Cities and communities

A smart city offers improvements in quality of life, city services, sustainability and resilience through the widespread and transformative use of technology and data

Cities: giant systems with countless subsystems

Cities need planning to be able to deliver safe food and fresh water, reliable access to electricity, efficient transportation, security, and many other services to provide a decent quality of life to their citizens. They need information and communication technology to enable strong and symbiotic economy and governance. However, to become truly smart, in addition to electricity, cities need sensor networks, computer hardware, data and control centres, etc.  Interoperability is a must so that new things can connect and communicate with existing installations and systems from many different vendors.


IEC work for smarter cities and communities


The IEC doesn't have a single suite of standards for smart cities. Instead, the IEC has a systems committee for smart cities that coordinates the work of dozens of IEC technical committees which develop over 1 800 standards that are used by technical experts to make cities smarter. This includes, for example, smart energy, water management and sanitation, mobility, health care, smart buildings and city services.

These standards also serve as a basis for testing and certification. 

Making connections work

Technology together with data are the foundation of a smart city. The Internet of Things (IoT) enables ongoing data collection and together with artificial intelligence makes possible the analysis of data in real-time. This helps formulate an overall picture of what is going on in a given area and further optimize outcomes.

Major efficiency improvements can be achieved by horizontally interconnecting individual systems, such as telecommunication, transportation, and security. Such an approach provides increased information sharing and coordination as well as an opportunity to create new services.

Technology and data open up great possibilities but they also increase potential privacy and security risks. Standards help protect city data and people. 

A need for harmonization

The complexity of cities means that many different organizations will need to cooperate in a systems approach to deliver the many services and systems that will help make cities smarter. 

The IEC systems committee on smart cities has prepared a reference architecture and standardization roadmap in cooperation with other organizations. Its aim is to identify and close gaps and develop relevant international standards as building blocks for tailor-made solutions.

Smart buildings


Water management


Smart cities

This briefing paper provides an overview of IEC work for smart city development, including for energy generation and smart electrification, transportation, water management, smart buildings, city services, including healthcare, etc....

Orchestrating infrastructure for sustainable smart cities

This white paper explains what is needed to move cities to greater smartness; the what, who and how of smart city development. It calls for a wide collaboration between many stakeholders, including other international standardization bodies to ultimately lead to integrated, cost-efficient, and sustainable solutions.

World Smart City Forum

As the world’s foremost international standards organizations, our main objective is to help make smart cities a reality through a common approach founded on standards.

SyC Smart Cities

Electrotechnical aspects of Smart Cities.
To foster the development of standards in the field of electrotechnology to help with the integration, interoperability and effectiveness of city systems.