An ISO conference held at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on 13-14 November 2014, demonstrated how standardization and innovation are inexplicably linked, the potential they offer to the world and how they both play a key role in our daily lives.

During the two-day event, a number of speakers presented case studies showing the relationship between leading innovations, such as MPEG or hand-sanitizing alcohol gel, and standards.

How media technology came into your home

After the television era, video arrived on the market but it had different standards and the consequence was a lack of interoperability. The solution to that was standards for encoding audio-visual information (e.g. movies, video, music) in a digital compressed format. Compression was the answer to making more and more information available to the public, and standardization was the key for making this possible on a larger scale.

This is how the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) started to develop audio and video digital compression standards such as MP3, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4.

In the following presentation, Leonardo Chiariglione, Chairman and Co-founder of the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), explains what happened to audio and video before it came to your TV and mobile phone screens.


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From hand washing with soap and water to alcohol-based gels in hospital

Prof. Didier Pittet, Director, Infection Control Programme, at the University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, demonstrated how, by reproducing the same hygiene process in many hospitals, the number of infections in patients has been greatly reduced. The traditional handwashing with soap and water was replaced by a handwashing process involving an alcohol-based hand rub, and thanks to this, hygiene in hospitals has increased a lot.

Here, in a fascinating talk, he tells us how hygiene has reduced the rate of infection among patients.


The two-day event was a hub of ideas and innovation, which brought together experts and academics from a range of subject areas to discuss how standardization and innovation are inexplicably linked, and the potential they offer to the world.

To find out more about standards and innovations, watch the entire webcast of the event and all the presentations here.