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What does this worldwide standardization mean to you and me? Well, thanks to ISO, we can get cash from an automated teller machine (ATM) in New York City, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires or Moscow. The format of the credit cards, phone cards and smart cards is based on a series of ISO standards. The use of these standards, which outlines features such as the size and thickness of the card as well as the location and data format on the magnetic strip, means that all ATMs, telephones and other card machines throughout the world can read the cards. Since its establishment, ISO has focused primarily on the development of product-specific standards. However, in the mid 1980s, ISO started its work on systems-related standards. This direction later resulted in the well-known ISO 9000 series of standards, ISO 13485, ISO 14001 and others.

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