Feeds

Desperately seeking WLAN apps for London

Westminster offers prizes to get citizens using city Wi-Fi

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Wireless Event City wireless LAN pioneer Westminster City Council has kicked off a competition to find new applications to run on its planned city-wide Wi-Fi network.

Along with sponsors BT and Vertex, it is offering prizes of £1,000 in each of three categories: Wireless Living to improve the daily life of individuals, Wireless Neighbourhood to benefit groups and communities, and Wireless Business. A fourth £1,000 is on offer for the best idea from the three partners' own staff.

Contestants are invited to design applications in up to 1,000 words and submit them on the competition website.

So does this mean that Westminster is having trouble finding enough uses for its city-wide WLAN? Certainly not, said councillor and city cabinet member Daniel Astaire.

"Westminster has the ambition to be the greatest city to work, live, and play in anywhere in the world," he enthused. "So we need to embrace new technology and find ways to be more efficient.

"We're already moving our own services to wireless, but there's a lot more we've not thought of. I hope we'll have some ideas that could even be rolled out across the city in 2008."

It does seem though that the council has realised that its WLAN plan was short of personal value to taxpayers. So far, its main users are council field staff - parking attendants, environmental health officers and the like - plus those members of the public willing to pay for access to its BT OpenZone overlay. Free services are limited to exciting stuff such as access to the council's own website.

Jon Lane, who runs BT's Wireless Cities programme, acknowledged that if city WLANs are seen to benefit only council staff and business travellers, they could well hit problems - even before the scaremongers spot the first Wi-Fi aerial going up outside a Westminster primary school.

"The key challenge is to move from the current range of fairly simple services to a new range of services and devices," he said. "The interesting thing for me was how quickly people came up with ideas such as 'Couldn't we do this...' or 'Couldn't we do that...'."

The sample suggestions offered by Westminster and its partners are predictable enough though, ranging from finding parking spaces online to information for tourists and visitors.

The Westminster network was piloted in Soho and some of the city's housing estates. Covent Garden and Whitehall are next, and Westminster's whole eight square miles should be covered by the end of 2008, according to Astaire.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.