How should tech transform life in London?

23 January 2018

Mayor Sadiq Khan is seeking views from the tech community and Londoners on how technology should shape the future of life in the capital, as he outlined his vision for London to become the world’s leading “smart city”.

The Smart London Plan is being developed by the capital’s first Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell and the Mayor’s new Smart London Board and will be launched at London Tech Week in June.

Sadiq is calling on the capital’s vibrant tech sector to share views on how boroughs and the public sector can foster better digital collaboration, data sharing, improved connectivity and boost digital skills - while ensuring technology is designed around Londoners’ needs.

Becoming the world’s leading smart city would see London be the global home of the data economy, seize the benefits of the latest artificial intelligence, and inspire a new generation of inventors to improve life in the capital, the Mayor said.

Tech has already vastly changed life in London, with innovations in place including:

  • Apps which make mobile payments easier and give real-time information on travel, events, roadworks and disruptions
  • Body-worn video cameras, which allow the Met to gather evidence in real time  
  • Air quality sensors providing a more accurate picture of atmospheric pollution
  • Oyster and contactless ticketing, which has inspired similar systems worldwide since being introduced in 2003

Future innovations may include:

  • Smarter use of data to plan bus routes by tracking the changing way people move around London
  • Crowdsourcing pollution data and using this to update Londoners about their local air quality in real time

Sadiq said: “I’ve been clear in my ambition for London to become the world’s leading smart city – and I want to know how this technology is affecting Londoners’ lives and to understand in what ways we can build on this with new technologies in the future.”

“London’s thriving tech sector – already the envy of cities around the world – has a huge role to play here. They will have an important voice in developing the Smart London Plan and it’s these companies which will provide the necessary creativity to make these plans a reality,” he said.

The call comes as Transport for London made a major bid for government funding to tackle “not-spots” – areas of poor internet provision – and extend fibre-optic connectivity on the Underground.

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