Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has set out ambitious plans to turn the capital into the world's leading 'smart city'– with digital technology at the heart – as he opened the London Tech Week festival.
London is already Europe’s leading smart city and is second only to New York in the global rankings. But mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said he wanted to put the city in pole position by putting digital technology and data at the heart of the capital.
Mr Khan said technology was essential to solving many of the biggest economic, social and environmental challenges, and he called on the global tech community to help tackle issues such air pollution, housing and transport.“As mayor of this great city – the best city in the world – it fills me with pride to see our tech sector thriving. New technologies are having an enormous impact on our way of life – reshaping our societies, our economies and our culture,” he said.“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.“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.”
Mr Khan unveiled a new £1.6 million clean tech incubator called Better Futures that will help 100 London-based small businesses to deliver low-carbon and clean-tech products to tackle the causes and effects of climate change. Better Futures will help kick start the development of a clean-tech cluster for London, developing a hub for low-carbon industries in the capital.A new tech innovation centre – Plexal – was also opened in east London, which Mr Khan said would support up to 800 start-ups and other businesses, as part of plans to entice firms to the city.
Claire Cockerton, chief executive of Plexal and London Tech Week ambassador, said, “Plexal will become a truly unique innovation destination not only for London but the rest of the world. The success of London's technology sector has been built on a strong culture of collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit.“At Plexal, our mission is to become the beating heart of inventive enterprise; connected, intelligent and dynamic – where people join forces, ideas spark and new business is born.”Also attending the launch of London Tech Week were British Paralympic gold medallists Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Lord Chris Holmes, who launched the Global Disability Innovation Programme, a new accelerator designed to encourage the development of technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.
The programme, being run in partnership with Plexal and University College London, will bring together disabled and able-bodies experts, users and start-ups with corporates to accelerate the development of innovative businesses and products around disability.Entrepreneurs and start-ups on the programme will focus on the development of innovations in areas such as accessible and affordable housing, transportation and how big data and analytics can be used to have a positive impact on the lives of disabled people around the world.
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