Today more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and 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 management.

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) play an important role in connecting these resources, securely managing the massive amounts of data generated, and providing the relevant services that are required.

A ‘smart city’ uses digital technologies to:

  • engage more effectively and actively with its citizens
  • enhance the city performance and the wellbeing of the citizens
  • reduce operational costs and the city resource consumption
  • generate new business opportunities and increase the attractiveness of the city
  • and much more ...

The creation of smart cities will only be achieved with a holistic approach, supported by globally acceptable standards that enable fully interoperable solutions that can be deployed and replicated at scale.

CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Sector Forum on Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities

ETSI is a member of the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Sector Forum on Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SF-SSCC).

The CEN-CENELEC-ETSI SF-SSCC, created in January 2017, is a long-term joint group of the ESOs (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) that acts as an advisory and coordinating body for European standardization activities related to smart and sustainable cities and communities.

The tasks of the group include:

  • Liaise with relevant international initiatives (i.e. ISO, IEC and ITU) and prepare an overview on suitable standards already publicly available at national, European and international level
  • Analyse and recommend standards for development, implementation, adaptation, or revision by CEN, CENELEC and ETSI
  • Organize events on standardization activities for smart and sustainable cities open to relevant stakeholders in order to collect needs and share best practice
  • Liaise and coordinate with relevant European initiatives (such as for example the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities)
  • Identify and give due consideration to European innovation/research projects which might have an impact
  • Advise stakeholders on any strategic issues and developments concerning standardization on SSCC
  • Inform on latest legislative developments occurring at the EC level (if any) and on the status of standardization work undertaken by relevant European Technical Bodies
  • Propose actions to raise awareness of the ESOs on the importance of standards as a key element for a smart and sustainable development of cities and communities across Europe

The SF-SSCC activities are built upon the initial results and recommendations produced by the original Smart and Sustainable Coordination Group (SSCC-CG).

Our Role & Activities

We are working on several aspects of smart cities:

Smart Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications

Smart Cities has become the most important  interoperability Use Case for the Internet of Things since it is by default requiring a cross-domain interworking. ETSI TC SmartM2M provides (with oneM2M that collaborates with 3GGP) a comprehensive standardization-based solution including, among other, IoT Semantic Interoperability (SAREF developped by ETSI in TC SmartM2M).

Much of the work relating to M2M/IoT in ETSI takes place in our global standards initiative oneM2M and 3GPP. oneM2M is developing technical specifications for a common M2M/IoT 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/IoT 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 M2M/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 the world and in Europe for smart city and transport system deployments.

Green smart cities

Our Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing committee (TC ATTM) and particularly the working group ATTM SDMC (Sustainable Digital Multiservice Communities) 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. This committee is working on efficient ICT waste management in sustainable communities.

Our Industry Specification Group on Operational energy Efficiency for Users (ISG OEU) is supporting development of standards for efficient sustainable communities, e.g. efficient engineering and global Key Performance Indicators for green smart cities, covering both residential and office environments.

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.

Standardization to meet citizen and consumer requirements

Standards are confusing for cities in the first place, and the needs of the citizen including:

  • usability
  • accessibility, or
  • data security

are not often taken into account.

ETSI’s Human Factors Technical Committee has released a Technical Report giving an overview of standardization relating to the needs of inhabitants of (or visitors to) smart cities and communities. The Report explores how links between local communities and standardization can be improved and make appropriate recommendations to standards bodies, cities and policy-makers.

See the dedicated website for more details about this project.


A list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ETSI standards search.