London Mayor launches 5-point plan to make capital ‘smartest city in the world’ - strong focus on data sharing

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez June 11, 2018
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has launched a city-wide initiative to use technology to tackle some of the capital’s most pressing challenges.

Greenwich London
To kickstart London Tech Week, the capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, and London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, have launched a new plan to use technology to make London the world’s smartest city.

The roadmap, which includes five core missions, and has a strong focus on data capability and data sharing, aims to tackle some of London’s most pressing challenges, such as poor air quality, urban design and digital connectivity.

The ‘Smarter London Together’ document also commits the Mayor to investing £365,000 in creating a new London Office of Data Analytics, which will promote data sharing among public services, and foster closer working between local authorities, universities and the tech community.

Launching the document, Khan said:

A year ago I announced my ambition to make London the world’s leading smart city. Today I am proud to unveil my vision for making that ambition a reality. We need a step-change in how we harness innovation for the benefit of all Londoners.

Many of London’s advances in the application of data and smart technologies are globally recognised. We have clearly taken great steps but I want us to do even more to meet the needs of Londoners.

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

To solve the biggest problems our great city faces, I am calling for an ever-more collaborative approach than ever. We need our public services, major universities and technology community to mobilise their resources in new ways and partner with us to make London a fairer and more prosperous place.

The plan follows Khan’s appointment of Blackwell to the role of CDO in August of last year, following which he has embarked on a ‘Listening Tour’ and attended more than 80 public meetings and events to gather views from the tech sector, universities, councils, London’s digital civil society, and community groups.

Commenting on the launch of the plan, Blackwell said:

The new roadmap focuses on getting the foundations for the future right. Digital connectivity is now rightly seen by Londoners as important as their other utilities.

We will properly mobilise the city’s resources to end not-spots, and propose planning powers to ensure new developments are connected. We will put peoples’ priorities first through the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge to mobilise the best in the tech sector to help solve urban problems.

We will strike a new deal with citizens on use of their data so when it is appropriate to share data, it is done in a trusted, safe way and for public benefit. Tech jobs should open for Londoners and we will invest in skills and support efforts to make the tech sector more diverse.

All of this will succeed only through collaboration and partnership, which we are committed to. We call on the tech community in all its forms across London to join us in this challenge.

The plan details five core missions, for which the Mayor’s office and Blackwell will make a priority. These include:

Mission 1 - More user-designed services

  • Leadership in design and common standards to put users at the heart of what is developed
  • 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

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

Mission 3 - World-class connectivity and smarter streets

  • Launch a new Connected London programme to coordinate connectivity and 5G projects
  • Propose 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
  • Support a new generation of smart infrastructure through major combined procurements
  • Promote common standards with smart tech to maximise benefits

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 from early years onwards
  • Recognise the role of cultural institutions engaging citizens in the digital world

Mission 5 - Improve city-wide collaboration

  • Establish a London Office of Technology and 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