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Smarter vocabulary for smart cities

28/02/14

Smart cities is one of the buzzphrases of the age. But what does it mean? A new set of British Standards, developed in cooperation with Birmingham City council and central government, aims to provide a common language for describing initiatives.

The Department for Business, Innovations & Skills has worked with BSI, the company responsible for British Standards, "to develop and launch an agenda around the smart city standards". The result is "Publicly Available Specifications PAS 180 and PAS 181", which provide a common language and guidance framework.

The vocabulary standard was developed to improve communication and understanding by providing a tool to ensure developers, designers, manufacturers and clients use a common language when talking about smart cities helping the industry to work more efficiently and effectively. The vocabulary aims to provide an agreed set of working terms to enable practitioners to better share a common understanding.

The guide to establishing strategies for smart cities and communities was developed to guide decision-makers and assist them to develop, agree and deliver smart city strategies. It does not describe a one-size-fits-all model for the future of UK cities but focusses on enabling processes.

Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI said: "Smart cities need standards. The UK leads the world in shaping business standards. If we are to make the most of the global opportunities from smart cities, we need to work fast to structure the knowledge that can help city leaders, communities, innovators and technology providers recognize what good looks like and how these concepts can bring benefits for all."

Universities and science minister David Willetts said: "There is huge potential for the UK to be the world leader in smart cities and to achieve a strategic advantage for UK cities and industry as international markets develop. These standards will help to address barriers to implementing smart city concepts and promote uptake of smart city solutions at scale."

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