The Mayor of London has launched Smarter London Together

This roadmap is intended to make London ‘the smartest city in the world’.

London is the tech capital of Europe – by size, level of investment and the presence of more than a third of Europe’s billion-dollar ‘unicorn’ companies. The capital is home to 46,000 tech companies, supporting 240,000 jobs in an ecosystem worth an estimated $44bn.

This has grown at pace – between 2006 and 2016 London’s digital sector recorded 77 per cent employment growth and a 90 per cent rise in the number of digital enterprises. And business is booming too – with tech turnover reaching £56bn in 2016, measuring a 106 per cent increase over five years.

London is a hub for CleanTech, GovTech, Digital Health, EdTech, innovations in mobility, as well as the global hub for FinTech, LegalTech and professional services needed to support innovation. The city is also the European capital of AI, with over 750 suppliers in the city – double the number of Paris and Berlin combined – primed to innovate with the city’s data.

It leads the world in research and development (R&D), having produced companies such as Deepmind – a world leader in AI, and Improbable – a world leader in virtual reality technology which raised the largest venture capital investment in UK tech history with a £502m investment led by Softbank.

London is also home to many cultural, academic and civil society institutions that are thought-leaders in this field. Examples include the Open Data Institute, Nesta, the Catapults and London’s internationally recognised universities and innovation centres.

Promoters such as London & Partners – the Mayor’s official promotion agency – Tech London Advocates, TechUK and Tech Nation regularly gather London’s founders and funders to network the tech sector in the capital. The capital is also home to Founders for the Future and Europe’s largest tech-for-good community, using digital technologies and data to tackle social challenges.

In the future, London is seen as a global test-bed city for innovation where the best ideas – e.g. from the AI sector – are developed with the highest standards for privacy and security, and spread around the world.

Smarter London Together is intended to be a flexible digital masterplan for the city. This roadmap sets out how the Mayor wants to collaborate with the capital’s boroughs and services, from TfL to the NHS, and to work more effectively with the tech community, universities and other cities.

The Mayor will do this in five missions: design, data sharing, connectivity, skills, and collaboration.

The five missions

More user-designed services

Mission 1: More user-designed services

  • leadership in design and common standards to put users at the heart of what we do
  • develop new approaches to digital inclusion to support Londoners’ access to public services
  • launch the Civic Innovation Challenge to spur innovation from the tech sector
  • explore new civic platforms to engage citizens and communities better
  • promote more diversity in tech to address inequality
More user-designed services

Mission 2: Strike a new deal for city data

  • launch the London Office for Data Analytics (LODA) programme to increase data sharing and collaboration for the benefit of Londoners
  • develop a city-wide cyber security strategy to coordinate responses to cyber-threats to businesses, public services and citizens
  • strengthen data rights and accountability to build trust in how public data is used
  • support an open ecosystem to increase transparency and innovation
World-class connectivity and smarter streets

Mission 3: World-class connectivity and smarter streets

  • launch a new Connected London programme to coordinate connectivity and 5G projects
  • consider planning powers, like requiring full fibre to the home for all new developments, to enhance connectivity in the future
  • enhance public wifi in streets and public buildings to assist those who live, work and visit London
  • support a new generation of smart infrastructure through major combined procurements
  • promote common standards with smart tech to maximise benefits
More user-designed services

Mission 4: Enhance digital leadership and skills

  • enhance digital and data leadership to make public services more open to innovation
  • develop workforce digital capability through the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Strategy
  • support computing skills and the digital talent pipeline Londoners from early years onwards
  • recognise the role of cultural institutions engaging citizens in the digital world
Mission 5: Improve city-wide collaboration

Mission 5: Improve city-wide collaboration

  • establish a London Office of Technology & Innovation (LOTI) to support common capabilities and standards for future innovation
  • promote MedTech innovation in the NHS and social care to improve treatment
  • explore new partnerships with the tech sector and business models
  • support better GLA Group digital delivery to improve effectiveness
  • collaborate with other cities in the UK and globally to adopt and share what works

The Smarter London Together roadmap is a non-statutory document adopted by the Mayor of London. The roadmap builds on the last Smart London Plan in 2013 (updated in 2016) and is a new approach based on collaborative missions. It calls for the city’s 33 local authorities and public services to work and collaborate better with data and digital technologies, and helps to realise the seven statutory Mayoral strategies in transport, the environment, health inequalities, housing, culture, economic development and the London Plan.

Some of the projects implemented in accordance with the roadmap include the London Datastore, CleanTech, FlexLondon, Energy for Londoners, Met Police interactive dashboards, Sharing Cities, London Ventures, and others.

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About David Carrigan

David Carrigan writes about advanced technologies, covering primarily the topic of blockchain application in business.

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