International Electrotechnical Commission

The International Electrotechnical Commission[3] (IEC; in French: Commission électrotechnique internationale) is an international standards organization[4][5] that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology". IEC standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, semiconductors, fibre optics, batteries, solar energy, nanotechnology and marine energy as well as many others. The IEC also manages three global conformity assessment systems that certify whether equipment, system or components conform to its International Standards.

The IEC charter embraces all electrotechnologies including energy production and distribution, electronics, magnetics and electromagnetics, electroacoustics, multimedia, telecommunication and medical technology, as well as associated general disciplines such as terminology and symbols, electromagnetic compatibility (by its Advisory Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility, ACEC), measurement and performance, dependability, design and development, safety and the environment.

International Electrotechnical Commission
Commission électrotechnique internationale
Logotype of the IEC.
Logotype of the IEC.
Motto"Making electrotechnology work for you"
Formation26 June 1906
London, United Kingdom
Type Private standard-setting organization[1]
Legal statusActive
PurposeStandardization for electrical technology, electronic and related.
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Official languages
English, French
James Shannon[2]
CHF 20 Million / US$ 20.938 Million / 19.3 Million


The first International Electrical Congress took place in 1881 at the International Exposition of Electricity, held in Paris. At that time the International System of Electrical and Magnetic Units was agreed to.

The International Electrotechnical Commission held its inaugural meeting on 26 June 1906, following discussions among the British Institution of Electrical Engineers, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and others, which began at the 1900 Paris International Electrical Congress, and continued with Colonel R. E. B. Crompton playing a key role. In 1906, Lord Kelvin was elected as the first President of the International Electrotechnical Commission [6].

International Electrotechnical Commission - Central Office - Geneva
International Electrotechnical Commission - Central Office - Geneva

The IEC was instrumental in developing and distributing standards for units of measurement, particularly the gauss, hertz, and weber. [7] It also first proposed a system of standards, the Giorgi System, which ultimately became the SI, or Système International d’unités (in English, the International System of Units).

In 1938, it published a multilingual international vocabulary to unify terminology relating to electrical, electronic and related technologies. This effort continues, and the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (the on-line version of which is known as the Electropedia) remains an important work in the electrical and electronic industries.

The CISPR (Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques) – in English, the International Special Committee on Radio Interference – is one of the groups founded by the IEC.

Currently, 82 countries are members while another 82 participate in the Affiliate Country Programme, which is not a form of membership but is designed to help industrializing countries get involved with the IEC. Originally located in London, the commission moved to its current headquarters in Geneva in 1948.

It has regional centres in Asia-Pacific (Singapore), Latin America (São Paulo, Brazil) and North America (Boston, United States).

Today, the IEC is the world's leading international organization in its field, and its standards are adopted as national standards by its members. The work is done by some 10,000 electrical and electronics experts from industry, government, academia, test labs and others with an interest in the subject.

IEC standards

IEC standards have numbers in the range 60000–79999 and their titles take a form such as IEC 60417: Graphical symbols for use on equipment. Following the Dresden Agreement with CENELEC the numbers of older IEC standards were converted in 1997 by adding 60000, for example IEC 27 became IEC 60027. Standards of the 60000 series are also found preceded by EN to indicate that the IEC standard is also adopted by CENELEC as a European standard; for example IEC 60034 is also available as EN 60034.

The IEC cooperates closely with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In addition, it works with several major standards development organizations, including the IEEE with which it signed a cooperation agreement in 2002, which was amended in 2008 to include joint development work.

Standards developed jointly with ISO such as ISO/IEC 26300 (Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0), ISO/IEC 27001 (Information technology, Security techniques, Information security management systems, Requirements), and CASCO ISO/IEC 17000 series, carry the acronym of both organizations. The use of the ISO/IEC prefix covers publications from ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 - Information Technology, as well as conformity assessment standards developed by ISO CASCO and IEC CAB (Conformity Assessment Board). Other standards developed in cooperation between IEC and ISO are assigned numbers in the 80000 series, such as IEC 82045-1.

IEC standards are also being adopted by other certifying bodies such as BSI (United Kingdom), CSA (Canada), UL & ANSI/INCITS (United States), SABS (South Africa), SAI (Australia), SPC/GB (China) and DIN (Germany). IEC standards adopted by other certifying bodies may have some noted differences from the original IEC standard.[8]

Membership and participation

IEC membership
  Full members
  Associate members

The IEC is made up of members, called national committees, and each NC represents its nation's electrotechnical interests in the IEC. This includes manufacturers, providers, distributors and vendors, consumers and users, all levels of governmental agencies, professional societies and trade associations as well as standards developers from national standards bodies. National committees are constituted in different ways. Some NCs are public sector only, some are a combination of public and private sector, and some are private sector only. About 90% of those who prepare IEC standards work in industry.

IEC Member countries include:[9]

Full members

Associate members (limited voting and managerial rights)



In 2001 and in response to calls from the WTO to open itself to more developing nations, the IEC launched the Affiliate Country Programme to encourage developing nations to become involved in the Commission's work or to use its International Standards. Countries signing a pledge to participate in the work and to encourage the use of IEC Standards in national standards and regulations are granted access to a limited number of technical committee documents for the purposes of commenting. In addition, they can select a limited number of IEC Standards for their national standards' library. Countries as of 2011 participating in the Affiliate Country Programme are:[15]

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Congo (Democratic Rep. of)
  • Costa Rica
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lao Pdr
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Palestinian Authority
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

See also


  1. ^ International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) (PDF), Paris: International OECD Publishing, 2016
  2. ^ IEC Officers, CH: International Electrotechnical Commission, 2017
  3. ^ "IEC Statutes and Rules of Procedure" (PDF). IEC. 2011-07-01. p. 30.
  4. ^ IEC Organization and funding, CH: International Electrotechnical Commission, 2017
  5. ^ International Geneva, Facts and Figures (PDF), CH: Swiss Government, 2017
  6. ^ The Life of William Thomson, Baron Kelvin of Largs by Silvanus Phillips Thompson, CUP 2011, ISBN 1108027180, 9781108027182
  7. ^ Electrical Engineering for Non-Electrical Engineers. ISBN 1482228831.
  8. ^ IEC Webstore | Welcome.
  9. ^ IEC full and associate members
  10. ^
  11. ^ "The IEC and NEMA",, accessed 2009-04-12
  12. ^ IEC membership levels
  13. ^ a b c d Formerly participating in the affiliate programme.
  14. ^ "Morocco, the 5th largest African economy, joins the IEC". IEC. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  15. ^ IEC affiliates

External links

Technical committees

Standards and tools in database format


The Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques (CISPR; English: International Special

Committee on Radio Interference) was founded in 1934 to set standards for controlling electromagnetic interference in electrical and electronic devices, and is a part of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).


The IECEE is the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components being a body of the International Electrotechnical Commission. The IEC uses the name IECEE for the IEC System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components that is better known as the CB SystemThe predecessor of IECEE was a European body founded under the name of Commission internationale de réglementation en vue de l'approbation de l'équipement électrique (International commission on rules for the approval of electrical equipment) known as CEE. Historically this certification process goes back to 1929 based on an initiative by the German VDE (Verband der Elektrotechnik, Elektronik und Informationstechnik).CEE also devised and published standards for electrical equipment, most of which have been superseded by IEC standards.

IEC 60027

IEC 60027 (formerly IEC 27) is a technical international standard for letter symbols published by the International Electrotechnical Commission, comprising the following parts:

IEC 60027-1: General

IEC 60027-2: Telecommunications and electronics

IEC 60027-3: Logarithmic and related quantities, and their units

IEC 60027-4: Symbols for quantities to be used for rotating electrical machines

IEC 60027-6: Control technology

IEC 60027-7: Physiological quantities and unitsA closely related international standard on quantities and units is ISO 31. The ISO 31 and IEC 60027 Standards are being revised by the two standardization organizations in collaboration. The revised harmonized standard is known as ISO/IEC 80000, Quantities and units. It supersedes both ISO 31 and part of IEC 60027.

IEC 60034

IEC 60034 is an international standard of the International Electrotechnical Commission for rotating electrical machinery.

IEC 60068

IEC 60068 is an international standard for the environmental testing of electrotechnical products that is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

IEC 60068 is a collection of methods for environmental testing of electronic equipment and products to assess their ability to perform under environmental conditions including extreme cold and dry heat. IEC 60068 offers appropriate severities and prescribes various environmental conditions for measurements and tests.

IEC 60068 has three parts:

IEC 60068-1: General and guidance

IEC 60068-2: Tests

IEC 60068-3: Supporting documentation and guidance

IEC 60870

In electrical engineering and power system automation, the International Electrotechnical Commission 60870 standards define systems used for telecontrol (supervisory control and data acquisition). Such systems are used for controlling electric power transmission grids and other geographically widespread control systems. By use of standardized protocols, equipment from many different suppliers can be made to interoperate. IEC standard 60870 has six parts, defining general information related to the standard, operating conditions, electrical interfaces, performance requirements, and data transmission protocols. The 60870 standards are developed by IEC Technical Committee 57 (Working Group 03).

IEC 61360

IEC 61360, with the title "Standard data element types with associated classification scheme", is a series of standard documents defining a general purpose vocabulary in terms of a reference dictionary published by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

IEC 61883

IEC 61883 Consumer Audio/Video Equipment - Digital Interface is a technical standard for a digital interface that is used by IEEE 1394 (FireWire) devices for audio and video equipment. The standard for these devices is maintained by the International Electrotechnical Commission. The first part was released in 1998; the current third edition is dated 2008.

IEC 62366

The international standard IEC 62366 medical devices - Application of usability engineering to medical devices is a standard which specifies usability requirements for the development of medical devices. It is harmonized by the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), and therefore can be used as a benchmark to comply with regulatory requirements from both these markets.

IEC 62379

IEC 62379 is a control engineering standard for the common control interface for networked digital audio and video products. IEC 62379 uses Simple Network Management Protocol to communicate control and monitoring information.

It is a family of standards that specifies a control framework for networked audio and video equipment and is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission. It has been designed to provide a means for entering a common set of management commands to control the transmission across the network as well as other functions within the interfaced equipment.

IEC 62455

IEC 62455 (also known as the 18Crypt system) is an International Electrotechnical Commission terminal specification standard, prepared by the IEC 100 (Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment) Technical Committee (TC), for a service purchase and protection system for digital broadcasts. Its full title is Internet protocol (IP) and transport stream (TS) based service access. This 18Crypt technology aimed to compete the Open Security Framework (OSF) has never been successful in the market where less than 10 000 deployed devices were using it. On the opposite, the OSF aimed as an open approach enabling wider competition has been widely deployed in a large number of devices (several millions) and re-used in many standards like in the USA (MediaFlo, ATSC-MH) or in China...

ISO/IEC 27000

ISO/IEC 27000 is part of a growing family of ISO/IEC Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) standards, the 'ISO/IEC 27000 series'. ISO/IEC 27000 is an international standard entitled: Information technology — Security techniques — Information security management systems — Overview and vocabulary.

The standard was developed by subcommittee 27 (SC27) of the first Joint Technical Committee (JTC1) of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission.ISO/IEC 27000 provides:

An overview of and introduction to the entire ISO/IEC 27000 family of Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) standards.

A glossary or vocabulary of fundamental terms and definitions used throughout the ISO/IEC 27000 family.ISO/IEC 27000 is available via the ITTF website. (free download)

ISO/IEC TR 12182

ISO/IEC TR 12182 is an Information technology standard published in 1998 by the Joint Task Committee 1 (JTC1) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It defines a software categorization in the field of software engineering.

Information Technology Task Force

The ISO/IEC Information Technology Task Force (ITTF) is a body jointly formed by ISO and IEC responsible for the planning and coordination of the work of JTC 1. It has several responsibilities described in the JTC 1 Directives clause 4.1 including:

day-to-day planning and coordination of the technical work

supervising the application of rules

advising JTC 1 on points of procedure

administration of ballots

publishing activities, including the printing, distribution and sale of International Standards


The kibibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for quantities of digital information. The binary prefix kibi means 210, or 1024; therefore, 1 kibibyte is 1024 bytes. The unit symbol for the kibibyte is KiB.The unit was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 1998, has been accepted for use by all major standards organizations, and is part of the International System of Quantities. The kibibyte was designed to replace the kilobyte in those computer science contexts in which the term kilobyte is used to mean 1024 bytes. The interpretation of kilobyte to denote 1024 bytes, conflicting with the SI definition of the prefix kilo (1000), used to be common.


The mebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The binary prefix mebi means 220; therefore one mebibyte is equal to 1048576bytes = 1024 kibibytes. The unit symbol for the mebibyte is MiB.

The unit was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 1998. It was designed to replace the megabyte when used in the binary sense to mean 220 bytes, which conflicts with the definition of the prefix mega in the International System of Units (SI) as a multiplier of 106.

The binary prefixes have been accepted by all major standards organizations and are part of the International System of Quantities. Many Linux distributions use the unit, but it is not widely acknowledged within the industry or media.


The tebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. It is a member of the set of units with binary prefixes defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its unit symbol is TiB.

The prefix tebi (symbol Ti) represents multiplication by 10244, therefore:

1 tebibyte = 240 bytes = 1099511627776bytes = 1024 gibibytes1024 TiB = 1 pebibyte (PiB)The tebibyte is closely related to the terabyte (TB), which is defined as 1012 bytes = 1000000000000bytes. It follows that one tebibyte (1 TiB) is approximately equal to 1.1 TB.

In some contexts, the terabyte has been used as a synonym for tebibyte. (see Consumer confusion).

Weber (unit)

In physics, the weber (symbol: Wb) is the SI derived unit of magnetic flux. A flux density of one Wb/m2 (one weber per square metre) is one tesla.

The weber is named after the German physicist Wilhelm Eduard Weber (1804–1891).


The yobibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. It is a member of the set of units with binary prefixes defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its unit symbol is YiB

The prefix yobi (symbol Yi) represents multiplication by 10248, therefore:

1 yobibyte = 280 bytes = 1208925819614629174706176bytes = 1024 zebibytesThe prefixes zebi and yobi were added to the system of binary prefixes in August 2005.One yobibyte (1 YiB) is equal to eight yobibits (8 Yibit).

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