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Cyber-Physical Systems/Internet of Things for Smart Cities


Smart cities are enabled by cyber-physical systems (CPS), which involve connecting devices and systems – such as Internet of Things (IoT) technologies – in fundamentally new ways. When applied to diverse sectors such as transportation, energy, manufacturing, and healthcare, these technologies enable cities and communities to improve services, promote economic growth, and enhance the quality of life. CPS provide cities with a pathway to enhance and integrate key infrastructures and systems to dramatically improve delivery of government and other services to citizens. During the past 5 years, NIST has developed a vibrant community of smart city stakeholders collaborating to identify replicable, scalable, and standard-based best practices with the goal to build foundations for measurement science and standards in smart cities. NIST’s previous smart city program (Global City Teams Challenge) has also nurtured a number of public working groups (“SuperClusters”) that collected a large number of sector-based examples and technical solutions deployed in cities and communities in partnership with municipal governments. In FY20, NIST will work to consolidate the insights and technical approaches collected in the previous smart city program and organize them into a portfolio of publications and guidelines. In addition, NIST will ramp up its effort to participate and contribute to the activities of Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) by leveraging the insights and technical knowledge obtained from the previous smart city program. This project will help cities and stakeholders to converge towards a consensus standards-based foundation supporting interoperability, replicability, and trustworthiness across systems, and measurement science for performance comparisons and evaluation, validation, verification, and management. Central to the project’s strategy is the development of measurement science and standards in the context of real deployments at scale to ensure the outcomes are relevant and useful in the real world. 



Objective - To provide the measurement science and standards-based foundations for interoperable, replicable, scalable, and trustworthy cyber-physical systems that can be readily and cost-effectively deployed by cities and communities of all types and sizes to improve their efficiency, trustworthiness (safety, security, privacy, reliability and resilience), and sustainability and to enhance the quality of life for their residents across the United States.

What is the technical idea? Two key concepts shape this program. The first is the need to consolidate the vast amount of insights developed and collected from the previous smart city program and formalize them into a portfolio of publications and guidelines. The previous smart city program developed several working groups that represent unique sectors and applications in smart cities, including transportation, public safety, data, utility, agriculture/rural, wireless, education, smart buildings, and cybersecurity and privacy. These public working groups (i.e. SuperClusters) have collected descriptions of technical solutions being deployed in partnership with municipal governments around the world. The goals of these public working group were to identify and share replicable, scalable, and interoperable smart city solutions that could benefit more than one city or community and to enable the industry to identify and build consensus around technologies that could lead to tangible benefits. During the process, SuperClusters collected a large number of examples of best practices and approaches for smart cities and communities. Although each SuperCluster collected many examples, they lack appropriate technical analyses and are not readily available for use by industry and the research community. Work during FY20 will focus on providing relevant technical analyses and publishing the results for use by all stakeholders, including in developing effective city performance indicators and approaches to measuring them. 

The second concept is the need to identify opportunities to support standards development processes for smart cities and communities technologies. All of the major international SDOs (including ISO/IEC, IEEE, and ITU) are currently working to develop such standards. The insights and publications generated in the previous smart city program can be brought into the SDOs to help improve their outcomes. Work during FY20 will focus on ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Working Group 11 (ISO/IEC JTC1/WG11) focused on smart cities, and IEEE’s recently-launched P2413.1 group for smart cities. Specifically, the FY20 smart city project will identify opportunities for contribution in terms of smart city architecture, key performance indicators (KPIs), measurement methods, and interoperability issues in deployment. 

What is the research plan?  Over the past several years, NIST has built up the community of multi-city teams and partnerships (organized into action clusters) to deploy shared and replicable solutions in a collaborative manner and encouraged participants to set tangible and measurable goals to be accomplished by the teams and developing useful measures and performance metrics to characterize their achievements. In FY17, the GCTC initiative has introduced the concept of multi-city, multi-team SuperClusters organized around common project objectives and shared solutions in sectors. NIST has encouraged the community to share best practices in their deployment efforts and evaluations of the measurement science and standards requirements for robust smart cities efforts, through mechanisms such as a technical publication series and SuperCluster blueprints or playbooks. In FY20, NIST will consolidate insights from the blueprints and playbooks into publications along with additional technical analysis for measurement science and standards. It is expected that the FY20 effort will produce two publications, each of which will focus on a SuperCluster sector. The research will include at least one workshop or conference to discuss the directions and outcomes of the research.

Secondly, NIST will ramp up its effort to participate and contribute to the SDOs in the area of smart cities, specifically ISO/IEC JTC1/WG11 and IEEE P2413.1. NIST will join the working group meetings and identify additional opportunities to work with them, including possible collaboration with the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative. NIST will also explore possibilities to offer the SDOs the findings and research outcomes on architecture, KPIs, best practices from the work of the previous smart city program and its SuperClusters.

Finally, NIST will continue to identify and collaborate with partners to create and provide opportunities for its participants to publish their contributions. Multiple partnering opportunities will be considered such as the Science of Smart City Operations and Platforms Engineering (SCOPE) workshop and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Emerging Interest Group (EIG) Symposium on Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) which was created as part of the Tech Jam in FY18. 

Created March 9, 2016, Updated April 9, 2022