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London tests out Smart City operating system

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London has become the trial city to test out a new operating system for smart grid technology.

London has become the trial city to test out a new operating system for smart grid technology.

According to a report provided by IDC, "Energy Insights Worldwide Utility Smart Grid Spending Forecast, 2010-2015", expenditure on smart grid technology will increase globally by 2015. In the midst of its prediction that smart grid spending will increase by 17.4 percent from 2010 to 2015 -- whereas overall spending will reach $46.4 billion -- London will now host a new operating system that could be the future of powering cities through smart grid technology.

The BBC reports that company Living Plan IT has designed a new operating system platform to connect the services of smart grid technology and city citizens. London has been chosen to put the platform through its paces; the Greenwich peninsula planned to be the central focus of the trial.

The corporation's "Urban OS" platform aims to connect key services for cities including water, transport and energy infrastructure. Partners in the scheme include Hitachi, Phillips and Greenwich council.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science was one of the signatories for the project. He said:

"The development of smart cities in future is a crucial commercial opportunity for Britain, and London is the right place to be doing it. London was the largest city in the world by the end of the 18th Century. Britain has more historical experience than most of being urbanised."

Urban OS is designed to be more robust than other smart grid operating systems currently on offer. Included within the platform will be modern sensory technology that monitors light and heating, 'smart' lamp posts, and potentially individual medical devices that can monitor heart rates and vital organs.

Greenwich is an area earmarked for restoration in London -- especially with the upcoming Olympics on the horizon. New homes and offices are being developed, a cable car service is being tested before opening, and testing out new smart grid technology could be a means to ensure this regeneration. Living Plan IT chief executive Steve Lewis said:

"We are entering a phase when everything becomes connected, from healthcare to transportation. This is about connecting things that previously never did."

Living Plan IT estimates that £13tn ($20.8tn) will be spent in regeneration and invigorating urban areas by 2020.

(via BBC)


Image credit: Pedro Figueiredo

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure