The next Mayor of London should appoint a chief technology officer to enhance the capital’s leadership in data and technology, according to a new report.
The Future of Smart report, said that the role could take the form of any or all of the following: chief technology officer, a chief information officer, or a chief digital officer. The latter being the preferred option of the Smart London Board; this board is a panel of experts appointed by the Mayor to advice on technology.
It said that in addition to this role, London requires a Mayoral advisor with the necessary political power to cross boundaries and silos.
The report also recommended that the next mayor “should build systems that can cope with the ‘city as a platform’ capacity.”
“This will make it easier to harness the technological capabilities in London. If we do not, we will fall behind other world cities, devolution will be slowed, and potential cost savings for frontline services will not be found,” said the board.
It added that public data should be released that encourages developers to build services that increase trust between citizens, government, consumers and the private sector.
“The Digital and Future Cities Catapults should work collaboratively with City Hall to minimise the impact of privacy and security regulation on the innovation community. These public services should feedback to citizens how the data they generate can have a positive impact on service provision.”
The report said that the mayor needed to work with London Councils and others to aggregate demand for IT services and move to cloud storage and computing. “London’s government should, for example, explore ways to collaboratively maintain core data assets such as air quality, land assets, food quality ratings and maps publishing the resulting data sets as open data that anyone can use,” said the report.
There needed to be an understanding of the role of the boroughs and their elected leaders and cabinet members to push ‘smart’ to manage good growth. This includes using the Borough Data Partnership to study how innovations can improve public services, the City Data Strategy for the range of approaches available, and the sites the GLA controls to prove solutions. “They should investigate creating a GLA innovation hub to understand what boroughs need and what the market can provide today and tomorrow,” the report said.
“The twin challenges of economic growth and a growing population are putting a strain on London’s housing, healthcare and transport infrastructure. The environment remains a challenge, particularly air quality,” said Prof. David Gann, chair of the Smart London Board.
“We must invest more in London’s data infrastructure. Doing so will help the city be brilliantly placed to make the most of the Internet of Things. It must be better connected too. That means making super-fast broadband available to everyone in London and investing in digital skills.”