James is the chair of the Standards Australia IT-269 committee responsible for IEC Electrotechnical and Electrotechnology Smart City Systems.
He is also the IEC Smart City Systems Head of Delegation for Australia and convenor of a recently established international global advisory group that scans, tracks and maps the impact of technology and megatrends on cities as they transform to become smarter more sustainable cities.
James has more than two decades of experience successfully leading service transformations in the UK, Europe and Australia. Examples include a secure guest Wi-Fi global service (eduroam), unified collaboration platforms, collaborative storage, cyber security and professional services.
In 2020, James founded Smart Footprints a carbon neutral consulting, advisory and managed services company bringing together Internet and Data expertise and applying this to Smart Sustainable Cities. The aim being to develop and adopt “smart” standards that can meaningfully progress a much-needed transition in the way we work, rest and play in a sustainable way.
James is an active volunteer with interests in extending smart city practices to be inclusive, especially to support the vulnerable such as the poor, homeless and refugees and in the use of technology and systems to accelerate the recovery of our natural environment for all living creatures for future generations.
When and why did you become involved in standards development?
I attended the first Smart Cities Committee meeting at Standards Australia’s offices in Sydney in 2019. I was curious to know more about Smart cities because Australia is one of the most urbanised populations globally and had the opportunity to utilise smart technology and sustainability in new and innovative ways. The development of smart cities is complex one that started in the mid 2010’s. It involves multiple process and technology-based standards and requires considerable coordination. The market is a moving target and involves three tiers of government, including many LGAs in a single city. My involvement was to support the opportunity to make a positive difference to support community wellbeing, economic prosperity and corporate social responsibility outcomes and impacts.
How do standards impact and interact with your industry?
Smart Campuses in Higher Education are great examples of how universities transform to create a sustainable personalised student experience. Unfortunately, when students step off campus, that experience is often degraded. Cities and Universities can work together to accelerate efficient procurement practices with best practice governance, planning and implementation to secure expected benefits for the short and long term.
Why is access to standards important?
Standards provide industry and start-up investment with certainty to scale new solutions and for consumers to have confidence in purchasing. Standards also reduce duplication of effort and waste. Smart Cities standards development is unique in bringing an ecosystem of representative experts to solve significant issues and exploit new opportunities nationally and globally. Whether it is standardising digital twin, IoT and geospatial planning to sustainable building development and integrated building and digital service systems to interoperable privacy-controlled data to improve our lives, work and play.
What is the future of standardisation in your area of work?
Smart city standards need even greater coordination across standards bodies from the IEC, ISO, ITU and UN. They are growing in working group size and effort, leading to degrees of overlap. Standards need a visionary narrative at the national level that goes beyond a technology or data niche. Standards need to be more modular so that cities can plug practices together to be fit for purpose to their unique context, wants, needs and capabilities. Standards will be less of an aspirational one size fits all, more so a playbook of practice built on an open, interoperable, secure and trusted data platform. I hope that standards be less tech and more sustainable and human and community-centric as cities are defined ultimately by their people, security, needs, and wants.