ISO is a network of the national standards bodies of over 150 countries. The Central Secretariat, which coordinates the system, is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

It is a non-governmental organization, with ISO representing 'International Organization for Standardization', with the letters ISO derived from the Greek isos, which actually means 'equal'.

The forerunner of ISO, the International Electrotechnical Commission, was established in 1906. ISO was officially formed in 1947.

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