Mark SayManaging EditorWednesday 24 January 2018

London Mayor launches smart city ‘listening exercise’

Sadiq Khan calls for views from public and tech industry to support development of Smart London Plan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for the tech industry and members of the public to come up with ideas for using digital technology in supporting its smart city development.

Sadiq KhanHe has launched a “listening exercise” to feed into the Smart London Plan, which is currently being developed by the city’s chief digital officer Theo Blackwell and the new Smart London Board.

It is focused on five areas: improving collaboration between London’s public authorities and the tech sector; sharing data and building security and public trust in how it is used; improving the city’s connectivity and preparing for the use of 5G networks; equipping Londoners with digital skills and remaining open for talent; and making London a leader in the use of responsible, open and inclusive technology.

“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,” Khan said.

“We want London to be the global home of the data economy, to seize the benefits of new artificial intelligence, and inspire a new generation of inventors and developers to make our city even better. “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.

“The capital’s public services have an excellent track record of breaking new ground with tech which makes a positive impact on people’s lives. Now my forthcoming Smart London Plan will show how data and digital technologies can deliver my vision for a more inclusive London.”

June launch

The Smart London Plan will be developed with Bloomberg Associates and launched at London Tech Week in June.

Khan is also supporting a bid by Transport for London (TfL), backed by a group of London councils, for funding to tackle internet ‘not spots’ and provide better digital connectivity. If successful, the funding, from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, would be used to extend already planned full fibre optic connectivity on the underground network to public buildings near to tube stations.

The announcement also pointed towards the smarter use of data to plan bus routes by tracking the changing way people move around London, as well as crowdsourcing pollution data and using this to update Londoners about local air quality in real time.

Image from the Greater London Authority