With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas – a number that is projected to reach seventy percent by the middle of the 21st century – and with climate change and natural disasters posing new challenges, there is a growing market for sustainable, urban infrastructure planning and development. Governments are seeking new ways to adapt to the social, economic, and environmental challenges that accompany such growth.
Innovations in information and communications technology (ICT), and the capacity to gather and analyze urban infrastructure data, are driving improvements in the ability of cities to deliver services in areas such as smart grid, green building, energy and water use, waste management, and transportation. It is against this backdrop that the concept of the smart city was developed.
In a broad sense, a smart city is one that uses ICT to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved quality of life, and a reduced environmental footprint. Many nations around the world are already implementing smart cities technology to make their urban environments cleaner, greener, more efficient, and more sustainable.
In the United States, the development of smart cities is critical for every segment of the economy, and has become one of the top priorities for governments and consumers. But the full potential for smart cites remains untapped. Realizing this potential will demand a comprehensive and harmonized national approach, close coordination between the public and private sectors, and participation by national and international stakeholders.
In March 2012, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) established TC 268, Sustainable Development in Communities; in February 2013, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) established a Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities; in June 2013, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) formed a Systems Evaluation Group on Smart Cities; and, this November (ISO/IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, will consider the formation of a study group on smart cities.
As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system and the official U.S. representative to ISO and, via the U.S. National Committee, IEC, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is facilitating domestic coordination of this important work. ANSI supported the formation of TC 268 in 2012 and discussions continue in support of the formation of a U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG). This group will provide a forum for U.S. experts on smart cities and related technologies to come together and have an impact on international standards being developed by ISO TC 268.
Additionally, in April 2013, ANSI convened a Joint Member Forum (JMF) with subject matter experts from standards developing organizations, industry, government, and academia to discuss the role that standards and conformance solutions can play in smart and sustainable cities initiatives. And on November 21, 2013, an ANSI Workshop: Smart and Sustainable Cities will be held in Washington, DC and will build on the discussions held at the April JMF, further exploring how standards and conformance solutions can contribute to achieving smart, sustainable, and resilient cities. Attendees will consider the need for coordinated U.S. participation in international smart cities initiatives, the priority areas for standardization, and who needs to be involved. Ultimately, the goal is develop a set of recommendations for action that will be captured in a workshop report.
It’s not too late to get involved and contribute to the discussion at the November 21 ANSI Workshop. For more information, view the agenda and register to attend. To express interest in joining the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 268 to influence the work program of that committee contact ANSI.
The development of smart cities is a global priority that requires a coordinated approach to standards and conformance. While standards and conformity assessment programs are well developed in many of these specific areas, a clearly delineated and integrated set of overarching standards and conformance programs is needed to achieve the vision of a smart and sustainable city.
Consensus, cooperation, and collaboration – these will be key to making sustainable, smart cities a reality around the world.