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Charter to identify which emerging tech innovations are right for London

The mayor has tasked the UK capital’s chief digital officer and Smart London Board to set out the criteria that innovations must meet before being deployed in the city.

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Khan wants a framework in place as more smart city technologies are being adopted
Khan wants a framework in place as more smart city technologies are being adopted

London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched an initiative to identify which emerging tech innovations would be most beneficial for the UK capital and its residents.

 

The mayor believes it is vital for cities to understand how to develop and adopt emerging technologies to maximise their benefits, while also minimising any negative impacts on life and work.

 

5G connectivity

 

The announcement comes as a report by innovation consultancy Digital Catapult identified several emerging technologies in which London will lead the world in positively impacting residents and businesses, including artificial intelligence (AI), 5G connectivity and robotics.

 

Theo Blackwell, London’s chief digital officer, and the Smart London Board, will establish an Emerging Technologies Charter, which will set out the criteria which innovations should meet before they are deployed in the capital.

 

As London adopts more and more smart city technology solutions, the city requires a framework for setting expectations around design, security, privacy and ways of working so that innovators can pitch, develop and deploy the right solutions in the capital.

“It’s vital Londoners and public bodies understand the full impact of any new technology launched in the capital – and that innovations are designed with the public’s needs firmly in mind”

The charter seeks, for the first time, to structure and inform public discussion in this area. It aims to ensure Londoners are engaged and listened to in the process of developing new technologies, so their concerns and the likely effects these innovations will have on their lives are fully understood.

 

“New technologies being developed by London’s world-leading tech sector have the potential to make a positive impact for all who live, work and study in the capital – and I want London to be a test-bed for innovation,” said Khan.

 

“But even the most dynamic cities need a framework to steer the emergence of new tools and applications which affect our open spaces, transport systems and public services.”

 

He continued: “It’s vital Londoners and public bodies understand the full impact of any new technology launched in the capital – and that innovations are designed with the public’s needs firmly in mind.” My Emerging Technology Charter aims to do just that.”

 

Areas the charter is expected to cover include:

  • Ways of working – London wants to ensure that trialling new technologies is conducted openly and responsibly, actively engaging with the public, authorities and other relevant bodies.
  • Data – the city will make recommendations on the collection, use, and sharing of data collected by emerging technologies via city data platforms such as at TfL or City Hall’s London Datastore, so data can be used for shared purposes such as climate change adaptation or resilience planning. ​
  • Design – promoting the best in design and ensuring all Londoners are heard when new technologies are developed and deployed, to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility at the heart of future innovations.
  • Privacy and security – promoting privacy-by-design to ensure emerging technologies adhere to the spirit – not just the letter – of data protection laws and meet relevant cybersecurity standards.

The charter will build on existing guidance and experience developed through TfL’s guidelines for connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) operators, anonymised Wifi data on the Tube network, the Metropolitan Police Service’s ethics panel on live facial recognition technology and the NHS’s engagement with Londoners on the sharing of health data conducted earlier this year.

“We look forward to working with the mayor and his team on this important initiative, to bring benefits for the capital and the UK as a whole”

“With the launch of our new report, Digital Catapult welcomes the development of an emerging technology charter for London, enhancing its position as a responsible global innovation leader,” added Jessica Rushworth, director for policy and strategy, Digital Catapult.

 

“We look forward to working with the mayor and his team on this important initiative, to bring benefits for the capital and the UK as a whole.”

 

Smart Cities Playbook

 

The proposed Charter follows work undertaken by other major cities, notably San Francisco’s Emerging Technology Board, Boston’s Smart Cities Playbook and Helsinki’s MyData initiatives.

 

A sub-group of the Smart London Board will develop the charter and explore the possibility of launching a London Emerging Technology Board, which would consist of a range of experts from across London’s tech sector who will inform City Hall’s work in tech and data.

 

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