Why London is the tech city of the future

by chris

This week, it was announced that thousands of mobile “mini-masts” will be attached to lamp-posts all over the capital in a push to make it the most advanced “hotspot city” in the western world. IBM has opened a hi-tech mini-mart in Holloway Road N7 — using radio frequency ID chips to track items as they move just like the Amazon Go superstore that opened in Seattle recently.

“London’s a great test city,” says Kathryn Bishop at The Future Laboratory, a futures consultancy group. “It’s attractive for companies because it’s busy but small enough to get a data set and understand how people use new systems. People want to try what’s new. There’s a fever to be ahead of the curve.”

The city is limbering up for more: we’ll be rolling out 5G networks — 40 times faster than 4G — to cope with soaring demands on data by the early 2020s. Driverless cars are already being tested in Greenwich and Queen Elizabeth Park, and the advent of the world’s first purpose-built, zero-emissions taxi fleet aims to give Uber a run for its money.