Birmingham supports UK Smart Cities standards development

Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons
Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons  (

Below is an extract taken from the recent press release from BSI (British Standards Institute) about the work that has been undertaken with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills involving UK cities such as Birmingham in development of smart cities framework and standards. It has been instrumental in helping to develop Birmingham’s Smart City strategy. The UK is seen as taking a lead in being the first country to develop such standards.

 “BSI, the business standards company has recently published new guidance to help support UK cities in becoming smarter. In the UK alone, 8 out of 10 people now live in cities, and the United Nations predicts cities will grow by 70% by 2050. As they become more complex, an intelligent standardized structure for using and sharing existing data and resources, becomes vital. This is echoed in the findings of the government’s Information Economy Strategy published in June 2013.

 BIS (Department for Innovations & Skills) has worked with BSI to develop and launch an agenda around the smart city standards, in what is an emerging market still in its infancy. The Publicly Available Specifications PAS 180 and PAS 181, address the standardization gaps in the smart city market by providing a guidance framework and common language.

 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. I’m delighted that the UK is the first country to publish a set of standards that will help us navigate the governance and leadership challenges that smart technologies bring for cities everywhere.”

  • PAS 180Smart cities – Vocabulary

Was developed to improve communication and understanding of the smart cities field 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.

It is the first version of a “smart cities vocabulary”, the beginning of a process to collate the diverse range of terms and expressions used in day-to-day discussions about smart cities. The vocabulary aims to provide an agreed set of working terms to enable practitioners to better share a common understanding.

  • PAS 181 Smart city framework – 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 that can transform cities’ ability to meet future challenges and deliver future aspirations.

The framework does not describe a one-size-fits-all model for the future of UK cities. It focusses on the enabling processes by which innovative use of technology and data coupled with organizational change, can help deliver the diverse visions for future UK cities in more efficient, effective and sustainable ways. 

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. Industry standards are key to achieving world leadership status for the UK and hence I welcome the publications of the first two BSI smart city standards. These standards will help to address barriers to implementing smart city concepts and promote uptake of smart city solutions at scale.”

Some of the organizations involved in the development of PAS 180 include: Department of Architecture, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Cambridge University and University of Westminster. Some of the organizations involved in the development of PAS 181 include: Balfour Beatty, Birmingham City Council. BRE, Fujitsu, Future Cities Catapult, IBM, Leeds City Council, Royal Borough of Greenwich and The Technology Strategy Board.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City at Birmingham City Council said: “Birmingham City Council welcomes the publication of the first Smart City standards by BSI. There was a clear lack of practical advice for city leaders, which is now starting to be addressed.  We are especially supportive of the new Smart City Framework – Guide to establishing strategies for smart cities and communities (PAS 181) as Birmingham City Council was directly involved in its development and the knowledge we have gained has already influenced the development of our own Birmingham Smart City strategy.”

Full press release can be read here 

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