Global single-cable solution for audio/video, data and power

IEC formally adopts USB Type-C™, USB Power Delivery and USB 3.1 Specifications

By Janice Blondeau

The IEC remains committed to reducing e-waste and fostering re-usability of electronic devices’ power supplies. First there was the universal charger for smartphones, followed by the single charger for notebook computers. Now it’s time for a single cable for audio/video, data and power supply – thanks to work by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) and the IEC.

USB Type C
USB Type C™ cable and connector

Moves to reduce e-waste globally

The IEC has formally adopted the latest USB-IF specifications for high-speed data delivery and enhanced usages for device charging, in particular, the USB Type-C™ Cable and Connector, USB Power Delivery and USB 3.1 (SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps) specifications. 

These specifications define a truly single-cable solution for audio/video, data and power delivery which will help advance global action to reduce e-waste and improve re-usability of power supplies for a range of electronic devices. 

The IEC approach also supports consumer convenience, helps to maintain product reliability and safety and provides for future technology innovations. 

USB-IF Type-C, power delivers and USB 3.1

The USB-IF specifications were submitted to the IEC Technical Committee (TC) 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment, and were approved for inclusion in the IEC 62680 series of International Standards covering Universal Serial Bus interfaces for data and power. The IEC specification numbers are:

All three are expected to be published at the end of 2016.

Design and performance

The USB Type-C™ specification defines the physical USB Type-C cable and connector form factor to facilitate thinner and sleeker product designs, enhance usability and provide a growth path for performance enhancements for future versions of USB. 

USB Power Delivery was developed to provide flexible, bi-directional power capabilities by enabling faster charging and increased power levels up to 100 W. The USB Power Delivery specification defines standardized features that support the global adoption of interoperable power supplies, which in addition to reducing electronic waste, helps increase re-usability of adapters and chargers for consumer electronics. 

Building on USB-IF IEC heritage

USB 3.1 enables speeds up to 10 Gbps, supporting audio/video for USB hosts, hubs and devices. Combined with USB Type-C, USB 3.1 and USB Power Delivery define a truly single-cable solution for audio/video, data and power delivery, building on the existing global ecosystem of USB/IEC 62680 series of International Standards compliant devices. 

“Simplify the mess of cables”

Writing in CNET, Stephen Shankland notes, “Samsung has embraced the new data and charging port for its Galaxy Note 7…Samsung's move cements the Standard as the way to plug a high-end Android-powered phone into a charger or connect it to a laptop for syncing files. 

“Samsung jumping on the bandwagon pushes the new port, also called USB-C for short, into the limelight. Once adoption picks up, USB-C can greatly simplify the mess of cables in your life. For one thing, its connector is reversible, so there's no fiddling around trying to figure out which way is up.” 

About the USB-IF

The non-profit USB Implementers Forum, Inc. was formed to provide a support organization and forum for the advancement and adoption of USB technology as defined in the USB specifications. USB-IF facilitates the development of high-quality, compatible USB devices through its logo and compliance program recognized around the globe and promotes the benefits of USB and the quality of products that have passed compliance testing. Further information, including postings of the most recent product and technology announcements, is available by visiting the USB-IF website

USB Type-C™ and USB-C™ are trademarks of USB Implementers Forum.

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IEC and USB-IF logos IEC formally adopted the latest USB-IF specifications for high-speed data delivery and enhanced usages for device charging
USB Type C USB Type C™ cable...
USB-IF components rendering ...and connector renderings