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London Tech Week: London could be smartest city in the world, says Sadiq Khan

London is already Europe’s leading smart city, and is second only to New York in the global rankings.

By Ellie Burns

London Mayor Sadiq Khan opened London Tech week today with a speech that revealed his bold ambitions for turning London into the world’s number one smart city.

The capital city’s mayor outlined his vision for London to become the world’s leading ‘Smart City’ – with digital technology and data at the heart of making the capital an even better place to live, work and invest.

Speaking at the launch of London Tech Week, Khan said technology is essential to solving many of the biggest economic, social and environmental challenges we face. He called on the global tech community to help tackle issues such air pollution, housing and the future of transport.

CDO Wanted: London’s first ever Chief Digital Officer

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

“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,” said Khan.

“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.”

As part of his plans, the Mayor unveiled a new £1.6m Clean Tech Incubator called Better Futures which will help 100 London-based small businesses to deliver low-carbon and clean-tech products to tackle the causes and effects of climate change.

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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.

The London Mayor also used the launch of London Tech Week to reaffirm his pledge to appoint the capital’s first ever Chief Digital Officer, with the Mayor’s Office also currently scoping the potential for a new London Office of Technology and Innovation.

Sadiq Khan has been pushing his ‘open for business’ slogan ever since the votes were cast and Brexit was given the green light by UK citizens, with the Mayor’s office reiterating its promise to keep London’s status as the tech capital of Europe.

According to research, the figures seem to point to the fact that London still leads, for now – EY data recently revealed that London is Europe’s leading city for foreign direct investment into the technology sector, attracting significantly more investment projects, than any other European city, in each year during the last decade.

International investors also ranked London as a leading global tech hub, with London featuring in the three highest ranked cities with the potential to produce the next global tech giant.

READ MORE: Emerging technologies help London tech firms attract over £1 billion since Brexit vote

To coincide with the launch of London Tech Week, the Mayor officially opened Plexal, Europe’s newest technology innovation destination, forming Europe’s biggest business innovation ecosystem at Here East. Spanning 68,000 square feet, Plexal has been built on the principles of a mini City & will support 800 technology start-ups & global corporations from across the world.

Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East said: “The success of London’s flourishing tech sector is partly due to the collaboration between entrepreneurs, established businesses, academics and policy makers. As the tech community comes together at Here East for the launch of London Tech Week, we are delighted that Ford is joining our campus as it accelerates its capabilities to develop urban mobility solutions for Europe and that Plexal, Europe’s largest technology innovation destination has opened its doors.”

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