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LOTI throws focus onto three IoT projects

09/03/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Three projects to support the deployment of internet of things (IoT) solutions by local authorities have emerged from a week-long exercise staged by the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI).

IoT icons over man holding tablet computer

They cover the development of a common approach to IoT deployments in the city, the creation of a collaborative portal and an awareness campaign.

The proposals came from a number to be tested during LOTI’s IOT Week, which brought together a number of public officials from the city and industry specialists to look at how to develop a more collaborative approach across the city – which comprises 33 boroughs – and beyond.

The team working up the project to build a common approach said it would likely involve a framework and/or guidance for London based on existing standards to help the boroughs design and procure IoT more effectively.

They pointed to three likely sources – the UK Digital Service Standard, New York City’s Guidelines for the IoT and Amsterdam’s IoT Design Manifesto – and said they had made a start in choosing the best elements and identifying gaps to create a prototype.

In addition, they said the guidance should be presented through a website rather than a PDF document to make it more accessible, interactive and easily updated. Creating it would involve working with the boroughs involved in LOTI.

Collaboration portal

The second project, named Share IoT, involves the creation of an IoT portal for London that would encourage boroughs to work together. It was proposed in response to the view that there is currently not enough collaboration, too many duplicated pilot projects and a lot of wasted learning.

The team said that its prototype plan involves a dashboard with a business case, IoT toolkit, procurement frameworks and a list of challenges. The latter would cover specific factors such as smart bins, storm drains and connected autonomous vehicles.

They acknowledged it could be difficult to get boroughs to contribute content during an alpha stage, but said they believes that once a handful had done so it would produce a momentum for others to join more quickly.

The third project is for an IoT awareness campaign, aimed at making local government officers more aware of the technology’s capabilities and the benefits it can produce. This would involve co-creation by cross-London bodies such as LOTI and the Greater London Authority (GLA), smart city and IoT officers in the boroughs, and their counterparts involved in service delivery.

Part of the rationale is that by increasing their knowledge it will help to encourage public appreciation of IoT initiatives.

Smart London plans

The exercise was carried out in collaboration with the GLA’s Smart London programme, whose programme director Nathan Pierce said the three projects will feed directly into the work it does over the next year.

It was also made clear that the outputs from the projects could be shared with local government across the country.

The GLA’s chief digital officer Theo Blackwell said the UK is becoming a world leader in the design element of IoT deployments, and that “this is a great opportunity to reach beyond the boroughs of London and talk to colleagues in Europe and the US”.

Image from iStock

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