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University of Greenwich’s Business School

Social behaviour specialists at the University of Greenwich’s Business School are supporting a pioneering bid to boost local communities and economies by turning London into a Smart City.

The Smart City project was launched at London Tech Week on Tuesday 13 June. It was being led by Digital Town Ltd, a Seattle-based digital smart community company, in partnership with the operators of the .LONDON top-level domain name – Dot London Domains Ltd and Minds + Machines.

Residents, licensed businesses and organisations across the capital are to be provided with Smart Wallets, which will include unique domain names and email addresses alongside access to networks and cloud-based apps.

The Smart Wallets will make it easier to search for, connect and do business locally via the web and mobile devices.

The Business School team, headed by Professor Bruce Cronin, has been invited to research how people react to and use their Smart Wallets to create new communications networks.

The research team is already working with Digital Greenwich – a Smart City technology initiative launched three years ago by the Royal Borough.

Digital Greenwich has been focusing on providing information, including personal reviews, about local businesses and organisations to residents and the borough’s estimated 18 million annual visitors.

Bruce Cronin is Professor of Economic Sociology, and the Business School’s Director of Research. He says: “The aim is to take advantage of new technologies to plan and create a web-based infrastructure to boost communications locally and across the social cities of the future.

“Putting residents, businesses and organisations in easy contact with each other has the potential to build local trade, growing the borough’s economy, and to enable people to build new virtual social structures across their communities.

“It also offers visitors more opportunities to discover local businesses and services as well as places to visit in addition to having access to local people’s comments and recommendations.”

Professor Cronin’s researchers have been interviewing Greenwich residents about the ways they currently engage with each other, local businesses and services.  Further research is planned to discover if and how their behaviours change with access to the new technologies.

He adds: “Our focus is on human behaviour and the ways technology can impact on how people interact within their communities, whether it is with other residents, businesses or organisations.”

For more on studying with the university’s Business School: http://www.gre.ac.uk/business/about/welcome