Launched at this year’s Smart City InFocus event in Yinchuan, China, 50 major cities and government organizations signed the TM Forum’s “City as a Platform” Manifesto, which outlines 10 collaboration principles among cities, organizations and service providers for accelerating smart city development.

Projections on the smart cities value tend to be variable, with the most modest estimating a USD $400-billion market in 3 years, and the most optimistic pointing to USD $1.56 trillion also by 2020. Whatever the numbers are, it’s not difficult to see the appeal for local governments and companies everywhere in helping their cities become “smart”.

Against this backdrop, adapting and applying platform business model principles (say like those followed by Facebook) to cities is the way to do that according to the Communications Industry Association TM Forum, who on Wednesday launched its “City as a Platform” Manifesto along with 50 major cities, and several organizations and institutions worldwide.

The list of signatories includes the cities of Atlanta, Belfast, Chicago, Dublin, Las Vegas, Leeds, Limerick, Liverpool, Medellin, Miami, Milton Keynes, Tampere, Utrecht, Wellington, Yinchuan, the European Commission; as well as global communications service providers and technology firms including Orange, Tele2, NEC; and associations and other institutions such as CABA, FIWARE Foundation, Fraunhofer, Future Cities Catapult, Leading Cities and the OASC.

“The principles act as a guide to those setting public policy, and a design philosophy to unite the many organizations involved in each smart city program, including large and small technology companies”, says TM Forum.

The list of 10 common principles states that:

1. City platforms must enable services that improve the quality of life in cities; benefiting residents, the environment, and helping to bridge the digital divide.

2. City platforms must bring together both public and private stakeholders in digital ecosystems.

3. City platforms must support sharing economy principles and the circular economy agenda.

4. City platforms must provide ways for local start-ups and businesses to innovate and thrive.

5. City platforms must enforce the privacy and security of confidential data.

6. City platforms must inform political decisions and offer mechanisms for residents to make their voices heard.

7. City platforms must involve the local government in their governance and curation, and be built and managed by the most competent and merited organizations.

8. City platforms must be based on open standards, industry best practices and open APIs to facilitate a vendor neutral approach, with industry agreed architecture models.

9. City platforms must support a common approach to federation of data or services between cities, making it possible for cities of all sizes to take part in the growing data economy.

10. City platforms must support the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 – “Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

TM Forum’s “City as a Platform” Manifesto can be found and signed online. The third edition of the Smart City InFocus event, organized by TM Forum, runs from 19-21 September in Yinchuan, China.

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