The UK is getting ready for Smart Cities

The UK is getting ready for Smart Cities. They called in the help of the British Standard Institution (BSI) to help shape the future of Britain’s Smart Cities. Dr Scott Steedman, Director of the British Standards Institution, said that Britain’s cities can decide the pace in exploiting Smart City thinking for the future. The UK already has a vision for the cities of the future and now, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has asked the BSI to carry out a study. This study should formulate a strategy for Smart Cities in the UK and should help realize the future cities.

Cities now are facing increasing pressure on their resources. So there is a need for Smart technologies that can revolutionize the efficiency and sustainability of urban communities. The BSI is therefore looking at how best practiced codes and standards for Smart technologies could bring substantial benefits to services like healthcare, transport, utilities and waste management by integrating data from sensors across the urban environment.

The concept of Smart Cities in the process of urbanization is high on the political agenda of both the UK and other European countries. What makes cities Smart Cities is that they use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and they integrate this with the services that a city delivers.  A good example of Smart technology is that weather information can be combined with traffic sensors to anticipate congestion and keep traffic moving. Or leaks in water networks could be detected automatically.

Dr Steedman also explained that an essential first step in creating Smart Cities is agreeing on how knowledge and standards can set the principles by which a Smart City works and the technology that will drive it forwards. The Smart City concept will only work when infrastructure and service delivery channels support the objectives of city planners across environmental performance, healthcare and promoting sustainable growth. But it’s not just about infrastructure, it’s also about sensing what is about to happen in the urban environment and having systems or people that can take appropriate actions.

So BSI is helping to shape the strategy. But to do that, it needs the input and expertise from governments and local authorities procuring Smart City technologies. They need researchers, regulators and consumer groups who represent those using Smart City developments. And they need manufacturers and service providers who can supply Smart City solutions.

The strategy that BSI is making will identify the needs and concerns of all the stakeholders and it will also explore where standards might facilitate the wider uptake of the Smart Cities concept. So the strategy will look at what cities are trying to achieve, what needs to be in place to help cities provide Smart services and how issues like privacy can be managed.

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