November 24, 2014
The City of Derry in Northern Ireland has announced that it is to introduce free Wi-Fi in all public places. The local council is to work with local business owners to introduce the programme in conjunction with the national Super Connected Cities scheme funded by the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Urban Broadband Fund. Full rollout of the programme is expected by the first half of next year and will be accessible to anybody who registers for unlimited access to the city’s network. The initiative claims that it ‘is geared towards increasing digital engagement and energising cultural and economic activity within the city. The network will be available for free public use, with the benefits of being easy to connect, filtered for user protection and scalable for future expansion.’ Derry is Northern Ireland’s second largest city and has in recent years focused inward investment on the digital sector. Last week, we reported on how the Italian Government is looking to offer free Wi-Fi in all public places across the country.
November 24, 2014
A new report published by engineering and design consultancy Arup and University College London claims that the pioneers of the smart cities movement need to take a more strategic approach to ensure that their spending on IT infrastructure is effective in meeting their objectives. The report Delivering the Smart City: Governing Cities in the Digital Age is based on research of eight cities including London and Bristol in the UK alongside a number of other prominent global cities such as Chicago, Barcelona, Stockholm and Hong Kong. The report found that the cities spend an average of 6 percent of their expenditure on IT services and technology, which amounts to approximately £23 million per city across the study and is roughly equivalent to the amount budgeted in the financial services sector worldwide. While the authors welcome this as a sign that tech spending is taken seriously, they also claim that more could be done to target this spending effectively and tailored to the specific needs of each city depending on factors such as its ‘ecosystem’, culture and governance. It believes that the lessons from this are appropriate to all cities, not just those already pursuing a smart agenda.
November 21, 2014
Day two of Worktech London and affirmation that far from dying, as so many headline writers would have us believe, the office is merely entering a new phase. The underlying theme of Worktech continues to be how we find new ways of weaving together the strands of presence and connectedness formed by cities, buildings and technology. Worktech is a constant reminder that while our world may be shaped by algorithms, we still need each other and need to be with other people at least some of the time. The event is admirably hosted by long time collaborator and MC Jeremy Myerson whose knowledge and donnish charm holds things together while the real Don, founder Philip Ross, beams from the sidelines. It is now de rigeur for such events to have a poet in residence and this year’s was Matt Harvey who summed things up at the end of the day with reference to Worktech’s longstanding idea of jellybean working but who popped up in between sessions with lyrical summations including one that showed some real spunk (you had to be there).
November 17, 2014
The Italian government is considering taking a drastic step to increase the number of publicly accessible WiFi hotspots across the country. As it seeks to close the broadband deficit from which it suffers compared to other European countries, a new bill has been proposed that would make it compulsory for almost every business to provide a hotspot. Those supporting the new law see it as a way of dragging the country up to some sort of par with other EU nations. At the moment Italy has just 50,000 hotpots according to WiFi network provider iPass, compared to 13 million in France and nearly 10 million in the UK. The new law has cross party backing and would oblige all businesses occupying at least 100 square metres and employing more than two people to not only create a WiFi connection but to allow the public to access it for free without a username or password. The new law will not only cover offices, bars and restaurants but also taxis and trains. While concerns have been raised about the proposed law’s necessity and enforcement the Italian parliament will debate it in earnest in the New Year.
November 11, 2014
As we prepare the upcoming issue of Work&Place (don’t forget to subscribe on our homepage), a reminder that the September issue of Work&Place is available to download or view as a PDF or now in an online edition. Amongst this issue’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s retrospective of last Summer’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement.
November 10, 2014
A new study by videoconferencing firm Atomico shows that the European centre for billion dollar technology start ups in Europe is Stockholm, followed by London and Berlin. The interactive visualisation from the survey shows that Stockholm is second only to Silicon Valley as a successful founding location for successful Internet businesses with a current market valuation of over $1 billion founded since 2003. Silicon Valley remains in a completely different league to locations on the rest of the planet with 53 startups, followed by Beijing with 17, New York with seven and Stockholm with five. London, meanwhile, has only three tech start up businesses in the £1 billion category despite its reputation as a hotbed of tech entrepreneurialism, the same number as Berlin. According to the report, Stockholm’s ability to foster successful tech startups is even more impressive based on its population of around one million, which makes it the second most prolific per capita location worldwide,with 6.3 billion-dollar companies per million people compared to Silicon Valley with 6.9.
October 9, 2014
Property developer Land Securities has released details of its 510,000 sq. ft. commercial property scheme on the site of the new Moorgate Crossrail station in the City of London. The mixed use scheme consists of two buildings providing 410,000 sq. ft and 100,000 sq. ft. of office space, a landscaped courtyard and a high level walkway linking the station site with the Barbican. Retail space will also be incorporated alongside the walkway. The scheme is part of a programme of development by Land Securities linked to the new line, which will provide a total of 1.1m sq ft around various Crossrail stations. The firms is expected to submit a planning application for the site later this year with work on the site expected to start in 2018 in parallel with the construction of the Crossrail station on site. As well as improving Greater London’s transport links, the £15 bn Crossrail project is seen as an important catalyst for property development in the capital.
September 25, 2014
Undeterred by the seriously stuttering start to existence of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, the government of Dubai (but of course) has announced plans for what it claims will be the first specialised sustainable city in the world. The plans for the characteristically modestly named ‘Perfect City’ were unveiled this week at the Cityscape 2014 trade show in Dubai and form one of the centrepiece projects of a seven year programme of development masterminded by Dubai Land Development (DLD). Work begins on the project begins next year and is expected to complete in 2021. As with Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City the idea is to create a sustainable hub for a particular industry, in this case real estate. The plans include a canal, 20,000 trees and the provision that 75 percent of the City will be made up of green space.