More than half the world’s population lives in cities, a number which is expected to double by 2050, making it a pressing item on the agenda for all city leaders. The theme of this year’s World Cities Day is “Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations”, which aims to promote discussion on how increasing urbanization can be an opportunity for sustainable development. A key goal this year is increasing awareness of how digital innovations can be used to achieve this.
The new digital economy we live in epitomizes the ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies. It includes robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, additive manufacturing (or 3D printing), autonomous transport and more. For all this to work, devices need to be built using the same rules, the same communication protocols and data exchange formats that are compatible on a global scale.
International Standards serve as a platform for the development of digital innovation as they provide a common language based on global best practice that is essential for data interoperability.
ISO is at the forefront, with many thousands of standards that help to make cities a safe and sustainable place to live. These also contribute directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG 11 for sustainable cities and communities.
The family of standards ISO 37100, Sustainable cities and communities, for example, provides cities with an overall framework for defining sustainable development objectives as well as a roadmap to achieving them. They cover everything a city must address to become sustainable, such as responsible use of resources, environmental management, health and well-being of citizens, infrastructure, food security, safety and more.
Another example is intelligent manufacturing, which makes factories smarter, safer and more environmentally sustainable. Improvements to production processes are projected to generate billions of dollars over the next decade and ISO has over 800 International Standards in this field.
Cybersecurity is also essential for digital innovation to survive and thrive. ISO has nearly 200 International Standards in this area, including the world-renowned ISO/IEC 27000 series for information security management.
Connected transport is an equally fundamental component of sustainable cities of the future. ISO has over 270 standards in this field and another 70 in development. These include standards for self-driving cars, as well as those supporting electric or hydrogen-powered cars, that will help to make our cities more sustainable through reduced energy use and pollution.