West London’s approach to understanding connected technologies

West London boroughs (Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow) have a strong track record of sub-regional collaboration. Over the last few years, through the West London Alliance (WLA), they’ve successfully worked together to improve digital infrastructure. New digital networks have the potential to generate £5.8-£6.3 billion in additional GVA (Gross Value Added) per year in West London, so the stakes are high. While we’ll continue to ‘fix the plumbing’, we’re turning our attention to exploiting networks to improve the lives of residents and help businesses thrive.  As demand for local government services continues to grow, and so too do budget gaps. We wanted to understand which Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G use cases have the greatest positive impact on the lives of those living and working in West London. 

The West London Connectivity Impact Framework

The boroughs working with WLA, have developed the West London Connectivity Impact Framework to quantify the outcomes for residents of connected technologies, ranging from Internet of Things sensors for damp and mould, to virtual skills hubs. The project, with expertise from Jacobs, has created a powerful tool that enables us to forecast economic, social and environmental impacts of connected use cases. 

The Framework draws on both national and local data sets, with no personal data included. This approach helps us to understand the impact of different connected use cases at a sub-regional level, but also produces bespoke modelling for each borough. We’ve learned from existing IoT deployments, fostering a best-practice-based approach to the adoption of connected solutions. For each use case, critical success factors and barriers to success were identified. We also looked at whether the use cases are likely to have disproportionate impacts on particular groups of people based on protected characteristics under the Equalities Act. 

To ensure the work feeds through to practical implementation, there’s also a set of market engagement questions to help boroughs and suppliers mitigate risks. The Framework is designed so that additional use cases can be added. The use cases that feature in the Framework so far include monitoring technology, early detection of damp and mould, predictive maintenance, remote visual assistance, pop-up 5G network, fly-tipping detection, visual skills hub and waste reduction incentivisation. 

West London Digital Place Board

Additionally, the Framework prompted a wider look at sub-regional collaboration to support the boroughs’ in creating a truly digital place, allowing residents to live safely at home for longer, enjoy a better environment, grow their businesses, or gain new skills. A new West London Digital Place Board, led by the boroughs’ Chief Digital Officers and supported by the WLA digital team, is driving the work and reports into the West London Chief Executives. The Board is overseeing improvements to digital infrastructure at sub-regional level. It is also identifying how collaboration can deliver better outcomes by sharing costs and risks, securing the benefits of new technology deployments, or creating more effective relationships with suppliers as we put that infrastructure to use to improve services for residents.  

As well as looking at issues such as digital skills, AI, data and automation, the Board’s using the Impact Framework to prioritise which connected use cases, or elements of them, we can work on together to get solutions in place for residents faster, or to get better value. Always keeping an eye on good practice, the Board draws on the excellent work of Socitm, LOTI and others, but looks at it through a West London lens, considering local factors affecting adoption and how we can work with residents to make the tech deliver for them.  

Mark Lumley, Director for Digital, IT and Resilience at the London Borough of Hounslow chairs the West London Digital Place Board, shares: 

”I believe the value of the West London CDOs working together on a place-based approach is immense. We have a number of common areas of interest and opportunities in the work plan that provide us with a unique opportunity to collaborate and drive positive change. 

By leveraging the Connected Solutions Impact Framework and the workplan, we can collaborate together, improve skills and deliver meaningful results to our communities in West London.”

West London boroughs are deeply engaged in LOTI’s Pan London IoT project and the Board’s work complements that. Sensors to detect the risk of damp and mould in council housing stock is one of the use cases included in the Impact Framework. The Impact Framework tells us that this could radically increase residents’ satisfaction with their homes and us as landlords, reduce disrepair rectification costs and enable savings for the NHS. Working with LOTI, or through their own housing teams, all of the West London boroughs are now either piloting, or rolling out these sensors. 

To learn more about the West London Connectivity Impact Framework, contact Lucy Dunn or visit our website.

This blog has been written by Lucy Dunn, Senior Digital Place Engagement Manager from West London Alliance. 

Lucy Dunn
22 May 2024 ·
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