World : London mayor launches smart city roadmap

LONDON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Monday launched a major city-wide plan to harness London's tech talents to make London one the world's smartest cities.

Speaking at the launch of this year's London Tech Week, Khan published Smarter London Together -- his roadmap for how he will help the city's public services use tech and data to improve the lives of all Londoners and tackle some of the capital's most pressing challenges -- including air quality, urban design and digital connectivity.

Among Khan's plans, which includes more than 20 initiatives, is a bold new approach to improving connectivity, including proposing planning powers for full fiber connectivity to all new homes, working with Transport for London (TfL) and councils to roll out 4G using public buildings and existing physical infrastructure, and supporting bids for government funding to test 5G connectivity.

Meanwhile, another initiative, the Civic Innovation Challenge, will play a major role in establishing London as a test-bed for technological innovation, as well as supporting the development of smart infrastructure and attracting investment in dynamic new businesses.

"As one of the world's leading technology hubs, we need to be bold and think big, to experiment and try things out that have not been done elsewhere," said the mayor.

"I see London's future as a global 'test-bed city' for civic innovation, where the best ideas are developed, amplified and scaled."

Khan also revealed a new report on London's artificial intelligence ecosystem from CognitionX, the AI advice platform, which shows the capital is home to 758 artificial intelligence companies, more than twice as many as its closest rivals Paris and Berlin combined, underlining London's position as a leading tech hub.

Figures collated by Pitchbook have revealed that UK tech companies received more than 5 billion pounds (6.7 billion U.S. dollars) in Venture Capital funding since the EU referendum -- more than France, Germany and Sweden combined -- of which London attracted more than 4 billion pounds.

A smart city is a collaborative, connected and responsive city which uses technology and data-sharing to make it a better place to live, work, visit and study -- all of which is at the heart of Sadiq's agenda.

In recent years, London has led the way in innovation which has gone on to have a significant impact on people's lives.

Jen Hawes-Hewitt, Smarter London Board member and UK Cities lead at Accenture, said the mayor's plan helps to solve many of London's challenges and create new opportunities.

"Coupling the power of data with human-centered design can bring a step change in public service delivery. Creation of a diverse pool of talent is also critical," said Hawes-Hewitt.

Meanwhile, London is also seeking cooperation in artificial intelligence (AI) with other countries including China which witnessed increasing investment and applications in AI.

According to data provided by London and Partners, the promotional agency of Mayor of London, China's AI startup scene received 48 percent of all equity funding in 2017 with the U.S. taking 38 percent and the rest of the world receiving 13 percent, marking a dramatic shift from 2013 when the U.S. AI startups received 77 percent of equity funding.

Over the past five years, China has been the second largest investor into London, behind the United States, with increasing share in tech investment.

London was the top destination in Europe of China's FDI tech project investment in 2017, and the third largest recipient in the world of Chinese FDI in this regard, behind only Hong Kong and Singapore, according to London and Partners.

Laura Citron, Chief Executive of London and Partners, told Xinhua that there are huge potentials between Britain and China in terms of AI cooperation and China is "one of our top priorities in terms of investment partner and innovation partner".

"AI is really important not only for business, but also to the way we run our cities," said Citron. "And I think that is a really exciting area for cooperation between London and Chinese cities like Beijing."


Source :

Smart Grid Bulletin February 2019

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