London mayor launches smart tech initiatives

Sadiq Khan unveils centres to support technology innovation and clean tech start-ups

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared an ambition for London to become the world’s leading smart city, along with the launch of two initiatives to support the development of technology for the sector.

Sadiq KhanTo mark the launch of London Tech Week, he yesterday unveiled a technology innovation centre named Plexal and an incubator dedicated to products that can combat climate change.

“My ambition now is to harness the new technologies that are being pioneered right here to transform London into the world’s leading smart city,” Khan said.

“The potential for cutting edge technology to tackle a host of social, economic and environmental challenges is immeasurable.  From air pollution and climate change to housing and transport, new technologies and data science will be at the heart of the long term solutions to urban challenges.”

The Plexal centre will support up to 800 technology start-ups and multinational companies  at the Here East location, providing 68,000 square feet of space and built on the principles of a mini city.

Its chief executive officer, Claire Cockerton, said it will provide a hub to support inventive enterprise with a culture of collaboration

Low carbon effort

The £1.6m clean tech incubator, named Better Futures, should provide support for 100 London based small businesses in the development of low carbon and clean tech products to deal with the causes and effects of climate change.

Its foundation is aimed at kickstarting the development of a clean tech cluster for London, developing a hub for low carbon industries in the capital.

According to a recent report by IESE Centre for Globalisation and Strategy, London is already Europe’s leading smart city, and is second only to New York in the global rankings.

In his speech, Khan reaffirmed his pledge to appoint London’s first chief digital officer to work with the Smart London Board, local authorities and the technology sector.

The Mayor’s Office is also scoping the potential for a new London Office of Technology and Innovation to provide a place where London’s boroughs can come together to share best practice, build collaboration and drive solutions to the challenges they face.