These guidelines provide a framework to help government and our partners use connected devices and IoT technologies in a coordinated, consistent and responsible manner. They are intended to supplement – not replace – existing laws, rules, and regulations that apply to these systems. Special circumstances and concerns may also exist for IoT systems and/or data related to public safety, security and law enforcement.


The IoT Guidelines were created with four primary goals:


Provide a common framework to help government agencies develop and expand policies and procedures related to IoT.


Maximize transparency and openness regarding the design, installation and operation of IoT systems and how public privacy and safety will be protected.


Provide clarity on the minimum requirements and expectations for installing and operating IoT systems using public space or assets.


Advance the public dialogue about how government, the private sector and academic partners can maximize the public benefit derived from IoT solutions.


By 2020, it is estimated that the number of connected devices (commonly referred to as the Internet of Things or IoT) will exceed 50 billion.1 In the urban environment, these new technologies are transforming city life and helping pave the way for a more sustainable, resilient and equitable future.

When used effectively, connected devices – like sensors that capture pollution in the air or lights that only turn on when someone is in the room – can produce cost savings, bolster civic engagement, and strengthen public health and safety.  IoT will also drive new economic opportunity and business development.

The expansion of connected devices can also carry significant challenges and risks for cities.  Mitigating this risk requires that government play a hands-on role in establishing frameworks and standards, monitoring the expansion of IoT, and maximizing the public benefit derived from these new technologies.


These guidelines are the product of extensive research and engagement with stakeholders from the public, private and academic community led by the New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. In partnership with a team of consultants, the office surveyed government agencies, offices and departments around the world regarding their use of sensor technologies and other IoT deployments, cataloguing laws, policies, planning documents and contract language to identify commonalities, inconsistencies, opportunities for improvement, and model practices.

Based on this research, more than 450 best practices were identified and consolidated into a preliminary set of guidelines. These guidelines were reviewed by subject matter experts from universities, regulatory and standards bodies, public interest groups, private companies, and city governments around the world before being condensed into the final set of guidelines that appear on this website.


These guidelines are intended to serve as a jumping off point for government agencies and partners as we design, install and roll-out new IoT systems using public space or assets.

In some cases, these guidelines may be able to be implemented fairly easily out-of-the-gate. In other cases, new policies, procedures, and resources will need to be developed and may take time.  Special circumstances and concerns may also exist for IoT systems and/or data related to public safety, security and law enforcement.  As new tools – for example, operational checklists, contract templates, inventories, and sample agreements – are developed, they will be added to this site on a semi-annual basis.

The IoT guidelines are a living document and exist in perpetual “beta” – as such, we will continually collect feedback and monitor their use, making adjustments and additions as necessary so that the guidelines remain as valuable and useful as possible for city government and other stakeholders.


The New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer is grateful for all the individuals and groups who contributed towards the development of these guidelines.

American Civil Liberties Union

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

City of Amsterdam

City of Valencia, Spain

City of Paris

Columbia University

European Commission, DG CONNECT

Forum Virium Helsinki




International Data Corporation

National Institute of Standards and Technology

NYC Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services

NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection

NYC Dept. of Information Technology and Telecommunications

NYC Dept. of Transportation

NYC Law Department

NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics

NYC Office of the Counsel to the Mayor

NYC Police Department



Schneider Electric

Smart Dubai

Tata Consultancy Services



These guidelines are designed to continually evolve and improve over time — we welcome and appreciate all feedback. We also invite cities to join the effort by committing to our guiding principles for the responsible and equitable deployment of smart city technologies. Contact us to learn more.

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