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ITU Smart Cities Standards on Tap

June 30, 2015 By Finley Engineering in

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot technology, not just in the U.S. but globally, as an announcement from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reminds us.

The ITU’s telecom division, ITU-T, has launched an initiative aimed at developing IoT standards and focusing initially on smart city applications, including machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and ubiquitous sensor networks. ITU-T Study Group 20 aims to standardize end-to-end architectures for IoT and mechanisms for the interoperability of IoT applications and datasets employed by various industry sectors.

Deployment of IoT technologies by 2020 is expected to result in the connection of some 50 billion devices to the Internet that will impact practically every aspect of people’s daily lives, ITU points out. Municipal infrastructure and essential services providers, such as power and water utilities, as well as transportation and healthcare providers, have stakes in IoT technologies.

ITU Smart Cities Standards

In an announcement about ITU-T Study Group 20, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao stated: “Building smart sustainable cities will require efficient collaboration between the public and private sectors. This new ITU-T Study Group will bring together a diverse selection of stakeholders, placing ITU’s technical expertise at the service of other industry sectors as well as the national and metropolitan administrations responsible for urban development.”

“The coming five years will be crucial in ensuring that IoT technologies meet their potential,” added Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “ITU-T is very active in IoT standardization, and we aim to assist cities around the world in creating the conditions necessary for IoT technologies to prove their worth in addressing urban-development challenges.”

A Real-World Project

Dubai is the first city to employ ITU-T Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities’ key performance indicators to assess the efficiency and sustainability of city operations and services. Dubai is conducting a two-year pilot project that evaluates the feasibility of using ITU-T’s KPIs to help develop the type of IoT standards ITU-T Study Group 20 aims to develop.

“Networks of IoT technologies will improve our understanding of how cities function, introducing many opportunities for efficiency gains,” said Nasser Almarzouqi of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of the new Study Group. “With participants representing the many stakeholders in the field of information and communication technologies, this Study Group will be influential in promoting the development of the highly efficient ‘systems of systems’ that will help bridge the digital divide and enable a more connected world.”