According to the renowned architect Norman Foster, “Cities are the future of our society – of our civilisation. The words are interchangeable – civic, civilised, cities, citizens. We all know that the world is urban but, in 30 years’ time, 2.5 billion more people will live in cities.” As noted by the UN, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and the number is expected to grow.
However, to ensure sustainable urban development, cities will need tools to help manage their growth. Technology can offer solutions that help improve the quality of life of its residents and improve city services, resilience and sustainability.
For example, IoT, distributed computing and artificial intelligence can be used to collect and analyze data to ensure improved services and infrastructure. 3D city models with the dynamic data gathered using sensors can help better understand how residents make use of their city and enable city planning to reflect real-life requirements.
Standards have a key role in ensuring that the technologies adopted are competitively priced, effective and interoperable. They also provide clear descriptions of best practice and enable common approaches to tackle common challenges.
Standards are already vital to cities used for energy grids, lighting, transport and city services. The IEC has identified over 1800 standards that already impact smart cities.
World Cities Day
The United Nations has designated 31 October as World Cities Day with the aim of highlighting the challenges and opportunities with global. This year, the theme will focus on Valuing Our Communities and Cities and calls for the engagement with local communities for the development of the cities of the future.
This theme corresponds the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 which calls for cities to be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This requires, however, for those involved in the development of cities to work together to find the best solutions.
Cooperation is needed
Recognizing the importance of collaboration in the development of solutions that enable cities to become smarter, IEC is a member of the World Smart Cities Joint Taskforce together with ISO and ITU.
Learning from the Covid-19 pandemic was been selected as the topic for the first meeting of the Taskforce held in early October. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of cities which have been at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic and have faced dire consequences.
The lessons learnt from Covid-19 is now shaping standardization work so that cities can be better prepared the next time a pandemic strikes. Because this work within ISO, ITU and IEC is still at the early stages of development, it can serve as an impetus for greater collaboration in standardization in the area of smart cities.
Adopting a systems approach
The IEC has taken a systems approach to smart cities with the aim of providing a holistic approach to address complex situations. The SyC Smart cities is active in coordinating the standards work of various IEC committees as well as other groups with the aim of promoting the development of standards to assist in the integration, interoperability and effectiveness of city systems.