TM Forum, Labcities partnership casts a wider net

“Knowledge exchange will accelerate and business opportunity will multiply,” as a result of TM Forum’s recently extended partnership with the Labcities smart city network and marketplace, says the network’s Co-founder Joan Torres.

The partnership means that Labcities’ 30,000 smart city, internet of things (IoT), and digital innovation experts and engineers can take advantage of the Forum’s widespread collaboration network of 850 member companies. Labcities will nevertheless continue to operate as an independent entity.

This is not only a positive step, but a much-needed one as smart city service providers and city governments accelerate the pace of innovation. They need to find ways of connecting the smart city ecosystem that go beyond what any one organization is capable of offering on its own.

TM Forum’s own work in smart cities began four years ago, and has steadily developed as more and more cities, universities, businesses and citizens have engaged in the concept. In parallel Labcities’ network and influence has also developed.

This ‘coalition’ of sorts, “offers interesting new ways for smart city practitioners to play an active part of an open community, in a space that will see growth and increased focus over years to come,” according to Carl Piva, TM Forum Vice President and newly appointed Board Member of Labcities.

The power of partnering

In these early days of smart city development, there is no one route to cultivating success; it’s more about helping players within smart city ecosystem collaborate to share knowledge and generate a common language and standards to help all the partners grow. The positive effects of this kind of collaboration are evident across many of the Forum’s initiatives:

The City of Limerick: Finding a common language

The City of Limerick used  TM Forum’s Smart City Maturity & Benchmark Model  to develop strategies for how Limerick can best use digital technologies to support its economic, social and physical development plans and lay the foundation for Smart Limerick.

“The main benefit for us is that the core stakeholders now have a shared understanding of the digital Limerick vision and what the Limerick digital strategy sets out to achieve,” said Dr. Mihai Bilauca, Head of Digital Strategy at the City of Limerick. “This is critical for the successful collaborative development of Smart Limerick.”

Connected Citizen: Life in a Green, Clean, Smart City

This Catalyst project focused on the creation of a new service provider business platform for delivering innovative and secured smart services to improve the quality of life and safety of all citizens. Initially, the Catalyst focused on geo-fencing and digital tracking to automate and provide savings in the home, according to Randy Frantz of ESRI, one of the key members of the group.

“Now this is expanding to cities and we can demonstrate that they can deliver a host of IoT-type services through the platform that we have created within TM Forum,” he added. “We have created a smart city ‘think tank’ and are meeting with seven cities at the moment. In fact, we are looking to harden the architecture of the platform, add a cyber-fraud detection and prevention layer, align it with the TM Forum Platform Model (Digital Platform Reference Architecture), and work with a city on a real implementation of a smart life service.”

Ultimately, this project will deliver a platform for service providers to design and offer new products faster to residents, cities and businesses, while improving the quality of life for all.

Smart life: My city, my home, my planet

This award-winning Catalyst project developed ways to provide IoT services on a single integrated platform, and as a final step is taking it to market.

“We needed to think about a process for our journey to go to market,” says Christian Maître, CIO Deputy in Charge of IT Excellence at Orange, the project’s champion. “We wanted some kind of think tank to ask potential future customers of this kind of product for their opinion – about the way they would like to use [the platform]and the way they would like to monetize it. The first step was which market we should focus on and we decided on smart city.”

As a result, the team has eight representatives from smart cities around the world and has held workshops to find the best use cases.

The City of Utrecht recently joined the think tank. “It is nice to meet other cities who are struggling with the same kind of things and it’s good to get a common understanding of them and try to create solutions that are replicable,” said Thomas Kruse, Senior Policy Maker on Smart Cities, City of Utrecht.

Learn more about our Catalyst proof-of-concept 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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