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BIS’ new reference architecture for smart cities adopts Open Group ArchiMate specification

Submitted by scc india staff on May 7, 2021

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral technology consortium, announced the adoption of the ArchiMate® specification, a standard of The Open Group, in the publication of India’s ICT Reference Architecture for Smart Cities (ICTRA), marking a milestone for accelerating smart cities initiatives globally.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), alongside city administrations in the country, has developed the ICTRA (Indian Standard IS18000:2020), which makes the internationally recognized ArchiMate® specification available for smart cities applications across India. The ICTRA has been designed to address real issues that cities are aiming to solve through digital technology, providing a shared framework to improve interoperability and enable vendors to commodify solutions.

The ArchiMate® specification is an open and independent modeling language for Enterprise Architecture that is supported by different tool vendors and consulting firms. The standard provides instruments to enable enterprise architects to describe, analyse, and visualize the relationships among business domains in an unambiguous way.

Integrating diverse systems, enabling collaboration between stakeholders, and needing to reinvent the wheel are common challenges for smart cities initiatives. The ICTRA ensures that components can talk to each other and deliver overarching functionality beyond their standalone purpose, in the same way that businesses design enterprise architecture to define processes and information flows across their functions.

The ICTRA complements the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology’s India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) framework initiative, which is itself based on The Open Group TOGAF® Standard, the globally used enterprise architecture framework, creating a cohesive approach across the country’s civic digitalization strategy.

Dr Pallab Saha, Chief Architect at The Open Group India, commented, “The size, diversity, and complexity of its cities makes India the perfect environment for the ICTRA’s development. As smart cities initiatives mature, there is now a clear need for an open digital ecosystem that brings cohesion to the innovation and sets the stage for a true city-as-a-platform approach. IndEA is already making a big difference in the country’s digitalization journey, with TOGAF certified architects being recruited nationwide, and the ICTRA will help push that further and wider into our urban spaces.”

Member organizations of The Open Group, which have been involved with the development of the ICTRA, include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, L&T Infotech, SAP, Schneider Electric, Siemens, and TCS. In developing the reference architecture, the standard has aimed to create a framework which encourages the evolution of smart cities towards an ecosystem which offers:

  • Interoperability: enabling components from diverse suppliers to work together
  • Composability: enabling complex systems to be built from simpler discrete components
  • Harmonization: enabling compatibility between all technologies in ecosystem

By enabling ongoing evolution in smart cities initiatives, with the opportunity to add or change components as needs require, the ICTRA avoids the risks of monolithic approaches to urban digitalization. At the same time, it provides a sandbox environment in which vendors and authorities can develop proof-of-concept applications which can then be shared across municipalities.

Steve Nunn, President and CEO of The Open Group commented, “The publication of the ICTRA is a significant step towards fully-realized smart cities, not just in India, but across the world. The value of a smart city lies in its potential to improve residents’ day-to-day lives – and this relies on a consistent experience across many digital services managing everything from waste, to transport, and recreation. The ICTRA makes that possible, as well as offering a unique opportunity for cities in every geography to share solutions and learn from one another.”

The Open Group is a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards. Our diverse membership of more than 800 organizations includes customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tool vendors, integrators, academics, and consultants across multiple industries.