved for the interested parties involved.

”Participants must agree on what exactly they want to define as a norm. This doesn't always require 100% consensus.“

Dr. Andreas Starke, Head of Intellectual Property, HARTING Technology Group

It doesn’t have to be perfect

Businesses need to view the standardisation issue as an opportunity rather than as a lengthy, bureaucratic obstacle course. When well-prepared, and with well-founded input from all those involved, standards documents can be adopted quickly. However, this requires the willingness to compromise on the engineering team. Often it takes courage to get an 80% result before waiting for the full consensus to define the perfect standard document. But the DKE offers pragmatic solutions for these cases as well, the DKE with the "application rule" and IEC with the "Publicly Available Specification".


  • Standards create new markets
  • Standards protect investments


For future decision-makers within industry:

  • DEK and IEC as sparring partners when defining the standard
  • Standardised products pave the way for follow-on innovations
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