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Making Sense of the Smart City Standardization Landscape

The amount of activity in smart city standardization is truly broad and covers many areas. Some groups, such as IEEE, are looking at detailed technology aspects related to smart city networking or transportation while others, such as the International Organization for Standards (ISO), have a focus on higher-level activities such as strategies for smart city governance or procurement. IEEE Standards University provides a high-level overview of some of the key standards groups and their smart city activities.

In order to categorize these different types of standardization activities, IEEE uses a taxonomy defined by the UK’ s British Standards Institute (BSI), which groups them by the level of abstraction into strategic, process, and technical.

  • Level 1: Strategic. These are smart city standards that aim to provide guidance to city leadership and other bodies on the “process of developing a clear and effective overall smart city strategy.’ They include guidance in identifying priorities, how to develop a roadmap for implementation, and how to effectively monitor and evaluate progress along the roadmap.
  • Level 2: Process. Standards in this category are focused on procuring and managing smart city projects’“particularly those that cross both organizations and sectors. Essentially these offer best practices and associated guidelines.
  • Level 3: Technical. This level covers the myriad technical specifications that are needed to actually implement smart city products and services so that they meet the overall objectives.

According to BSI:

Strategic-level standards are of most relevance to city leadership and process-level standards to people in management posts. However, even technical specifications are relevant to people in management posts, as they need to know which standards they need to refer to when procuring technical products and services.

Using this three-tier framework, IEEE places many of the major international standards activities to better understand where their focus lies.

Fig. 1. International standards activities and their respective foci.

Looking at the output from some of these groups, IEEE identifies ongoing activities or standards and place them into the appropriate categories:

  • STRATEGIC‘“Aimed at the Process of Developing a Clear and Effective Overall Smart City Strategy
  • PROCESS: Procuring and Managing Smart City Projects
  • TECHNICAL: Implementing Smart City Projects

Read more: Making Sense of the Smart City Standardization Landscape.

Read other articles about Smart City Standards.