Around the world, urban populations are booming. An estimated 54.5 percent of global populations lived in urban settlements in 2016 and this number is expected to increase to 60 by 2030, according to research by the United Nations.
If cities are to provide sustainable economies and improve citizens’ lives, many challenges lie ahead, such as tackling overstretched transport and health services, managing energy and ensuring accessibility and mobility for rapidly aging populations. This last point is particularly important given figures from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs World Population Prospects – 2017 Revision: Ageing population, showed that one billion people were aged over 60 in 2017, a number expected to rise to 2.1 billion by 2050.
Synergy around Standards
International standards provide cities with guidance, and offer solutions to specific technical, environmental, social and security issues, which affect services, infrastructure and the well-being of urban citizens. There are many challenges and no single standards organization can develop all smart city standards alone. IEC, ISO and ITU established the World Smart City partnership, which holds an annual World Smart City Forum (WSCF) each year. The Forum aims to understand and meet the identified needs of stakeholders, develop consensus-based Standards of good practice that address urban challenges, and create common markets. It is also designed to intensify cooperation and reduce duplicative standardization work for smart cities.
One of the challenges for cities is to increase the efficiency of operations and use of resources. The more connected key systems are, the easier it is to manage daily functioning and handle emergency or other situations. This is no mean feat given that many of the systems and technologies come from different providers. Frans Vreeswijk, CEO and IEC General Secretary commented: “IEC provides many of the International Standards that are needed to safely connect and automate much of the city infrastructure that generates or uses electricity and contains electronics. The use of International Standards also facilitates the long-term maintenance and repair of city infrastructure. Spare parts can be bought anywhere in the world at more competitive prices.”