OASC broadens smart city horizons with Open APIs

Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) has officially adopted TM Forum’s Open Application Program Interfaces (Open APIs), the groups announced this week at the Smart City World Expo in Barcelona.

OACS is a non-profit smart cities initiative, focused on creating a smart city market, and like TM Forum, promotes and fosters the use of a shared set of methods. For smart cities in particular, OASC takes this approach to develop systems and make them interoperable across a single city as well as between multiple cities.

“Underpinning a city’s digital platform architecture with the Forum Open APIs means cities can rest assured that their digital roadmap is open and interoperable,” said Joann O’Brien, TM Forum Vice President for APIs and Ecosystems. “By adopting best practice from the communications industry, cities are readying themselves to manage scalability and agility in their digital ecosystems.”

A history of interoperability

The Forum’s Open APIs enable developers, enterprises, organizations, cities, suppliers and partners to share and leverage each other’s data and services, and more readily create new products, applications and services. Once such example is our Milton Keynes data hub catalyst project.

As one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities, Milton Keynes’ economy is set to grow 64 percent by 2026, thus its infrastructure is under strain. Milton Keynes needs to find ways to support sustainable growth, while meeting key carbon reduction targets.

Central to this drive is the creation of a state-of-the-art MK Data Hub, as part of the government-funded MK:Smart initiative. The MK Hub brings together end users, service providers such as energy and water companies, governments, sensor network providers, data providers and developers.

All the sensor data, from traffic flow to waste bin/trash can information is pulled into the data hub. Developers can access and use it to create smart applications. Other parties, like government departments, can also pull useful reports from the data, such as how many parking spaces are typically occupied at a certain time.

The implementation uses APIs aligned to the TM Forum Rest API guidelines. As MK:Smart puts it, “[Many] of the functions of the MK Data Hub are centered around smart APIs that re-deliver the data in a common, homogeneous and convenient way for the developers of data-intensive applications.”

The way forward

So it’s clear that APIs will be crucial in enabling the kind of interoperability that will connect smart cities. The massive amounts of data being generated and shared through APIs means that smart cities can become hugely evidence-based, even influencing policy decisions.

“TM Forum’s Open API approach resonates with cities in their quest of digital transformation towards a smarter and more connected world, while balancing all the challenges that follow,” says Martin Brynskov, Chair, OASC.

Carl Piva, Vice President and Head of the Smart City Forum at TM Forum, added that the move was “a tremendously important step forward for cities around the world, and for the city ecosystem at large.

“By using the same building blocks, cities can get easy access to a shared marketplace of solutions and ideas.”

Read more about some of TM Forum’s other Catalyst projects.


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    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.

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