In June, the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) officially launched, kick-starting a new era of digital transformation.

LOTI – a collaboration between London boroughs with the Mayor of London’s backing – will help to cement London’s position as a smart city by encouraging digital and data innovation across its public services. It recognises that making better use of technology and data is crucial for London, and aims to tackle challenges such as mobility, congestion, environment, climate change, housing supply and poverty.

The city-wide venture is closely aligned with BAI Communications’ own work. It aims to use digital and smart technology to revolutionise the delivery of public services and ensure they are set up to thrive in the internet age, something which we have already helped to achieve around the world. For example, in Hong Kong, as part of our work on the Mass Transit Railway, rail lines are constructed with world-class digital infrastructure as standard, which has led to the development of significant housing corridors along the lines. With rail and data networks growing alongside each other, the city maintains its global competitiveness and makes it possible for citizens to enjoy the benefits of connectivity wherever they travel.

Our work delivering high-quality communications infrastructure has also surmounted sizeable challenges to transform transport networks and help create smart cities across the globe. With transport systems being the backbone of any major city, enabling connectivity does more than provide Wi-Fi so passengers can browse the internet. Our innovative technology permits passengers to stay connected whilst travelling, improving public safety, enhancing rail users’ experience and the efficiency of travel.

The benefits of connected transport systems have also been explored by BAI Communications’ recent Continuous connectivity research report, which surveyed 2,538 rail users in five global cities including London. The report found that 81% of people believe advances in transport-related technology are increasing their use or changing the way they use public transport. Furthermore, if rail networks evolved in the future and commuters could better enjoy their journey, more than half (55%) would arrive at their destination relaxed and happy, a quarter (24%) would work on self-improvement courses and another quarter (23%) would be able to further their education.

Smart technology will revolutionise the transport networks of the future. Commuters will enjoy seamless 5G connectivity above and below ground. Internet of Things (IoT) technology will provide them with ever more efficient and comfortable journeys and journey times will decrease as trains travel at higher speeds.

London is one of the world’s great cities and LOTI will only serve to make it greater. The private sector has a huge role to play in helping the Greater London Authority (GLA) to achieve its aim of making London the smartest city in the world and it is vital that businesses work in partnership with the Government and relevant authorities to improve connectivity. I look forward to hearing about the innovative ideas that emerge from this new venture and its contribution to helping London transform into a truly smart city.