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BSI unveils two new standards for smart cities

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New frameworks cover data sharing and project proposal development – accompanied by creation of new body to promote their use. Support for the smart places agenda has taken on some extra weight with the publication of two new standards frameworks. The UK national standards body BSI has launched PAS 183 (publicly available specification) for data sharing in smart cities developments and PAS 184 for developing project proposals. BSI smart city standards slide on screenIt was joined last week by the Future Cities Catapult (FCC) – the government supported centre for the advancement of smart cities – in publicising the standards, along with announcing the launch of a new body, the Cities Standards Institute (CSI), to promote their use and common approaches in city developments.

PAS 183 was pushed into the spotlight in draft form last year, providing a decision-making framework for sharing data and information services. Its technical author, Professor Jacqui Taylor, told the launch event in London that it should help authorities deal with one of the hardest challenges in working out how to share data appropriately in smart city plans. She said this is going to be a more demanding issue than the emphasis on open data that is often associated with new developments in the field.

New model

“It’s introducing a new governance model for shared data – data we are currently not using and locking down,” she said. “It deals with the regulations and problems in a thematic way and recognises the underpinning infrastructure.” It is the type of effort that is within the realm of data specialists, but which city leaders, officials and politicians, need to get their heads around. Taylor explained that PAS 183 is designed to make it easier for them to grasp the right approaches to data sharing. PAS 184 was described as filling a gap in pulling together separate strands of more general guidance for senior managers in developing proposals. It includes checklists, case studies and signposts to other sources of guidance, and is aimed at supporting a team in taking a project through its development and delivery.

Its three strands take in ‘smart thinking’, using the guiding principles of the earlier PAS 181 to shape the planning for a project and establish what is possible; smart practice, with an emphasis on agile and practical steps in the delivery; and smart procurement, based on a solid understanding of the business case. Gordon Wright, digital economy manager for Aberdeen City Council, described it as a route map that could be used as a basis for future development.

CSI pitch

The pitch for authorities to get involved with CSI – formed to push the further development of relevant standards – came from Trevor Dorling, smart city director at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. “We aim to be the premier network in the UK of smart city innovation,” he said. “That’s quite a big task but we’ve made an important start.” He said that about 15 cities including Aberdeen, Birmingham and Coventry had begun to get involved in “a dialogue around the challenges and pain points”. “The desire is to expand the remit beyond the oversights of new standards to a more extensive dialogue with businesses around the challenges we face, and where appropriate to go ahead with those standards,” he said. “If we can develop the approaches together it makes it much easier for you to go on and replicate those ideas.”

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