During a recent visit to the IEC, Michael Mulquin, Chair of the IEC Systems committee on Smart cities, shared his thoughts on how we define smart cities, the role of technology and data and the importance of standards.
Defining a smart city
According to Mulquin, a smart city is where improvements in quality of life, city services, sustainability and resilience are accelerated by the widespread and transformative use of data and technology. A smart city understands how to use data and technology efficiently and effectively in order to improve the quality of life for everyone living in the city.
“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” (Lord Kelvin)
Mulquin explains that measuring the “smartness” of a city is complicated because there are so many aspects to consider. Every city is good at different things. But, a way of assessing how a city is doing in a number of different aspects of city life is needed to help a city better understand how it can make improvements.
Role of technology and data
New technologies are emerging and data is getting easier and cheaper to accumulate and analyse. According to Mulquin, data can be used not only by people but also by systems that can automatically act upon the data. Changes can then be implemented instantaneously so that things can continually work better and more effectively.
Importance of standards
Data and technology open up great possibilities but they also expose us to potential risk and real damage. Mulquin explains that standards are needed not only for new technologies and new ways of using data but also on how to manage the whole eco-system to make sure that life is safe and secure for the people who live in the city.