About TC 2.0

Technical Committee 2.0

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By Georges ZISSIS, Chair, IEEE Smart Cities Pilot Technical Community 2.0.

The growth of IEEE Smart Cities (SCT) has continued, to an uninterrupted way from its graduation from the Future Directions Committee (FDC) in 2016, to even under the last 2-years sad pandemic conditions. Today, IEEE SCT begins a process of transformation towards an IEEE sustainable entity; its ambitions to be the very first ever IEEE 2nd generation Technical Community.
If you want to know more about that unique process, understanding the key steps, finding out why IEEE is so strongly supporting SCT, or how SCT will serve IEEE's strategic plan, and finally participate to the process, please continue reading this article!

What is the “2nd Generation IEEE Technical Community” concept and what does it bring to IEEE Smart Cities?
In early 2021, the IEEE TAB Management Committee (TMC) set up an Ad Hoc Committee - Technical Community 2.0 - to build an overall plan for a stable framework to support current and future Technical Communities via an improved “Technical Community 2.0” (the 2nd Gen-TC) path. The objectives of this operation are manyfold and perfectly fit with IEEE strategic growth plans:
  • To boost the growth of Technical Communities, within a new or emerging technical area, toward a self-sustainable form.
  • Create new cross-collaborative engagement in an emerging technical area. Indeed, TC 2.0 process is foreseen as a less formal way to connect multiple Societies/Councils around an emerging topic.
  • Improve IEEE’s engagement with industry and other outside institutions.

After reviewing the framework, the TAB Management Committee (TMC) in October 2021, approved a “pilot test” of one TC 2.0 based on the principles developed above, for one year, to finalize the proposal and governance language for approval by TMC and TAB in November 2022. This pilot was IEEE Smart Cities!
Thanks to the very successful implementation of the process at the pilot level, TMC in November 2022, unanimously approved the continuation of IEEE Smart Cities as the very first ever “IEEE Technical Community 2.0 Pilot”. This is the starting point for a 5 to 7-year maturation process designed carefully by the TC 2.0 Committee. The final objective, when the maturation ends, the process will lead to the final formation of either, an autonomous inter-Operating Unit Technical Community 2.0 if approved by TAB, or, fully integrate into an existing Operating Unit (Society or Council).

More concrete, during the maturation process, IEEE SCT is authorized to initiate and (co)own certain assets as well as have more flexibility to manage its finances. These new activities will increase financial appeal and sustainability of IEEE SCT by the end of its maturation period. Further, IEEE SCT will transfer from one year to the next a portion of its generated financial surplus that can be accessed to generate new activities and projects. This is a great deal, but the challenge is also important!

Beginning January 1, 2023, the IEEE SCT Steering Committee (which will become the “SCT Board of Governors”) must initiate a whole series of actions that include among others:

  • Design a new governance scheme and filling various positions
  • Define SCT’s vision and mission statements and set our Field-of-Interest
  • Create SCT governing documents (Constitution, Bylaws and Operating Manuals)
  • Build a budget and implement that into IEEE financial mechanisms and tools
  • Amplify SCT growth by creating new events, publications and seeding a SCT Standards committee compliant with IEEE SA rules
  • Amplify SCT communications strategy
  • Build new alliances and partnerships with both IEEE Operating Units or/and non-IEEE entities including industry
To achieve these very ambitious objectives, we need volunteers to be actively involved in the various committees and propose new actions! The success of IEEE SCT maturation to a 2nd-gen TC is lying strongly on our members, IEEE SCT needs you!
Stay tuned to IEEE SCT communication channels to follow various open calls for volunteering.
Note that all IEEE Participating Society Members are automatically SCT members and can participate in this unique adventure. Further, IEEE SCT will be open to allow non-IEEE Participating Society Members to join by request.
Why is the concept of Smart Cities so important to be strongly supported by IEEE?
Today, beyond the fact that the human population is increasing with an average annual rate of 1.09%, cities attract more and more people. The United Nations estimated in 2018 that the populations of the world's cities with 500,000 inhabitants or more grew at an average annual rate of 2.4%. The projections show that by 2050, 2/3’s of the world population will be condensed in urban areas. In today’s cities, five trends in particular are creating new challenges for city leaders globally:
  • Urbanization across the globe
  • Surging demand for energy and resources
  • Increasing energy costs and more recently the global economic slowdown
  • Cities’ desire to establish a strong identity
  • Growing connectivity

“Smarty city” concept is a robust answer to all those challenges. Indeed, the smart city is a new concept of urban development. It is about improving the quality of life of city dwellers by making the city more adaptive and efficient, using new technologies that rely on an ecosystem of objects and services. The scope covering this new way of managing cities includes: public infrastructure (buildings, urban furniture, home automation, etc.), networks (water, electricity, gas, telecoms); transport (public transport, smart roads and cars, carpooling, so-called soft mobility - by bike, on foot, etc.); e-services and e-administrations.  

A smart city incorporates the combination of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and information and communication technology (ICT) in a secure manner to manage a city's assets. New technologies create opportunities to develop new urban services, aimed at improving the operational performance of cities, offering more transparency and interactions with citizens, and reducing the environmental impact of territories. The other way round, smart cities can transform the life and work of its inhabitants, both economically and socially. Making abstraction of the human being which is part of the smart system, from the technological point of view only, smart cities rely on smart grids for energy; smart buildings that include homes, tertiary buildings and commercial centers; smart infrastructure that includes roads, tunnels, parking lots, and any type of urban stations and ports. Add to that smart mobility with smart vehicles and smart traffic control. This is very complex “system of systems”.

As of 2011, there was no smart city. However, ten years later there is an “explosion” of more or less ambitious projects worldwide. That way, more than 500 projects have been encountered since 2011. Singapore tops the Smart City Index 2021 which lists the cities most involved in technology, well ahead of Zurich and Oslo. Singapore is also advanced in ecological, health and societal issues. With an annual growth rate of 13.6%, the “Smart Cities” Market size is projected to reach $3,300 billion by 2025.
All these points show the growing importance of Smart Cities for our world and their role during the next decade.  

However, what if the smart city was first and foremost a political project: For local authorities, developing a smart territory, smart city or smart district project makes it possible to strengthen the involvement of citizens but engages new responsibilities (on data management in particular) and requires new skills. This creates new job opportunities and industrial growth. Further, today, digitalization is no longer a “nice-to-have” for cities and districts. The digital, agile, and flexible cities of tomorrow manage costs, support the efficient use of all resources, and easily adapts to changing demands, in this way remaining attractive for residents and businesses in the long term.

Last, but not least, in recent years, the rise of digital technology has revolutionized the way of thinking about the city, and more broadly the territories. Smart cities and smart territories hold the promise of more “economical”, “sustainable” and “safer” urban planning. For sure, Smart City concept concurs to reduce environmental footprint of our cities, however are smart cities really sustainable?

In fact, there is an important difference between “Smart City” and “Sustainable City”. The second is defined as cities that are built on eco-friendly basis. These may not necessarily include “intelligent” systems but are built more on an energy-efficient or environment-friendly objective.

In fact, extrapolating the Sustainable Development definition, Sustainable Smart Cities shall use existing technology to the smartest way in order to respond to the different needs without compromising the innovation capacity of the future generations!

Smart Cities is a very complex technological system of systems, that should include the human behavior and, often, unpredictable reactions, thus it is a societal object… It is also a political project… It is a major economic growth tool… It impacts every day’s life and interacts with humans…  So many aspects, so many questions, so many possibilities, so many impacts, so many potential benefits and dangers… Only a collective cross-discipline effort can treat all these aspects and questions.