Smart cities


Today more than half of the world’s population lives in towns and cities. With an estimated one million people moving into cities each week, this figure is expected to rise significantly in coming years.

This places new demands on key city services and infrastructure such as transport, energy, health care, water and waste. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) will play an important role in connecting these resources to the people who use them.

A ‘smart city’ uses digital technologies to

  • enhance performance and wellbeing
  • reduce costs and resource consumption
  • engage more effectively and actively with its citizens

Cities are a driving force in generating economic growth. So the development of smart cities could also increase Europe’s competitiveness at the global level.

The creation of smart cities will only be achieved with a holistic approach, supported by standards to achieve interoperability.

Improving sustainability

The roll-out of integrated, smart city solutions will also improve sustainability and help achieve the European Union’s ‘20-20-20’ energy and climate goals.

ETSI is a member of the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Co-ordination Group Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SSCC-CG). The group’s task is to:

  • advise on the standardization of smart and sustainable cities and communities
  • foster collaboration
  • make recommendations for future standardization activities

pdfDownload the SSCC-CG Report.

Smart City solutions also need to be considered at a Global level. ETSI is participating in an international working group with NIST and other partners to develop an IoT-Enabled Smart City Framework.

One initial deliverable is the pdfwhitepaper that describes the project.

Our Role & Activities

We are working on several aspects of smart cities:

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications

M2M communications will form the foundation layer for our future world of smart devices, smart appliances, the smart home and smart cities. Among other things, our Smart M2M committee (TC SmartM2M) has analysed the impact of smart cities on the Internet of Things in an ETSI Technical Report (TR 103 290).

Much of the work relating to M2M in ETSI takes place in our global standards initiative oneM2M which is developing technical specifications for a common M2M Service Layer that can be readily embedded within various hardware and software, and relied upon to connect the myriad of devices in the field with M2M application servers worldwide.

The oneM2M standards cover requirements, architecture, application programming interface (API) specifications, security solutions and mapping to common industry protocols such as CoAP, MQTT and HTTP. By building upon well-proven protocols that allow applications across industry segments to communicate with each other, oneM2M enables service providers to combine different IoT devices, technologies and applications, a critical feature in their efforts to provide services across a range of industries. oneM2M has already been used in service provider deployments in South Korea, Asia and Europe for smart city and transport system deployments.

Green smart cities

Our Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing committee (TC ATTM) and particularly the recently created working group ATTM SDMC (Sustainable Digital Multiservice Cities) is working towards the creation, development and maintenance of standards relating to the relationship between deployment of ICT systems and implementation of services within cities and communities.

Our Industry Specification Group on Operational energy Efficiency for Users (ISG OEU) is developing global Key Performance Indicators for green smart cities, covering both residential and office environments.


Our Human Factors committee (TC HF) produces standards to improve the accessibility of Information and Communications Technologies products and services, and is considering the implications of the development of smart devices and smart cities.

Smart City Framework

ETSI is also an active participant to the ESPRESSO Project (systEmic Standardisation apPRoach to Empower Smart citieS and cOmmunities) which focuses on the development of a conceptual Smart City Information Framework based on open standards and identification of relevant open standards, technologies and information models. The project will analyze potential gaps and overlaps among standards and will provide guidelines on how to effectively address these.

Context Information Management

Our Industry Specification Group on cross-sector Context Information Management (ISG CIM) develops technical specifications and reports to enable multiple organisations to develop interoperable software implementations of a cross-cutting Context Information Management (CIM) layer, for smart cities applications and beyond.


The following is a list of the 20 latest published ETSI standards on smart cities.

A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ETSI standards search. Via this interface you can also subscribe for alerts on updates of ETSI standards.

For work in progress see the ETSI Work Programme on the Portal.

Standard No. Standard title.
TR 103 290 Machine-to-Machine communications (M2M); Impact of Smart City Activity on IoT Environment