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International Electrotechnical Commission

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a standards organization dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies. Many of its standards are developed jointly with the ISO.

The IEC is made up of representatives of national standards bodies. The IEC was founded in 1906 and currently has more than 60 participating countries. Originally located in London, in 1948 the commission moved to its current headquarters in Geneva.

The IEC was instrumental in developing and distributing standards for units of measurement, particularly the Gauss, Hertz, and Weber. They also first proposed a system of standards, the Giorgi System, which ultimately became the SI units. In 1938, it published an international translating vocabulary to unify electrical terminology. This effort continues, and the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary remains an important work in the electrical and electronic industries.

IEC standards are numbered and take the form IEC 60411 Graphical Symbols. Standards developed jointly with the ISO use ISO numbering standards and take the form of ISO/IEC 7498-1:1994 Open Systems Interconnection: Basic Reference Model.


Membership in the IEC is open only to recognized national standards organizations. Member organizations include:

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