London to be tested to become a ‘smart city’ with new technologies

An operating system designed to power the smart cities of the future will be put through its paces in London. By 2050 it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities and Living Plan IT estimates that £13tn will be spent in developing and regenerating urban spaces between now and 2020.

Greenwich is to be the site of the tests for running new technology on the OS to be conducted in collaboration with Living PlanIT’s partners, including Hitachi, Phillips and Greenwich council. “The development of smart cities in future is a crucial commercial opportunity for Britain, and London is the right place to be doing it,” said David Willetts, Universities and Science minister. Read on to find out about the new technologies to be tested.

In one newly built office block, Living PlanIT plans to implant thousands of sensors that will monitor external and internal conditions to create smart lighting and heating systems. It also plans to test smart lamp posts on the roads. “They will be talking to each other, producing their own energy, raising lighting levels when cars are coming, and monitoring the movement of traffic,” said Mr Lewis. Other technologies to be tested with the platform include smart vests that have microsensors embedded in them to monitor heart rate and other vital signs. In the event of a fire the Urban OS might manage traffic lights so fire engines can reach the blaze swiftly.

“We are entering a phase when everything becomes connected, from healthcare to transportation,” said Living Plan IT chief executive Steve Lewis. “This is about connecting things that previously never did.”

Urban OS is different from traditional operating systems in that it is designed to be extremely robust. “If my email is down for 10 minutes, it doesn’t matter, but if the network is linked to my insulin pump, then that is different,” said Mr Lewis.

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