And how it is actually stored and transmitted is not at all standard.
Well of course not, the whole point of the relational model is that you don't have to know how the data is stored, you only need the logical interface to the data.
As for your example, if you provide the logical interface then of course it can be interpreted. If, for example, you send someone a SQLite file, then the metadata, data and the logical interface are all delivered in the same package.
10 years ago XML was going to solve all our problems, now JSON is in fashion, how long before all the JSON people are currently using has to be replaced by the next trend?