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Conformance testing is the assessment of a product for compliance with a standard. Different kinds of conformance testing can help assess compliance with a wide variety of standards from many different industry organizations or agencies. Conformance testing serves to establish whether a product complies with applicable standard, allowing its manufacturer to advertise it as such and ensuring product consistency.
Within this more general definition, there are very different kinds of conformance testing. One is for electrical products, where testers might look at the handling of electromagnetic waves, protection from power spikes, or other kinds of functionality or safety that meet a particular standard. Another kind of conformance testing is for software that needs to produce results that comply with industry standards.
Groups like the International Standards Organization (ISO) have defined conformance testing to a certain extent. Other industry groups, like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have weighed in on particular objectives for conformance testing in their respective fields.
Conformance testing generally establishes a certain quality standard for products. Some other aspects of this kind of testing could investigate the qualifications of suppliers. Conformance testing may also test different configurations of a product for compliance with standards.