The UK is expected to gain a 10 percent share of a £250 billion smart cities industry by 2020, according to a new report published today.
The ‘Global Market Opportunities and UK Capabilities for Future Smart Cities’ report highlights how technology can be used in urban areas to enhance residents’ quality of life. It outlines how through the increased use of data, cities can also save money, minimise waste, measure water usage and manage transport routes.
Allowing the public access to real time information, it claims, enables people to make more informed choices, such as planning a journey by checking for available room on trains and buses or by identifying car parking spaces before leaving the house.
In a bid to make sure that the UK doesn’t miss out on the opportunities offered by smart cities, a new Smart Cities Forum has been established by the government. This will be chaired by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Cities Minister Greg Clark, as well as representatives from cities, business, and scientists.
“The opportunity to develop new technologies for smart cities in the UK is massive. We want to make sure that we are at the forefront of this digital revolution so we can stay ahead in the global race designing new innovations in the UK and exporting them across the world,” said Willetts.
“With around 80 percent of the UK’s population living in cities, we need to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the digital age. Through our information economy strategy we will support cities to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and save money.”
The government has already made investments in supporting smart city initiatives, including £95 million of research funded by Research Councils UK, £50 million over five years earmarked for the new Future Cities Catapult centre being established by the Technology Strategy Board in London, and £33 million invested in future city demonstrators earlier this year.