Academics and public sector organisations collaborate on London Wi-Fi project
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The Connectivity over London project was the brainchild of City University of London IT services director Claire Priestley as part of a wider drive to promote innovation and collaboration, alongside Stuart Brown, director of ICT at the University of London, and Camden Council interim CIO Omid Shiraji.
The scheme draws together numerous London borough councils, NHS trusts and other public sector organisations to improve connectivity for students, academics and public sector workers.
Under the agreement, locations that currently broadcast only the eduroam network can now also broadcast govroam, and vice versa. The effect is that users can securely connect to their organisational internet at many more sites than before, facilitating collaboration and mobile working.
“This concept is such a simple one,” said Priestley. “As CIOs and IT leaders across London, we all have the infrastructure, and for minimal investment and effort we can make a real improvement in the experience of our users. I have been so pleased with how well the idea has been received – we have had a great response, with our counterparts in every sector immediately recognising the benefits and agreeing to get involved.”
Early participants in the scheme, which has been live since September, include the borough councils of Brent, Camden, Haringey, Islington and Lewisham; City University of London, Imperial College, Queen Mary University of London and the University of London; the London Grid for Learning; the Local Government Association; and the Lewisham and Greenwich and Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trusts.
The organisers plan to expand the project to other educational institutions, non-profits, Transport for London and the London Fire Brigade, in the near future.
“Projects like this, where you share services with other organisations, often don’t happen, whether that’s for political, economic or contractual reasons,” said Brown. “The govroam/eduroam service is so simple that these barriers simply do not exist.
“It was easy and cheap to set up and users in London will be able to automatically and securely connect to Wi-Fi wherever govroam or eduroam is present. It has been great to be part of this project – I think it’s a perfect example of what you can achieve from effective collaboration between sectors.”
Camden’s Shiraji added: “Here is a great example of how a simple collaboration between digital leaders across sector boundaries can make an incredible difference to the way our staff and our students are able to work in London.
“I am proud that Camden, as Digital Council of the Year 2017, continues to lead the way in UK local government transformation and I am delighted that our partners across health, local government, education and the GLA family are coming together to drive change.”