UK set to lead the way for smart cities

Published on Thursday, 19 December 2013 09:26
Written by Govtoday staff

Government, cities, businesses and universities are joining forces to make sure the UK is leading the global race to develop smarter cities.

A new forum led by government, will see local authorities and businesses working together to ensure that growth opportunities are not missed in a market estimated to be worth more than $400 billion globally by 2020.

The Smart Cities Forum has met for the first time today (18 December 2013) and will develop plans to support the creation of smarter cities in the UK. Smart cities have the potential for businesses to plan efficient routes to transport goods, allow local authorities to create effective public health services and provide the public with access to real time data so they can plan their daily activities.

The forum is being co-chaired by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Cities Minister Greg Clark.

David Willetts said: "There is huge potential for the UK to be the world leader in smart cities. We are well placed to take advantage of up to a $40 billion share of the market place by 2020, so we must make sure we do not miss this opportunity. The new Smart Cities Forum will bring the best minds together on a regular basis to establish a clear plan to exploit the exciting technologies that we have at our disposal."

The Forum is a key part of the Information Economy Strategy. Published earlier this year (2013) the strategy involves government and industry working together to support a digital sector that employs around 1.5 million people in the UK.

Government is already investing in the development of new technologies to support this sector. £50 million is being invested by the Technology Strategy Board in a Future Cities Catapult in London that will support businesses looking to commercialise their products and get them into the market place.

The Technology Strategy Board is also investing £24 million to create a future cities demonstrator in Glasgow. The city will demonstrate how new integrated services across health, transport, energy and public safety can improve the local economy and increase the quality of life. It will also allow UK businesses to test new solutions that can be exported around the globe.

Source: BIS

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