Letter from the Editor

Smart Cities: Standards Will Ensure Success

Ever since humans changed their lifestyle from hunter-gatherers to an agrarian society, we have been building fairly complex living arrangements. Early challenges to organize such habitats included access to basic necessities such as water, food, and shelter, which gradually included sanitation, transportation, and commerce. As our ancestors’ collective thinking over many centuries evolved to manage habitats for hundreds or thousands in a community to millions in crowded and polluted cities, we have continuously transformed our villages, towns, and cities. Unabated advancement in technology from the invention of the wheel to the latest Internet of Things (IoT) gizmos has empowered us well beyond our individual capacity in pursuit of better lives defined by the basic necessities of modern times. This, in turn, has lead to complex infrastructure in our megacities that depends on perpetual access to energy (power) and the Internet to provide for and operate services such as transportation and to maintain law and order.

As we look at the complexities of many different systems that make up the infrastructure of our cities, and the complexities of interactions and interoperability among such complex systems, it is apparent that technology standards play an increasingly important role. The standards community recognizes this importance and continues to facilitate interdisciplinary dialog to deploy technology in wide-ranging services such as water, sanitation, power, police, and transportation. In this issue, Dr. Roger Lea takes us through an elaborate journey of various standards and standards development organizations (SDOs) and explains the need for strategic and process standards in addition to the technical specifications necessary to build and operate city-wide systems. Bill Ash and Sri Chandra provide IEEE’s view of the smart city standards, especially the IoT architectural framework necessary for building flexible, expandable systems that adapt to future requirements. Dr. Anil Roy of DAIICT provides an extensive list of standards used by smart city planners ranging from connected vehicles and connected consumer devices to smart meters, smart grid, renewable energy, and safety. He also explains the need for measuring compliance with such standards. It is a very comprehensive survey that everyone interested in smart city technology should invest some time in.

With a plethora of current and upcoming standards applicable to smart cities, one may think this work is complete. This is where Dr. Fabio Duarte and Dr. Carlo Ratti, our researcher friends from the MIT Senseable City Lab, challenge us to think beyond what meets the eye. Smart city is not just a set of systems that connect buildings and infrastructure; it includes people, and it is supposed to serve their lifestyle. In the article, the authors put the people side into the consideration, which includes sensibility of applications and continuous improvements through big data analysis.

Of course, the questions remain―what is a smart city in your opinion, and is my smart city smarter than your smart city? What happens when not-so-smart people attempt to live in a smart city, get “trained” in the lifestyle, and then go to another smart city with a different lifestyle? We don’t always have the opportunity to build new cities from scratch, so how do we incrementally make today’s not-so-smart cities smarter without causing chaos? Will there be smart towns and villages or will smartness be a privilege for big cities because the infrastructure costs are too high for smaller communities? After all, SimCity may be just a game that you may abandon at any time, but smart city is where you live and work―no quitting here. That’s why we need standards and education about standards for all smart city designers, developers, and administrators.

Be smart!

Yatin Trivedi

Yatin TrivediYatin Trivedi

Editor-in-Chief, SEC eZine

Member, IEEE-SA Board of Governors


Yatin Trivedi, Editor-in-Chief, is a member of the IEEE Standards Association Board of Governors (BoG) and Standards Education Committee (SEC), and serves as vice-chair for Design Automation Standards Committee (DASC) under Computer Society. Since 2012 Yatin has served as the Standards Board representative to IEEE Education Activities Board (EAB). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the IEEE-ISTO and on the Board of Directors of Accellera.

Most recently, Yatin served as Director of Strategic Marketing at Synopsys. In 1992, Yatin co-founded Seva Technologies as one of the early Design Services companies in Silicon Valley. He co-authored the first book on Verilog HDL in 1990 and was the Editor of IEEE Std 1364-1995™ and IEEE Std 1364-2001™. He also started, managed and taught courses in VLSI Design Engineering curriculum at UC Santa Cruz extension (1990-2001). Yatin started his career at AMD and also worked at Sun Microsystems.

Yatin received his B.E. (Hons) EEE from BITS, Pilani and M.S. Computer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of IEEE-HKN Honor Society.