ITU, ISO And IEC Float New Smart City Standards Joint Task Force
By Clifford Agugoesi, Editor-in-Chief
ITU, ISO and IEC have established a new Joint Task Force to coordinate international standardization for smart cities. Hosted online by ISO and themed ‘capturing global learnings from the management of the COVID-19’, the first meeting of the task force highlighted the scale and urgency of the challenge.
“IEC, ISO and ITU can offer global solutions to cities and their citizens, flexible enough to be adaptable to all cities and communities’ contexts and needs. But we need to take accelerated common actions,” commented ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica.
“Cities and communities, municipalities and local governments are at the forefront in coping with the COVID-19 crisis,”.
Cities are home to 3.5 billion people, half of humanity, and 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030, with 90 per cent of this increase expected to be in Asia and Africa.
Cities in 210 countries have been affected by COVID-19 and 95 per cent of all cases are in urban areas (UN-Habitat COVID-19 Response Plan).
According to Mujica, “Together, standards bodies have an opportunity to support the recovery, to provide solutions to ‘rethink cities’ after the pandemic. We share a huge opportunity, and a huge responsibility.”
Recall that three World Smart City Forums organized by ITU, ISO and IEC from 2016 to 2018 discussed cities’ challenges, the value expected of standards in support, and the standards cooperation necessary to success.
The Joint Task Force will reinforce the inclusive dialogue initiated by these World Smart City Forums. It will engage all stakeholders to identify standardization demands and provide leadership in guiding the supporting collaboration of ITU, ISO and IEC and the broader standardization ecosystem.
“Cities are vibrant centres of business, culture, and learning. They are a gathering place for innovation and creativity. But, as COVID-19 has exposed, cities are also deeply vulnerable,” stated IEC General- Secretary, Philippe Metzger.
Metzger also highlighted responsibility alongside opportunity, emphasizing the urgent need for action: “Recent developments in technology and data-gathering have opened new opportunities and accelerated the possibility to improve quality of life.”
The Joint Task Force will lead a conversation to ensure standardization solutions for smart cities are comprehensive, capitalizing on synergies among standards bodies.
“This conversation is now of more urgency than ever,” said Metzger.
“Only truly smart cities will be able to leverage technologies and data, facilitated by international standards, to cope with the momentous challenges we face today, ranging from the long-term impact of climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.”
The Joint Task Force builds on ITU, ISO and IEC’s longstanding commitment to coordinated standards development. It represents an integrated response to SDG11 ‘Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’.
“Digital transformation is accelerating, industries are converging, and we see an associated convergence in the responsibilities of different regulators – we see why the SDGs emphasize the importance of new partnerships,” offered Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Chaesub Lee.
Around 10 per cent of ITU’s standards are common or aligned texts with ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (Information Technology).
Work of common interest benefits from established cooperation procedures, the ITU-ISO-IEC Standardization Programme Coordination Group, and the ITU-ISO-IEC Common Patent Policy and related Guidelines.
“As the world’s three leading standards bodies, we have been a leading voice in calling for coordinated standards development and cohesive standards application,” said Lee.
ITU, ISO and IEC together form the ‘World Standards Cooperation’.
This cooperation leads the celebration of World Standards Day, 14 October, paying tribute to the collaborative work of standards experts worldwide. Learn more about the upcoming World Standards Day 2020: Protecting the planet with standards.
In an upcoming virtual event on 4 November 2020 within the G20 Riyadh Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia, ITU, ISO and IEC will lead discussions around standards’ contribution to digital transformation and emergency management.
According to Lee, “How city systems interact, how we interact with these systems, and how we interact with each other are questions of key importance to COVID-19 response and recovery, but also key importance to our ability to contend with challenges of all kinds.”