“In the UK alone, 8 out of 10 people now live in cities, and the United Nations predicts cities will grow by 70% by 2050.”

“As they become more complex, an intelligent standardized structure for using and sharing existing data and resources becomes vital.”

This is the scene set by BSI, the business standards company, which along with BIS (Department for Business Innovation and Skills) has recently published new guidance to help support UK cities in becoming more sophisticated in how they leverage such resources.

The inaugural set of standards comprises PAS 180 – which provides a common reference vocabulary, and PAS 181 – a guide to developing strategies towards developing smart cities.

As the report on the BSI website mentions, these are not published to provide a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Rather they are to be used as enabling tools, for developing smart city projects and bringing smart city visions to fruition.

These standards were created to address gaps in common frameworks of what is touted as being an emerging multi-billion pound industry.

Interestingly, the BSI also point out that the UK is the first country to achieve this.

A post on this blog back in December 2013 referred to the advent of the Smart City forum – a group set up by the UK government to ‘create smart cities’.

One of those heavily involved in that forum and in the agenda more widely is Graham Colclough, Global Cities lead, Capgemini, who responded to the recent BSI announcement: “BSI’s new approach to develop a suite of smart city guidelines and standards will provide far more coherent support for cities and industry to improve our UK cities. Importantly also, this approach will help BSI take a real leadership position on smart city guidelines globally, which offers significant opportunity for UK businesses to succeed in the $400 billion* global smart cities market.”

“PAS 181 is an early and important guide for city leaders, which should help accelerate action – particularly with the oversight and support of the new Smart Cities Forum.”

Coverage included pieces from OppConnect , who wrote about the announcement from the perspective of a contribution to the property sector, whilst UKAuthority.com pointed to these new standards as a solid and demonstrable example of what can often be described as the ‘buzzword’ of Smart Cities.

The standards can be downloaded (free) from the BSI website.  
* BIS research paper #136 Smart City Market: Opportunities for UK business