July 8, 2021
Towards increasing quality and transparency in international smart city development.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued international standards for “Framework for Integration and Operation of Smart Community Infrastructures,” which was proposed by Japan.
Widespread awareness of these standards is expected to globally standardize the processes of developing, operating, and maintaining urban infrastructures and minimize the impact of differences in commercial and development practices in markets companies enter. This should in turn encourage more Japanese companies to enter smart city markets overseas.
Purpose of and background to the proposal
Japanese companies face several challenges when they join overseas projects toward developing smart cities, smart communities, and the infrastructures (smart community infrastructures) that go toward making them up. Consequently, there have been calls for solutions.
Smart community infrastructures require multiple systems to be consistent with each other and work and function together in a waste-free manner. Examples include the energy, transportation, and ICT systems that go toward making up a city. Against this background, one challenge is that the cooperation (interaction) between multiple individual infrastructures is not being planned properly, and as a result, Japanese companies’ products that will make a large contribution to energy conservation, etc. are not getting evaluated properly. Another challenge is that the sequence of processes consisting of urban development, urban operation, infrastructural maintenance, etc. varies between countries and regions. This means that addressing the aforementioned challenge is extremely costly, for instance involving seeking help from consultants with detailed knowledge about projects in the region.
In accordance with Japan’s proposal to standardize processes such as development, operation, and maintenance of smart community infrastructures, ISO37155-1 (Framework for integration and operation of smart community infrastructures — Part 1) was approved and published as an international standard in January 2020. ISO37155-2 (Part 2) followed in May 2021.
Outline of the international standards
The main purpose of ISO 37155-1 is to ensure proper interaction between multiple infrastructures, while that of ISO37155-2 is to check and verify the validity of the infrastructures. They provide flameworks on what to do in each phase of the infrastructure lifecycle. The standards define the roles and responsibilities of and recommendations for stakeholders with regard to each phase – for example, “In the basic design phase, identify the interaction with other infrastructures and consider measures, taking into account the risks regarding each.”
The characteristics of smart community infrastructures include serving as the fundamental system for the city by combining multiple infrastructure systems that go toward making it up, and having a long lifecycle due to involvement from multiple stakeholders.
When Japanese companies enter overseas markets in smart city and smart community infrastructure development projects, they often do so in order to develop individual infrastructures and components, rather than whole cities. On the other hand, large European and American companies often work on developing whole cities. This means it has tended to be easier for them to gain a business advantage.
To address these circumstances, widespread awareness of these international standards and adoption of them in contracts for infrastructure construction work all around the world will clarify in the form of international standards the ideas regarding allocating the requirements for each urban infrastructure system, and the roles and responsibilities of individual components and infrastructures. Expected benefits from this include furthering international integration of the processes of developing, operating, and maintaining urban infrastructures, and being able to get products’ performance evaluated properly.
As a result, the expectation is that there will be more overseas urban development projects that employ basic policies and frameworks that Japanese companies can accommodate easily and will not be disadvantaged by, and that infrastructure and component manufacturers in Japan will be encouraged to actively enter overseas markets.
Division in Charge
International Electrotechnology Standardization Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau.