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Driving smart cities in Taiwan

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The Royal Borough of Greenwich is one of London’s 33 Boroughs. Situated south of the River Thames, the Royal borough has long been associated with scientific invention and discovery, and has worldwide recognition through its association with the Greenwich Meridian and as the ‘home of time.’ But Greenwich is also undergoing a dramatic transformation and has become one of London’s most dynamic and fastest growing Boroughs. New “21st Century” districts are being created along its waterfront comprising more than 50,000 new homes, 120,000 new residents and thousands of new jobs in modern business districts.Along with Cities around the world, Greenwich is also confronted with a range of challenges. These include demographic change and the rising cost of health care, traffic congestion and high levels of emissions, the need to improve employment prospects and the quality of work in the face of technical change and, following the financial crisis, to deliver quality services with significantly reduced budgets. Greenwich has therefore turned towards new technologies and the roll-out of digital services to help meet these challenges.

As a result, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is now recognised as one of the U.K. leaders in smart city innovation. In October 2015, the Council approved its Smart City Strategy which sets out its plans to transform the borough using smart city principles. Today, the borough is delivering a wide range of innovative smart city projects including autonomous vehicle trials and the development of 5G applications as part of a U.K. 5G test bed. The Council’s in-house smart city team Digital Greenwich is known for being at the forefront of new technology developments and is leading a number of high profile research & development initiatives.

Greenwich is well known for its work on Connected and Autonomous vehicles. Working with the Transport Research Laboratory, the leading European centre of excellence for future transport, the borough hosts the U.K. Smart Mobility Living Lab — a test environment for smart and connected mobility solutions aimed new approaches to market faster and to understand how new technology will work in a complex urban environment.Projects include the Greenwich Automated Transport Environment or GATEway project. This high-profile project will deliver the first public trial of autonomous vehicles in the United Kingdom. The project is taking place in a controlled test environment and will support the scaling-up of commercially viable services in Greenwich, elsewhere in the U.K. and internationally. Digital Greenwich is helping develop new approaches which show how cities can integrate connected and autonomous vehicles into its public transport networks and improve mobility services within urban environments.Greenwich also hosts a European Commission demonstrator for smart cities and communities in partnership with Lisbon and Milan. These three leading European cities are working together to develop common solutions to shared challenges in the areas of energy and transport, and to build smart city demonstrators in each city.

The Council also has a close partnership with NEC Europe which allows the two organisations to collaborate on the use of big data analytics and visualisation to improve public and commercial services. Part of this work is the implementation of an Operations Centre and cloud-based smart city anagement platform — the Greenwich Community Platform. This Platform will enable Digital Greenwich to visualise and analyse real-time and historical data from Internet of Things sensors across the borough to monitor Key Performance Indicators relating to public services.

As part of its work, the Royal Borough of Greenwich has an established Smart City Innovation Centre, which offers opportunities for U.K. and international companies to have a base in London in prestigious premises, working alongside Digital Greenwich. Earlier in February 2017, the Royal Borough was honoured to host a visit by the Taipei Representative in the United Kingdom. Mr. David Y. L. Lin met with councillor Denise Hyland, the Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council and other senior representatives. Mr Lin heard about Greenwich’s smart city work and toured the Innovation Centre meeting some of the businesses based at the centre. Mr Lin and Councillor Hyland expressed a desire for Greenwich and cities in Taiwan to work closely together on smart city innovation and explore opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is looking forward to the Mayor’s Summit and smart City Expo in Taipei as the next step in building closer relationships with Taiwan’s cities. Speaking before she departed London for Taiwan, Councillor Hyland, the Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to visit Taiwan and to learn more about its work on smart city innovation. It will be a privilege to meet with the distinguished Mayors from Taiwan’s leading cities. We have much to gain from closer collaboration and I hope the relationships we are building will be mutually beneficial. In Greenwich, we host businesses from many countries at our Digital Innovation Centre. I hope to welcome smart-city businesses from Taiwan in the future looking to locate in London. We also look forward to sharing our experiences of smart city innovation with cities in Taiwan, and explore opportunities to work together. As cities, we share the same challenges and can only benefit by working together to find shared solutions. “

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