3 steps to a measurable smart city strategy

Standards aren’t just technical specifications to get one system to talk to another. They can also be a valuable tool to make sure your smart cities initiatives are on the right track — and to demonstrate that you’re a good steward of your taxpayers’ money.

Council Advisor TM Forum has developed a Smart City Maturity and Benchmarking Model that I think you should take the time to get familiar with. The tool helps you see where your city is today, set goals for the future and measure your progress. All three of these steps should be part of your smart city journey. — Jesse Berst


By Carl Piva, TM Forum

There is no fixed definition for what it means to be a smart city because each city’s challenges and priorities are different – from improving traffic flow and air quality to boosting the local economy.

However, all smart cities are characterized by common, foundational elements, such as a high level of citizen engagement, efficient, sustainable city operations and exploiting the huge potential of the economy of data.

These are our three steps for achieving this.

1. Understand your starting point
Do you know how well your city is performing across these key dimensions?

  • Leadership and governance
  • Stakeholder engagement and citizen focus
  • Effective use of data
  • Integrated ICT infrastructure
  • How successful have smart initiatives been so far?

The most objective way to understand this is for statements to be rated against a common scoring model, for example,The city has a smart city vision developed by all stakeholders,” or “The city has developed and uses an information security management plan, covering all the processes needed to ensure the security of all sensitive data.”

Has the work even been discussed at this stage, or is it planned but not yet actioned? Perhaps it is up and running but not yet delivering the desired results. It’s important to begin with an honest assessment of the as-is situation and this requires a city leadership team from across departments for a holistic view.

2. Set clear, measurable goals
Once you have this clarity, it’s much easier to understand where you want to be and set clearly defined transformation goals for each dimension over a two to five-year period.

3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
The good news is that much progress has already been made around the world with smart city transformations and you can learn from them to avoid wasted time, effort and money.

This includes cities that have already tackled the same issues as well as tried-and-tested standards and best practices that can be applied to your own challenges.

The TM Forum Smart City Maturity and Benchmarking Model provides a framework for these three steps. It makes it easy for your city to rate itself and get practical suggestions on how to make improvements where required.

An agreement has been signed between TM Forum, the Smart Cities Council, Shanghai Academy and the World e-Governments Organization of Cities and Local Governments (WeGO) to promote the adoption of the TM Forum Smart City Maturity and Benchmarking Model to over 300 cities worldwide.

Use the TM Forum Smart City Maturity and Benchmarking Model now to rate your city and kick-start your transformation strategy.

Carl Piva is Vice President Strategic Programs at TM Forum. He is leading the Smart City Forum with the vision to provide the business and technology blueprint for a scalable and sustainable Smart City, underpinning the top 100 Smart Cities by 2020. He holds a M.Sc. in Engineering Physics from Uppsala University and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Shanghai Academy.

Smart Cities Readiness Guide
Standards are at the very heart of what it means to be a smart city. The Council’s leading Smart Cities Readiness Guide helps you map targets on all aspects of city management — from transportation and waste management to public safety and telecommunications — to the ISO 37120 standards for measuring city performance.