TM Forum smart-city platform manifesto calls for open standards and APIs

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The TM Forum has unveiled its City as a Platform Manifesto to accelerate the development of smart cities globally.

Launched Wednesday at its Smart City InFocus event in Yinchuan, China, the manifesto pledges to develop a new city-scale data economy that drives sustainability and inclusivity, by using digital platforms.

All signatories to TM Forum’s City as a Platform Manifesto have agreed to follow ten common principles when deploying city platforms to serve residents, local businesses and other stakeholders:

  1. City platforms must enable services that improve the quality of life in cities; benefitting residents, the environment, and helping to bridge the digital divide
  2. City platforms must bring together both public and private stakeholders in digital ecosystems
  3. City platforms must support sharing economy principles and the circular economy agenda
  4. City platforms must provide ways for local start-ups and businesses to innovate and thrive
  5. City platforms must enforce the privacy and security of confidential data
  6. City platforms must inform political decisions and offer mechanisms for residents to make their voices heard
  7. City platforms must involve the local government in their governance and curation, and are built and managed by the most competent and merited organizations
  8. City platforms must be based on open standards, industry best practices and open APIs to facilitate a vendor neutral approach, with industry agreed architecture models.
  9. City platforms must support a common approach to federation of data or services between cities, making it possible for cities of all sizes to take part in the growing data economy
  10. City platforms must support the principles of UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

According to the TM Forum, these principles act as guide to those setting public policy and a design philosophy to unite the many organizations involved in each smart city program, including large and small technology companies.

“The cities that use modern digital technology to create a better experience for each and every citizen, are the true smart cities,” said Suvi Linden, Member of the United Nations Broadband Commission and former Minister of Communications in Finland. “TM Forum’s city platform principles offer great guidelines to achieve this goal.”

“As the world’s population expands and cities become denser, smart city programs are contributing to a better quality of life. However, technology by itself will not solve the challenges facing urban centers around the world,” said Carl Piva, VP and Managing Director of TM Forum’s smart city initiative. “Instead, a shared, collaborative approach between the public and private sectors is needed in the development of local data economies to create services that will improve lives.”

Piva added that there is also a huge untapped economic agenda to consider for city governments. “According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, the smart city market alone is estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion by 2020. Cities are, and always have been, the largest marketplaces on earth, and the time is right for cities to also develop digital marketplaces that benefit people living in cities. Cities are where digital ecosystems collide.”

The manifesto has been signed by 40 major cities and government organizations including Atlanta, Belfast, Chicago, Dublin, Las Vegas, Leeds, Limerick, Liverpool, Medellin, Miami, Milton Keynes, Tampere, Utrecht, Wellington, Yinchuan and the European Commission, as well as global CSPs and technology firms including Orange, Tele2, and NEC, and associations and other institutions such as CABA, FIWARE Foundation, Fraunhofer, Future Cities Catapult, Leading Cities and Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC).

OASC chair Martin Brynskov said, “At OASC, we know that a thriving global market, that really caters for local needs, is only wishful thinking without a strong common ground: open standards, open APIs, open architectures. We support TM Forum’s focus on the City as a Platform because of their deep commitment to these principles.”

“Open standard APIs are crucial to foster a sustainable investment by solution providers, particularly SMEs and start-ups, who can target a digital market where their solutions can be interoperable with others’ and portable across cities,” said Ulrich Ahle, CEO of FIWARE Foundation, whose NGSI has been recommended by TM Forum as the API for access to information describing what is going on in cities “We are also collaborating with TM Forum in delivering the components that support the transition from traditional open-data approaches to advanced data economy concepts, transforming cities into engines of growth.”

The City as a Platform Manifesto can be found and signed here.

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