BSI works on smart cities data standardisation

UK standards body BSI is developing a new standard for the labelling of data for public sector bodies involved in developing “smart cities”.

UK standards body BSI is developing a new standard for the labelling of data for public sector bodies involved in developing “smart cities”.

The BSI is consulting on a new set of guidelines relating to data terminology, which could eventually become a formal British Standard.

The process is being undertaken in order to help standardise the description of datasets relating to services, enabling the easier sharing and comparison of information to improve policy-making.

Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI, said: “If we are to make the most of the global opportunities from smart cities, we need to work fast to structure the knowledge that can help city leaders, communities, innovators and technology providers to recognise what good looks like and how these concepts can bring benefits for all.”

The consultation document says that data is currently often labelled using language and terms connected to an individual service which has no relevance to other sectors.

It said: “For example, the health sector might refer to a patient and a care plan, social services might refer to a client, the education sector might refer to a pupil and a curriculum, and the transport sector might refer to a passenger and a travel plan.”

It said that it was “critical” that decision-makers develop a data ecosystem to enable the secondary use of information by other organisations.In addition, a standardised set of terminology could help non-specialists make better use of data held on city data, it said.

The BSI said it expects the guidelines, known as Publicly Available Specification 182, by September.

Publicly Available Specifications are sponsored, fast-track standards, specifications, codes of practice or guidelines developed by sponsoring organisations to meet an immediate market need following guidelines set out by BSI.

Within two years, they are reviewed to assess whether the PAS should be revised, withdrawn, or whether it should become a formal British Standard or international standard.

PAS182 is being developed following PAS180 and PAS181, both published in February 2014, covering convergence terminology, and strategies respectively.

It is being sponsored by the Department for Business and Skills and developed in consultation with a range of organisations including Socitm, the representative body for public sector ICT managers.

In a paper released this week, Socitm described the smart city concept as a process “by which innovative use of technology and data coupled with organisational change help deliver local visions in more efficient, effective and sustainable ways.

“That means using ICT to enable people to conduct their lives and business in order to increase their quality of life at the lowest cost without adverse impact on others either directly or indirectly.”

Colin Marrs

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