City as a Platform Manifesto: Ten common principles driving smart city success

Cities are where digital ecosystems collide, and all signatories to TM Forum’s City as a Platform Manifesto are primed and prepared to help shape the future of these ecosystems. Signatories have agreed to follow ten common principles as they delve into the smart city market which alone is estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion by 2020. 

“As the world’s population expands and cities become denser, smart city programs are contributing to a better quality of life. However, technology by itself will not solve the challenges facing urban centers around the world,” said Carl Piva, VP and Managing Director of TM Forum’s smart city initiative.

“Instead a shared, collaborative approach between the public and private sectors is needed in the development of local data economies to create services that will improve lives.”

As well as a relentless focus on citizens, there is a huge untapped economic agenda to consider for city governments. Cities are, and always have been, the largest marketplaces on earth, and this a crucial time for cities to also develop digital marketplaces that benefit people living in cities.

Launched at this year’s Smart City InFocus event in Yinchuan, China, 50 major cities and government organizations signed the Manifesto including: 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.

Jamie Cudden, Head of Smart Dublin commented, “The manifesto’s focus on collaboration and openness will help cities to realize this ambition [of improving life in the city]. In Dublin, we see the City as a Platform as a key enabler to develop evidence-based solutions that will enhance city living.”

The principles

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:

  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.”

Open APIs

The FIWARE foundation, an independent technology body, worked with TM Forum to deliver the Manifesto’s platform architecture and Open API definitions, which Thierry Souche, Senior Vice President of Orange Labs Services and Group CIO, said would, “unleash innovation and help cities to become truly smart.”

“Open Standard APIs are crucial to foster a sustainable investment by solution providers, particularly SMEs and start-ups, who can target a digital market where their solutions can be interoperable with others’ and portable across cities,” stated Ulrich Ahle, Chief Executive Officer, FINWARE.

FIWARE is also collaborating with TM Forum to deliver the components that support the transition from traditional open data approaches to advanced data economy concepts. Access to this level of information will be key in helping to transform cities into engines of growth.

Supporting these comments, and the Manifesto overall, Martin Brynskov, Chair of Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) added: “A thriving global market that really caters for local needs is only wishful thinking without a strong common ground: open standards, open APIs, open architectures.”

TM Forum’s City as a Platform Manifesto can be found and signed at More information about the Smart City InFocus event, attended by 1,000 people from 70 countries, which runs from 19-21 September in Yinchuan, China is available here.


    About The Author


    Arti has been writing and editing for seven years in the fields of technology, business and finance. She is particularly interested in how firms are innovating to bring us into the next digital age.

    Leave A Reply

    Back to top