New International Standards for Framework for Development and Operation of Smart City Infrastructures Issued

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued international standards for “Framework for Integration and Operation of Smart Community Infrastructures,” which was proposed by Japan.

Widespread awareness of these standards is expected to globally standardize the processes of developing, operating, and maintaining urban infrastructures and minimize the impact of differences in commercial and development practices in markets companies enter. This should facilitate increasing quality and transparency in smart city development.

Purpose of and background to the proposal

Many companies are facing challenges in proceeding with projects to develop smart cities, smart communities, and their associated infrastructures (smart community infrastructures). Consequently, there have been calls for solutions.

Smart community infrastructures require multiple systems to be consistent with each other and work and function together in a waste-free manner. Examples include the energy, transportation, and ICT systems that go toward making up a city. Against this background, one challenge is that cooperation (interaction) between multiple individual infrastructures is not being planned properly. As a result, some products that are not properly evaluated even if their contribution to energy conservation is high. Another challenge is that the sequence of processes consisting of urban development, urban operation, infrastructural maintenance, etc. varies between countries and regions. This means that addressing the aforementioned challenge is extremely costly, for instance involving seeking help from consultants with detailed knowledge about projects in the region.

In accordance with Japan’s proposal to standardize processes such as development, operation, and maintenance of smart community infrastructures, ISO37155-1 (Framework for integration and operation of smart community infrastructures — Part 1) was approved and published as an international standard in January 2020. ISO37155-2 (Part 2) followed in May 2021.

Outline of the international standards

The two International Standards issued this time have been developed by considering increasing quality and creating a transparent framework. The main purpose of ISO 37155-1 is to ensure proper interaction between multiple infrastructures, while that of ISO37155-2 is to check and verify the validity of the infrastructures. They provide frameworks on what to do in each phase of the infrastructure lifecycle. The standards define the roles and responsibilities of and recommendations for stakeholders with regard to each phase – for example, in the basic plan phase, it is recommended to identify the interaction with other infrastructures and consider measures, taking into account the risks regarding each.

Expected effects

When companies including SMEs enter the markets in smart city and smart community infrastructure development projects, they often do so in order to develop individual infrastructures and components, rather than for whole cities. On the other hand, giant conglomerates or large companies often work on developing entire cities. This means it has tended to be easier for them to gain a business advantage.

To address these circumstances, widespread awareness of these international standards and adoption of them in contracts for infrastructure construction work all around the world will clarify in the form of international standards the ideas regarding allocating the requirements for each urban infrastructure system, and the roles and responsibilities of individual components and infrastructures. Expected benefits from this include furthering international integration of the processes of developing, operating, and maintaining urban infrastructures, and being able to get products’ performance evaluated properly.

As a result, the expectation is that there will be more urban development projects that employ basic policies and frameworks that various companies can easily accommodate. Such policies and frameworks will not cause any disadvantages, and infrastructure and component manufacturers will be encouraged to actively to enter the markets in smart city and smart community infrastructure development projects.

More information on Japan’s international standardisation activities can be found here.