Smart cities standards update: more ways for cities to measure their performance

As the smart cities agenda gathers pace, and deployment of solutions increases, it is critically important that we have a grounded strategy around investment in smart cities technology. This means that smart cities efforts align with organisations existing goals, and that the transformation process to embrace technology and data solutions is seamless with other processes internally and externally.

Standards are a tool for helping in smart cities transformation, not only for an individual organisation, but also nations and regions. To go further, international standards are providing critical definition to our collective pan-nation efforts on transforming sectors and entire industries.

The release of ISO 37106 is an important milestone in our collective smart cities journey, and SCC continues to embrace these important guidance documents and aligns our readiness program (including our Readiness Workshops) with them. — Adam Beck


When the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published its first compilation of international standards (ISO 37120) four years ago to help cities measure their performance in delivering city services and community quality of life, it provided welcome guidance for city leaders.

Now, in response to the rapid mobilisation of city leaders in charting their smart cities journey, ISO 37106 has been published to provide critical guidance. As its introduction states:

This document helps cities deliver their vision for a sustainable future, by providing a toolkit of "smart practices" for managing governance, services, data and systems across the city in an open, collaborative, citizen-centric and digitally-enabled way. It defines a "smart operating model" for cities, which enables them to operationalize their vision, strategy, and policies at a faster pace, with greater agility and with lower delivery risk.

The standards' focus is on addressing how cities can unite all of the relevant smrt cities strategy elements "into a whole-city strategic approach to the use of smart data, smart ways of working and smart technologies" with a particular emphasis on "leadership and governance, culture, business model innovation, and the active role played by citizens, businesses and civil society in the creation, delivery and use of city spaces and services."

Who is the audience?
ISO 37106 is intended for city leaders although it also would be useful for leaders of smaller communities and larger regional efforts. Those would include policy makers, elected officials, senior executives of local jurisdictions, department heads, senior executives in the private sector, higher education and volunteer organization leaders, citizen groups and even interested individual citizens.

The document defines best practices in moving an organisation to a “smart city operating model” – one which enables cities to drive innovation and collaboration across vertical silos and hence operationalise their smart city vision, strategy and policies at a faster pace, with greater agility and with lower delivery risk.

More complementary standards will be released soon, ISO said. They will include indicators for smart and resilient cities, sustainable community development and achieving city sustainability goals.

Doug Peeples is a writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartcitiesanz on Twitter.