The benefits of a connected city or region are clear. Through a series of monitors or sensor arrays each collecting different datasets across a variety of sectors data can be shared for the good of all stakeholders and citizens.

Cities and regions could benefit from truly integrated solutions; connected communities; transparency on city and community objectives that really empower the cityscape and its citizens; partnering and innovation opportunities.

True data interoperability however raises a number of questions.  How, for example, can data created and collated via hundreds if not thousands of different monitors in different sectors really be shared across those sectors in a way which maintains the integrity, sense and usefulness of that data?  How can the privacy, security, integrity and availability of that data be maintained/secured? How, when and by whom can datasets collected be adapted/improved, interpreted and monetised?

Some answers to these questions are forming as cities and regions develop their smart credentials. There are in existence template standards produced by Dept for Business Innovations and Skills which provides guidance on how disparate organisations can harmonise various datasets derived from different sectors under one overarching data vocabulary so that data sharing can be more easily managed (PAS 180).  BIS have also produced guidance for stakeholders on smart city initiatives (PAS 181).

Identifying key smart city/region champions and promoting open dialogue is an important step to managing the issues that invariably arise (as above) when 'growing' connectivity.  Ultimately an agreed participation framework (encompassing the various core sectors and citizens) will invariably enable some of the more difficult issues to be resolved in a way where risk can be shared appropriately and proportionately (i.e.  privacy, security, integrity and availability).