Enablers: Page 9 of 26

Interoperability

Interoperability ensures the technologies you deploy work well together. There are three interoperability targets:

Adhere to open standards. If you hope to achieve your smart city goals, different technologies from different vendors must be able to work together. In particular, they must be able to exchange information. Adhering to standards helps to guarantee that the products you buy can use predefined mechanisms to talk to each other.

And you don’t want just any standards, you want “open” standards – standards that have been defined by an industry group and published for all to use. This contrasts with “proprietary” standards, which typically come from a single vendor who retains control over who can use them and when they will change.

Open standards help cities control both their expenses and their risk. They allow cities to mix and match products from different vendors without jeopardizing the ability to exchange data. Put another way, open standards contribute to interoperability, choice and flexibility. They also make maintenance easier, because there are communities of specialists trained in published standards, such as those from Council advisors

the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and many others including 3GPP for 3G/4G and the WiFi Alliance. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) – also a Council advisor – provides open standards for sharing spatial information, indoor and outdoor, and for communicating with sensors of all types

Although open standards are absolutely essential to the long-term success of a smart city, putting them into practice can be challenging. There are hundreds if not thousands of standards that apply to one aspect or another of urban life. The best advice is to leave the heavy lifting to the experts. When you get to the  project planning phase (as described in the final chapter), select suppliers with a public, proven commitment to open standards. Give them the task of selecting the best ones to use, subject to the oversight of your project manager or systems integrator.

When it comes to the smart grid portion, there is happily some good news. The IEC has undertaken the job of creating a free Smart Grid Standards Mapping Tool that makes it far easier to discover and choose between standards. Using either a diagram or a list, you can drill down to a specific aspect, then see a list of all the standards that relate. The IEC lists not just its own standards, but those from other organizations as well.

Glossary Terms: