Standardization is the process of developing, promoting and possibly mandating standards-based and compatible technologies and processes within a given industry.
Standards for technologies can mandate the quality and consistency of technologies and ensure their compatibility, interoperability and safety. Standards organizations such as ANSI (American National Standards Institute), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) exist to promote standardization and endorse official standards (also known as de jure standards) for given applications.
A lack of standardization often manifests in large numbers of incompatible proprietary formats for a given technology and for technologies that must interoperate. That all-too-common situation hinders the adoption and advancement of the technology and industry.
The burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) is a current case in point. The main purpose of the IoT is enabling almost any object imaginable to be connected and to transmit data over the Internet. Although that scenario is increasingly becoming realized, incompatible formats and market fragmentation are slowing adoption.