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London data hub plan

LONDON could become a global hub of data science and analytics, with the Mayor of London drawing up plans for the capital to become a recognised leader.

An extensive consultation is currently being held, with the public and interested parties invited to respond. That will close at the end of March before work begins on the best way to achieve the aims of becoming a leading “smart city” that can foster data science industries.

In an introduction to the consultation, Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote: “In ­today’s digital economy, data and data analytics are the fuel for future innovation in business and across London’s public services. We want to know how ­innovation from data can be truly mobilised by public services in partnership with ­London’s world class science, tech, ­finance and design communities.”

It recognises data as a driving economic force and identifies the need for professionals and an industry to release that potential. The consultation points to London’s already blossoming tech sector, which employs around 240,000 people and is expected to add another 44,500 jobs by 2026.

The public sector also has a role to play in developing and exploiting new data-driven technology, according to the consultation document. It says: “The ubiquity of mobile, the development of cloud computing and future advances in artificial intelligence and ­machine learning generate a special set of ­circumstances for the improvement of citizen-centric city services.

“A new focus on data analytics sees public services entering another ­major phase of modernisation as new ­approaches to digital delivery through user-driven ­design, open APIs and platforms are ­adopted. Within public services, new business intelligence tools are using data sources for discovery, preparation, analysis and delivery of new insights to assist budget-setting.

“Sensors in the public realm are giving us more data about how people live, work and visit the city, and new information about air quality and energy consumption.”

The plan has three stages – the first of which looked at how other cities are exploiting data and improving services and innovation. The second phase is the listening exercise, and includes the public consultation. Once that is completed the Smart London Board will develop a road map to help achieve the aims, which should be launched in June 2018 at London Tech Week.

To find out more about the consultation and to take part click here.

Image (cropped and resized) supplied under CC BY-SA 2.0 from Jack Torcello.

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