All IoT deployments should be structured to maximize public benefit and ensure financial, operational, and environmental sustainability.


5.1: Demonstrated need, business case, and public benefit (e.g. economic, social, and environmental outcomes) should be required prior to deployment of any new IoT devices or solutions. In addition, proof of concept should be required prior to citywide deployments.

5.2: Prior to deployment, the City and its partners shall identify all stakeholder and user groups (e.g. community residents and city employees) that will be impacted by the IoT solution and establish feedback mechanisms and methods of engagement for these groups. Before and during deployment, the City and its partners should also check for and address biases in the IoT solution (e.g. information asymmetries) that may result in unintended consequences (e.g. inequitable service delivery).

5.3: The City shall prioritize access to its assets and public networks for IoT device deployments that are distributed in an equitable manner and have the greatest public benefit. Public-private partnerships and business models that offset costs or generate revenue in ways aligned with greatest public benefit are encouraged but must be closely evaluated for risk.

5.4: All projects and associated contracts or agreements should outline the “who, what, where, when, why and how” of the implementation, operations, risk management, knowledge transfer, and maintenance of IoT systems. This should include clear definitions related to system and data ownership and responsibilities.

5.5: Solutions shall be designed to be flexible and responsive to evolving needs. Agreements should enable the addition of new functions and update of components over the life of the agreement at a fair and transparent cost.

5.6: Performance metrics should be maintained for solutions. Agreements should specify intended outcomes of a solution and levels of service and provide for penalties, modifications, or terminations of the agreement in the event that the solution does not perform.

5.7: The City and its partners should reuse infrastructures and components where possible, leverage citywide contracts or agreements, and develop solutions collaboratively among agencies to avoid duplicating existing solutions or functions and extract the greatest value from investments.

5.8: All components of a solution should be implemented in a modular manner, prioritizing open standards where possible, to ensure interoperability and prevent dependency on a single vendor.

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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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