Ken Livingstone could contract IBM for London 'smart city'

IBM could be set to benefit from a Ken Livingston pledge to turn London into a ‘smart city’.

TechEye understands that Red Ken is supportive of IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative which is aiming to improve urban infrastructure through ICT.

Smarter Cities involve use of machine to machine communications to provide masses of data that can be used to more efficiently monitor and manage urban environments.   

Smart cities involve using microchips to give much greater levels of insight into public life and amenities. Smart metering is one example which is already getting the go ahead in the UK, but putting chips in parking bays could mean generating information to direct traffic flow, for example.

All of this information needs to be collected and analysed, and doing so is already big business. IBM has been pushing its initiatives in cities across the globe, and TechEye believes IBM will be bidding for contracts in London if Livingstone is to be re-elected today.

TechEye spoke to Livingstone’s office, and though it was not possible to provide any details on which firms might be involved, a spokesperson outlined his pledge to use smart technologies to improve the city.

“The most efficient cities of tomorrow will be those that embrace information innovation today,” Ken’s office said. 

“For example, Ken’s plan to use sensors in parking bays will both reduce the time drivers waste looking for somewhere to park and cut congestion. 

“Adapting magnetic induction charging will enable London to leap-frog the competition and move straight to electric buses – cutting pollution and saving money in the health service as well as lives.” 

TechEye was told that Ken “agrees with the business mantra ‘you can only manage what you can measure’.” 

“We will establish an ‘information architecture’ for London, so that Londoners can save money, for example through smart meters in the home,” the spokesperson said, “and decisions ranging from when streetlights need replacing to managing natural capital can all be made with optimum efficiency.” 

“We will enable entrepreneurial IT firms to thrive, making appropriate data available to the market.”