Improved quality of life through sustainable and smart cities

BY Olivia Franklin ON July 15, 2016.

smart cities

“Energy is the golden thread that allows cities and economies to prosper. We know that almost 70% of all energy produced globally is consumed by cities and that by 2050, an estimated 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.” Says Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary and CEO.

The World Smart City Forum recognises the battle cities face when looking to improve sustainability within systems such as energy, water, sanitation and waste management, transportation, and security.

The Forum was organised by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), in partnership with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union). These three organizations publish International Standards that provide technical tools to enable the integration of city services and technologies.

Smart Cities promise to improve the quality of life for the world’s estimated 3.9 billion urban dwellers, while at the same time allowing better, more efficient use of resources and improved security.

As the Forum heard; many of the systems used in today’s cities are from different suppliers and maintained by different agencies who sometimes work in isolation. To connect them both physically and virtually; standardised interfaces need to be put in place, and this is where IEC, ISO and ITU have a global leadership role.

Tan Kok Yam, Head of the Smart Nation Programme Office said:

“Collaboration is key in a complex world where digital technology offers so much potential, and at the same time, comes with many challenges. Governments and businesses need to work closely to address the challenges of sustainability, transport, housing and healthcare, among others.”

To help make cities smarter, many different organizations need to collaborate together to create a cooperative systems approach. International Standards ensure there is an expected performance level and compatibility between technologies.

On 15 July the IEC System Committee (SyC) on Smart Cities will be launched, with representatives from more than 20 countries participating in Singapore. This new Systems Committee will help the development of International Standards in the field of electrotechnology to help with the integration and effectiveness of city systems.

Kevin McKinley, Acting ISO Secretary-General states:

“International Standards are the foundation for building smarter, more sustainable urban environments. They help systems and products work together, and spread new ideas, technology and efficiency.”