Page 2: Research
Most new products and services are the result of research. Sometimes innovations result from a moment of inspiration. More often, they come from looking at what others are doing, what the market wants and what is acceptable. This is known as research.
Standards offer benefits throughout the research process. A standard is an agreed, repeatable way of doing something. Standards are guidelines about how things can be made or done more efficiently and safely. Standards help to make life simpler. They increase the reliability and the effectiveness of many goods and services. They help to lower costs and reduce the time it takes to develop a concept into a marketable product. This promotes innovation. It means businesses can develop new products and services more quickly. The result is that they can recover their initial investments much faster.
Each standard has a number and description. This shows if it is a British (BS), European (EN) or International (ISO) Standard. For example:
- BS 7907:2007 gives recommendations for the design and manufacture of children's clothing to promote product safety. This standard is applicable to clothing for children up to 14 years of age. It gives recommendations on safety aspects of the packaging and display of children”s clothing, including guidance for retailers. It is intended for use at all stages of the clothing supply chain, including use by designers, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of children”s clothing.
- If someone buys a T-shirt from a company that uses the BS EN 20105 standard, then that customer should expect that the dye will be colour-fast and not run when washed at the right temperature.
BSI supports the research that goes into innovation and product development. By working with different companies, BSI is able to identify best practice. It uses this to create standards. These standards provide a framework for the development of new products, services and processes. By working to a standard, new product developers can be sure that what they produce will meet the needs of consumers.
Standards and new technologies
Businesses researching new technologies also benefit from looking at relevant standards. For example, BSI is playing a major part in supporting nanotechnology research. Nanotechnology is a breakthrough in product development. This area of science involves developing products by controlling the arrangement of individual atoms. Early applications of nanotechnology were mainly related to materials, providing an innovative process for introducing additives to plastics and steel.
Many industries are now using nanotechnology to develop new products. The technology is being used to produce car parts, clothing and wax for skis. BSI has created a standards framework for nanotechnology, including a common language and guidelines on best practice. This means that everyone in the nanotechnology field of research is using the same words and working to the same principles.