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UK government sets up forum to help create smart cities

Smart cities industry could be worth £250 billion by 2020

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The government is teaming up with businesses and universities on a new Smart Cities Forum that is being set up to help develop plans for the next generation of UK cities.

The Smart Cities Forum, which was revealed earlier this year but met for the first time today, has been set up by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to ensure that the UK doesn’t miss out on the opportunities offered by smart cities and to help the country gain a 10 percent share of a £250 billion smart cities industry by 2020.

The forum includes businesses such as IBM, Cisco and Siemens; local government's such as Greater London Authority, Glasgow City Council and Leeds City Council; and research institutions such as Imperial College London, Heriot-Watt University and the Future Cities Catapult. It is being co-chaired by Universities and Science minister David Willetts and Cities minister Greg Clark. 

BIS claims that smart cities could enable businesses to plan efficient routes to transport goods, allow local authorities to create effective public health services and provide the public with access to real time data so they can plan their daily activities.

Willetts said: "The new Smart Cities Forum will bring the best minds together on a regular basis to establish a clear plan to exploit the exciting technologies that we have at our disposal."

“There is huge potential for the UK to be the world leader in smart cities. We are well placed to take advantage of up to a $40 billion share of the market place by 2020, so we must make sure we do not miss this opportunity," he added.  

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.


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