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Smart city standards are key to unlocking the full potential of smart cities technologies

Since the emergence of smart cities, the promise of interoperability and connected sensors has been difficult to attain in practice as cities suffer from vendor lock-in and incompatible devices. ABI Research, a global technology intelligence firm, has found that smart city standards are the key to unlocking the full potential of smart cities technologies.

“Smart Cities technologies are advertised as able to collect data and insights into how a city is functioning through a variety of means such as weather monitoring, utilities monitoring etc. However, there are issues with vendor lock-in and a lack of interoperability between devices, which means that the full benefit of smart cities technology is not realized,” explains Lindsey Vest, Smart Cities and Smart Spaces Research Analyst at ABI Research.

The standards ecosystem is still a diverse network of Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), alliances, and consortia, but there is promise that with proper cooperation, they could be vital to the smart cities market. There are many different organizations and consortia that engage with standardization, including international and organizations such as ISO, IEC, ETSI and ITU-T. Furthermore, there are non-profits, consortia, and alliances such as IEEE, OASC, IETF and TM Forum. The wide range of organizations involved in standardization can create a confusing and inefficient ecosystem but groups such as the J-SCTF (Joint Smart Cities Task Force), formed by the ISO, IEC, and ITU-T, promise to help combat these issues.

The companies that engage in standardization through engaging with various consortia and industry alliances can gain a strategic advantage as their solutions can be targeted to meet the requirements of, for example, interoperability with existing city systems. For example, oneM2M is a service layer standard that is leveraged globally and allows for the interoperability of legacy systems along with new systems. Engaging with standards also allows industry to influence and steer the direction of standardization. It can be advantageous for both larger organizations and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they can more readily work within the complex system of a city.

“Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a useful mechanism for cities to measure their own performance, and even more powerful when standardized KPIs are used. Organizations such as the World Council on City Data (WCCD) leverage these standardized KPIs to compare, rank, and share best practice between smart cities globally,” Vest concludes

CT Bureau

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