Future Perfect: How high-tech is spreading across London
With ambitious plans to become a zero-carbon city by 2050 and the goal to become the most advanced hotspot city in the western world, London has its eyes on the future and it looks bright. Some Londoners already enjoy high-tech trails and advanced services and we have rounded up for you what to expect from the future tech city. By the early 2020s, London will be running on 5G networks, which is 40 times faster than 4G whereas driverless are already tested in Greenwich and Queen Elizabeth Park. There are also plans for the world’s first purpose-built and zero-emissions taxi fleet.
“London’s a great test city,” says Kathryn Bishop at The Future Laboratory, a futures consultancy group.
“It’s attractive for companies because it’s busy but small enough to get a data set and understand how people use new systems. People want to try what’s new. There’s a fever to be ahead of the curve.”
The traditional high street is about to get a serious tech to revamp with the rollout of Amazon Go. The first location in Seattle in the United States has brought a major change to the modern-day shopping experience which is set to go worldwide, with London included in the top locations.
IBM is trialing something similar at the Shell service station in Holloway Road. Using radio frequency ID chips to track items as they move, the futuristic checkout is designed to scan an entire basket or trolley in one go. Could this be the end of scanning each item separately and shop hassle-free after a long day at the office? An IBM spokeswoman said:
“Over 130 customers have trialled the live environment in a Shell store in North London, with very positive feedback. The trial was designed to build both the retailer and the customer into designing the experience and it’s an exciting step forward for the industry.”
Londoners are in for a treat while shopping since retailers are always looking for innovative approaches to the customer experience with advanced customisation to fit their needs. Convenience and rapidness are at the heart of the evolution of technologically advanced customer service.
Parcel delivery service My Hermes is trialing ground robots that deliver small packages within a two-mile radius and connect with your smartphone to organize convenient delivery times. Retailers and brands will do everything to get the product right on our feet. Lifting a finger on our smartphone will be literally the only thing we will have to do. Not bad, right?
5000,000 brick-sized miniaturised mobile masts on lamp posts and other public buildings will transform London into Europe’s biggest gigabit 5G city.“By 2026, the city’s digital infrastructure will be considered as important as any other major utility, such as water, electricity, and gas, with the number of personal digital devices having risen twelvefold”, says Theo Blackall, London’s first chief digital officer at City Hall. The initiative will help tackle the areas with little internet access while giving speeds of 1,000 megabits per second. Fancy downloading an entire HD movie in seven seconds?
City Hall will also try to capitalize on big data services by planning on better infrastructure in high-density growth areas. Smart gas meters and pop-up bus routes will enhance urban city living for the residents who will also enjoy outdoor entertainment and gym powered by air quality data.
The road to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050 has London’s famous black cabs getting a green revamp. The maker of the black cab has unveiled an electric design which runs for about 70 miles off a battery before switching to petrol. The electric black cabs were first unveiled in Battersea Power Station by the London Electric Vehicle Company that has promised lower running costs.
According to TFL London is among the worldwide leaders when it comes to the development and adaptation of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. London has already 2,000 standard charging points for electric vehicles and another 2,000 will be added in the next three years. Around 150 of them will be RCPs, rapid charging points that will only take 20 to 30 minutes to charge a vehicle.
Future plans include the conversion of street lights connected to UK Power Networks into charge points like the ones that already exist in Kensington and Chelsea.
Don’t tell us we didn’t warn you about what London has in store. It is going to be a transformation like no other!
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