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Standardization Priorities for Smart and Sustainable Cities Discussed at ANSI Workshop

New York  December 11, 2013


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) convened a workshop on November 21, 2013, in Washington, DC, to examine the role of standardization in achieving the promise of smart and sustainable cities. The full workshop report is available online.

The inspiration for both the workshop and the larger smart cities movement is the ongoing growth of urban communities, particularly in developing countries, along with the proliferation of information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as sensors, smart phones, intelligent transport systems, building energy management systems, etc., that can assist cities in making their operations more efficient, more sustainable, and more resilient. Countries in Europe and Asia, with support from their national governments, have undertaken strategic initiatives to explore this area. Likewise, a number of new standardization roadmapping activities have emerged at the national, regional, and international levels to assess what standards and conformance programs already exist and what additional activity may be needed.

As administrator and coordinator of the U.S. private sector–led/public sector–supported voluntary system of standardization, ANSI convened the workshop to dialogue on U.S. national standardization priorities in this area and the need for a coordinated U.S. approach internationally. ANSI serves as the U.S. national member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee (USNC), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Largely an information-sharing event, the workshop included both panel presentations and breakout discussions. This included discussion of a number of initiatives of private industry, government, academia, standardization bodies, and multi-stakeholder groups, addressing both the application of ICTs and the development of standards and best practices to achieve smart and sustainable cities.

The workshop identified a number of priority areas where standardization can contribute to smart and sustainable cities. These included:

  • a standardized set of definitions/lexicon for smart cities applicable across sectors
  • interoperability for systems of systems, including common data formats and communication protocols to enable sharing of data between systems
  • key performance indicators so that measurements are consistent and comparable
  • a baseline guidance document which can be adapted to address the specific needs of sectors
  • best practices
  • resiliency for disaster preparedness and recovery

As a result of the workshop, ANSI will develop a proposal for a collaborative to further define standardization needs, particularly through outreach and engagement of public-sector stakeholders. The Institute has a track record of serving as a neutral facilitator to address national and global priorities in areas as diverse as electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and homeland security. Standards panels and collaboratives do not write standards; rather, they bring together affected stakeholders from the private and public sectors to discuss standardization needs.

“We can either go forward in an uncoordinated fashion, or we can pursue a better option,” said ANSI president and CEO Joe Bhatia.

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