Cities are giant systems with countless subsystems. Each is different and needs tailored solutions.
At the same time cities are all trying to achieve similar outcomes: sufficient fresh water, access to sustainable energy, the ability for citizens to travel efficiently from one point to another, safety and security, economic and environmental sustainability.
Cities need planning to be able to deliver resources and services. They need information and communication technology to enable strong and symbiotic governance, economy and society. However, to become truly smart, reliable electricity access is the cornerstone to achieve sustainable development goal 11 and make cities and communities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
In addition to electricity, cities need sensor networks and hardware such as computing equipment, data and control centres. Interoperability is a must so that new things can be compatible with existing installations and systems from many different vendors.
In 2015, the IEC initiated a unique and comprehensive collaborative platform that was to allow standards organizations to identify city pain points on the one hand and to help cities understand how standards underpin solutions to some of their smart city challenges. At the same time the platform was to increase coordination between standards organization so as to accelerate the development of standards for smarter cities and reduce potential duplication of work.
In this context, the IEC reached out to ISO and ITU. Together, under IEC leadership, we organized the first World Smart City Forum in Singapore in 2016. It brought together over 300 people live and more than 1000 people online. Participants represented a broad range of nations and expertise, including city planners, regulators, solution providers and standards experts.
The second day was dedicated to further explore how SDOs can better cooperate beyond traditional borders. Representatives of IEC, ISO, ITU, IEEE, CEN, CENELEC, ETSI and participants from national standards bodies from more than 30 countries took part.
Ultimately everyone around the table in Singapore came to understand that not a single organization can provide all city standards alone. Increased cooperation between standards organizations is a must and the prerequisite for successful smart city standardization.
As an outcome of the meeting we all agreed to uphold principles of mutual respect, transparency, openness and sharing of new work information. We also agreed to create a working group tasked with developing common smart city terminology. The working group has presented their preliminary work last year and you will receive their final report here in Santa Fe.
The World Smart City Forum and workshop was not only important for what it accomplished, but also for what it started – a conversation between important standards organizations in a collaborative atmosphere.
In November 2017, the World Smart City Forum was replicated under the leadership of ISO and again in cooperation with IEC and ITU in Barcelona. And in 2018 here in Santa Fe ITU has taken on the leadership to bring us all together to discuss what needs to happen next to make smart cities and communities a reality.