Systems-level standardisation (example of smart cities)

Overall common city goals include, for example, sustainable development, efficiency, resilience, safety and support for citizen’s engagement and participation. However, an individual city will follow its own approach in smart cities programmes and projects.

The current implementation practices of smart cities are rather disjoint, namely:
  • smart cities projects are, primarily, local initiatives
  • smart cities projects are considered as technology projects
  • numerous smart cities interest groups are, primarily, clubs
  • efforts for development of common vision are insufficient
  • typical financing patterns are: the government is budgeting (to some extent) some cities which engage technological companies and the government is budgeting some technological companies (China’s approach) which engage cities.
As a result, there is no agreed basis for efficient and effective cooperation and coordination between different smart cities programmes and projects. They carry out a lot of duplication of work, developed solutions are not reusable, the same mistakes are repeated.

To address such negative phenomena, the IEC came up with a new approach to standardisation – the systems-level standardisation which provides the context for the traditional product-level standardisation. The systems-level standardisation is aim to achieve synergy between uniformity (availability of standard products) and diversity (ability to combine standard and proprietary products).

The systems-level standardisation (which is carried out by the IEC Systems Committee “Smart Cities”) will offer to smart cities programmes and projects commonly agreed and fully traceable deliverables, namely:
  • reference model (ideally, as an ontology), 
  • reference architecture of a smart city as a system,
  • typical use cases (how various actors interact with the smart city as a system); and 
  • set of existing and new standards for implementation of various capabilities of smart cities. 
The openness of those deliverables allows easily adjust the reference architecture to an individual city and re-use already available standard elements.

The smart cities vision can be illustrated by the following figure.
(CUBE means Common Urban Business Execution)

Being equipped by those deliverables, various smart cities programmes and projects can carry out efficient and effective cooperation and coordination among them thus
  • decreasing the total cost of smart cities programmes and projects, 
  • reduce the lead time; and
  • increase the quality of implementations.
At present, there are 4 Systems Committees (SyC):
  1. Smart Energy
  2. Active Assisted Living
  3. Low Voltage Direct Current
  4. Electrotechnical aspects of Smart Cities
And one System Evaluation Group (SEG):
  1. Smart Manufacturing

The IEC system-level standardisation is based on the IEC Systems Approach.