Intel, Imperial College London and University College London have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of an Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities research, based in London. The new Institute will be part of the Intel Labs Europe network of Research and Development, Product, and Innovation Labs.
Between them the three organisations bring together expertise in technology, user experience, business model innovation, the built environment and commerce. Research will draw on these areas, with details of individual projects expected to be confirmed by the end of June.
Intel’s CTO, Justin Rattner, said “The collective goal is to establish a new, open, collaborative research institute focused on understanding and enhancing the sustainability of cities and their inhabitants’ quality of life. Intel and the two universities are already hard at work defining a robust research agenda including plans to engage the communities in and around London in defining the future of sustainable city life.”
It’s good news for the UK and London. Smart cities are a significant element in moving to a more efficient, low-carbon economy, although it’s not always clear how much is about doing things ‘better’, as opposed to saving energy and emissions. But it’s certainly generating a lot of interest around the world - IBM, among others, is doing great business in the market and I guess Intel is looking for a bigger slice of the action.
The signing took place at 10 Downing Street before a discussion on advancing UK competitiveness. At the moment any new business investment in the UK is seen as an achievement by the government, hence the publicity, although I bet the newly re-elected Mayor of London, who often talks of London becoming a greener city, would have liked to have been in on the act.