The City of London currently plays host to some of the most successful, ambitious and forward-thinking businesses on the planet. These are, after all, necessary characteristics for any business to even afford real estate rates in the UK capital.
It has seen the city’s horizons change dramatically in recent decades – not only literally in terms of its new skyline, but also in terms of how working duties may be carried out on a regular basis and drive greater success. The influence of “smart” devices, connected via the cloud-based Internet of Things, paves the route towards a smart city of London – one with the potential to lead the world in engineering new customs of commerce.
The Stage Is Set
Bank of America Merrill Lynch ranked London as one of the smartest cities in the world, alongside the likes of Singapore, New York, Tokyo and Paris. The same study decreed that the greatest potential for growth in smart technology lay in 5G telecom networks, artificial intelligence, building automation, cybersecurity, self-driving vehicles and so on.
The Internet of Things will see cities across the globe reforming their internal practices, to account for new operational efficiency. Nowhere is this truer than in London, where Britain’s departure from the European Union demands a new foundation for the country’s urban commercial centres. If embraced appropriately and swiftly, this trend could see London’s workplaces create the template that others will follow for years to come.
How The Smart City Of London Soars
When we consider the term “smart city,” many of us conjure an image of a WALL-E-esque realm of automation – a world where electronic infrastructure controls everything from energy usage to traffic flows. That film takes the smart city concept to extremes – but in principle, it is not especially wide of the mark.
City experimentation in fibre 5G connectivity is at the heart of this approach – London must become “hyper-connected.” Widespread electronic sensors then allow connected devices to react artificially to the world around them. In Bristol, for example, plans are already afoot to establish a radio frequency network of over 1500 sensor-clad lampposts. The control of this network would then be centralised in a local operations centre, where such elements as CCTV, traffic and emergency services could also be regulated to produce more efficient responses.
Ultimately, the aim is to make data sets freely available for consumers to download. In due course, those consumers would then be able to design applications of their own through the same system.
Why The Smart City Of London Matters To Business
The smart city of London is not just a means of giving the everyman better Facebook access on the street. This matters in business too: the Internet of Things is already infiltrating our professional lives. New, digitalised working lifestyles are perhaps exemplified in such premises as Deloitte’s Edge building in Amsterdam. There, workers allow technology to dictate where, when and how they work – whether it be smart heating and lighting, workspace location, locker identification and so on.
That is perhaps a peak of smart engineering that is unrealistic in most firms right now. On the other hand, we do see the influence of connected devices in business already. The prevalence of tablets, mobiles and wearables in the workplace shows how portable, connected devices – previously oriented towards consumers – have taken firm root in business. Is it beyond the wit of an SME to embrace such flexibility, using more powerful cloud-based applications and functions? It probably won’t be beyond certain competitors. By doing so, businesses may streamline how they operate – thus becoming more efficient, productive and prosperous.
In a smart city of London, the network will be available for any business or individual employee to exploit. Such a system is already underway in Dubai, where the government has released over fifty smart services to the public. All of these are available via the “Dubai Now” app. For another example, Barcelona has introduced smart street lighting to cut overall energy usage and costs. More interestingly, they have also developed a system to inform drivers where free parking spots are at any given time. Thus the potential of smart technology is illustrated; a multitude of small changes that gradually compound each other, to make our lives easier and more workable.
The application that benefits a particular London business may not have been developed just yet. However, every business should lay the cloud-based groundwork for innovation now. The technology sector moves too quickly – as does the business world in its entirety – for one firm to miss out on a competitive advantage simply because of poor preparation. That becomes ever more important with the looming prospect of smart cities. Don’t fall behind.
Viastak work to support businesses looking to leverage technology, in order to streamline the way they operate. We believe in creating flexible, dynamic enterprises that are equipped to deal with the demands of the modern global economy. To find out more, please get in touch.
Written by Oliver Kiddell
Oliver Kiddell, Author at Viastak Technologists.