Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, opened the London Technology Week 2017 festival, declaring London was “resolutely open for global business”. He outlined plans to make London the world’s leading smart city and told an invited audience at the launch event at the Here East venue in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that the capital was “a leader in innovation”.
“Here in London we want to ensure you and your business have a place to truly innovate, flourish and thrive,” the Mayor added and also announced the launch also of Better Futures, a £1.6m clean energy incubator project. The Mayor also said he would be appointing a chief digital officer for the capital.
Keynote speaker Steven Armstrong, CEO of Ford Motor Company for EMEA, announced Ford’s move to open a Smart Mobility Innovation Office at Here East, adding that Ford was an automotive company that was prepared to take cars out of the system by collaborating on green alternatives. “This is innovation, this is digital disruption,” he said.
Ford’s new office will give its team of skilled specialists easy access to world-class digital companies, leading academic institutions and existing partners as it targets the near-term development of smart mobility solutions designed to meet the needs of Europe’s major cities.
Smart mobility, said Armstrong, would help achieve sustainable city development allowing seamless, efficient and flexible travel.
His announcement was made in the same building as Plexal, Europe’s largest technology destination opens its doors in the former Olympic Park Press Centre. Those attending the #LTW launch got a sneak preview of what will be opening for business on 1 July.
Just over half of Plexal’s private offices have already been let and hot desk sales have now started with capacity for 800 members over 68,000 sq. feet.
Commenting on the Ford announcement Gavin Poole, CEO, Here East, said: “Here East is unique in providing the space and infrastructure for entrepreneurs, global businesses and academics to come together and collaborate in the pursuit of innovation. Ford’s decision to join our community of innovators, start-ups and tech specialists as part of its drive to find smarter urban mobility solutions is an exciting development for the entire campus.”
Claire Cockerton, CEO, Plexal said the centre’s mission was to become, “the beating heart of inventive enterprise; connected, intelligent and dynamic – where people join forces, ideas spark and new business is born”.
Here East is being developed by iCITY, a company owned by clients of Delancey, a specialist real estate investment and advisory company.
New CEO of London & Partners Laura Citron moderated a panel session considering the topic: “How can technology make global cities smarter?’
London Tech Week 2017 runs until 16 June across several venues and events within the capital. It is Europe’s largest technology festival and organisers expect 55,000 visitors. London Technology Week, first organised in 2014, represents a week of events include coding workshops and drone racing from the professional Drone Racing League (DRL).