Feeds

Desperately seeking WLAN apps for London

Westminster offers prizes to get citizens using city Wi-Fi

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.