Sadiq Khan pledges to solve urban challenges with Big Data

London Mayor Sadiq Khan today committed to making London the world's greatest smart city, pledging to use technological advances like Big Data to solve some of the capital's biggest problems.

Speaking at the opening of London Tech Week 2017, the Mayor emphasised London's impressive standing as a centre of innovation and talent, and reinforced the important role technology will play in securing continued investment and trade in a post-Brexit world.

"As Mayor of this great city - the best city in the world - it fills me with pride to see our tech sector thriving," Khan said. "My ambition now is to harness the new technologies that are being pioneered right here to transform London into the world's leading smart city."

"The potential for cutting-edge technology to tackle a host of social, economic and environmental challenges is immeasurable," he added. "From air pollution and climate change to housing and transport, new technologies and data science will be at the heart of the long-term solutions to urban challenges."

He announced that recruitment has begun for the role of London's first CDO, while the Mayor's office is also investigating the possibility of opening a new London Office of Technology and Innovation, which would act as a hub for London boroughs to work together on digital issues and solutions.

As part of London Tech Week, Khan also unveiled a new green incubator called 'Better Futures'. The 1.6 million green tech fund will help 100 small businesses in the capital develop products and solutions helping to tackle climate change.

The Mayor officially opened Europe's biggest biggest tech hub, Plexal. Built at Stratford's Here East, the 68,000 square-foot campus is designed to house 800 tech companies and startups.

"Plexal will become a truly unique innovation destination not only for London but the rest of the world," said Plexal CEO and London Tech Week ambassador Claire Cockerton. "The success of London's technology sector has been built on a strong culture of collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit. At Plexal, our mission is to become the beating heart of inventive enterprise; connected, intelligent & dynamic - where people join forces, ideas spark & new business is born."

Ford's EMEA president was in attendance too, and announced that the company will be opening a Smart Mobility Innovation Office at Here East, which will work on bringing mobility solutions to major European cities.

"The success of London's flourishing tech sector is partly due to the collaboration between entrepreneurs, established businesses, academics and policy makers," he said. "As the tech community comes together at Here East for the launch of London Tech Week, we are delighted that Ford is joining our campus as it accelerates its capabilities to develop urban mobility solutions for Europe and that Plexal, Europe's largest technology innovation destination has opened its doors."

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.