Various organisations may be distinguished that have an active role in developing standards and may be conveniently grouped into Industry, National, Regional and International Organisations. At the international level the organisations having particular relevance to information and communications technology are International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
At the regional level standards developing organisations include, Comité Europeen Normalisation (CEN), Comité Européen Normalisation Electrotechnique (CENELEC), Comité Européen Postal and Telegraph (CEPT), European Telecommunications Institute (ETSI) and the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA). At national level the list increases considerably, including bodies such as the British Standards Institute (BSI), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Japanese Information Standards Association (JISC) and other national bodies around the world.
At the Industry level the list is extensive, including trade associations and professional bodies representing particular sectors of industrial activity making use of the data carrier, including for example, the Uniform Code Council (UCC), EAN International (both now combined and renamed GS1), Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG),the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the United Postal Union (UPU). In addition, the vendor community is represented by, for example: the Automatic Identification Manufacturers Association (AIM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). GS1 is responsible for progressing standards based on EPC.
At this level applications standards can be frequently encountered, often based upon international technical standards. The AIAG transport label standard is an example, based upon international bar code symbology specifications. The IEEE 802.11 standard, strictly speaking a technology standard, for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) is a further example of a standard being developed through a professional body and having cross-industry, worldwide, significance.
Also identifiable within the standards development arena are interest groups of various kinds, usually structured to pursue a particular area of standards development. It is within this framework of stakeholder interests and complexity that standards are formulated. Where proposals for standards have cross-boundary requirements the need for national co-operation becomes imperative. The international standards organisations consequently involve national and regional partners.