Introduction to Smart London and our progress
London is and works hard to remain a smart city. Worth £19bn, London’s tech market is the largest in Europe. There are 40,000 digital businesses and 200,000 employees in London’s technology sector.
As the biggest city in Europe, London can amplify solutions built to meet its own challenges using its unrivalled communication, transport, and business connections.
Smart London is about helping the capital function better and making Londoners and businesses part of world-leading ideas. Londoners generate data that helps the city manage its transport, social, economic and environmental systems. London’s innovators create the technologies to meet the real-world challenges we face.
This is about solving real-world problems. Technology is and will continue to become more central to solving London’s challenges, whether adapting to population growth, maintaining our competitiveness or empowering our citizens.
There are clear benefits to our ‘smart’ policies and programmes for Londoners and businesses. W e are pushing ‘smart’ further in new ways, such as our city data strategy and sharing expertise through our European ‘Sharing Cities’ project.
The Smart London Board includes leading academics, businesses and entrepreneurs. They advise the Mayor on how digital technology can help make London an even better place in which to live, work and invest. They also work to promote the uptake of ‘smart’ in London and to engage Londoners on these issues.
The Mayor’s Smart London Plan was published in December 2013. It outlines how he planned to use the creative power of data and technology to serve London and improve Londoners’ lives. We said then that we would update Londoners and businesses on our progress and plans in 2016.
The Smart London Plan had seven aims:
We are experimenting with digital tools - from codesign programmes to online citizen engagement in policy development. One example is Talk London’s focus groups.
These helped shape new campaigns, such as our new microvolunteering programme, and fed back on strategy work, such as that of the London Health Commission (LHC) - directly influencing strategy and delivery.
We’re also increasing Londoners’ digital skills. We secured £5m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund for our Digital Skills Programme called ‘Digital Talent’. The number of Londoners using digital technologies to engage with City Hall is increasing. We want it to grow even faster in the future.
We are harnessing data to solve London’ s challenges through the Datastore and Data for London, our City Data Strategy . We are building data products and platforms to show the tech sector what is possible and to test growth scenarios for London and its infrastructure.
We have supported smart, connected businesses through our Export Programme and International Business Programme, Super Connected Cities scheme, connectivity toolkit, and connectivity rating scheme. We want to improve our support for London’s SME tech community as the number of employees in the technology sector moves past 200,000.
The Smart London District and Infrastructure Innovation Networks are identifying and bringing together London’ s tech talent to work on London’ s challenges. We will be supporting new networks in 2016.
City Hall is also leading an EU-funded network, ‘Sharing Cities’ with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the cities of Lisbon and Milan, Bordeaux, Burgas and Warsaw. It aims to show how innovative uses of technology – for example, using the River Thames to heat homes, testing electric bikes and trialling state-of-the-art smart parking bays - can improve the lives of residents.
We’re promoting new and smarter heating, electricity, waste and water networks that use resources efficiently and do more with less investment. The Infrastructure Mapping Application (IMA LDN) and our work in speeding up London’ s transition to a circular economy are other ways we’re helping the city to grow and adapt.
The Smart London Borough Partnership is increasing data sharing between the boroughs. It identifies opportunities to roll solutions out at scale. We are inviting new ideas from London’s tech community. For example, in transport, over 100 projects are now being run through TfL’s innovation portal.
We’re working hard to improve the lives of Londoners through digital technology. We are demonstrating this through projects in sustainability and transport in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the Smart London District Innovation Networks. London’s connectivity is improving, but we still need faster networks to capitalise on the digital talents of Londoners and businesses.
Smart London is delivered through three overarching work-streams:
- Engaging Londoners – using smart technology to enhance the range of ways that we involve and empower Londoners and businesses
- Enabling good growth – harnessing data and digital technology to meet the growth challenges facing London’ s infrastructure, environment, and transport systems
- Working with businesses – leveraging opportunities for innovation and business growth
In order to promote the benefits of ‘smart’ in London we must better understand the size of potential investment in the ‘smart’ sector in London. To do this, City Hall commissioned Arup to estimate London’s slice of the global Smart Cities market.
They concluded that the market in smart city technologies and associated products and services in 2020 will be worth US$13.4bn (£8.9bn), or roughly one per cent of the worldwide market.
The market in ‘smart cities’ is extremely diverse and difficult to categorise. However, over half of London’ s contribution, or roughly US$7bn (£4.6bn), could be attributed to the smart energy, transport and mobility, healthcare and environmental infrastructure (water and waste) sectors combined.
Arup reported to City Hall on market opportunities to address London’ s challenges with digital solutions in these four sectors. The report identified other markets for future research that includes the areas of governance, security, and buildings. For more, please read the full research report, 'Smart City Opportunities for London'.