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An Imaginary Walk Through London in 2020

By: Andrew Carr - Updated: 5 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
An Imaginary Walk Through London In 2020

Have you ever wondered what things would be like in the next 10 years? Technology changes our lives so fast that sometimes we can't keep up with it.

For instance, London in 2020 from a technological perspective may look a very different place to how it looks today. Most big cities need to make plans for the future, and London is no exception. The questions arise as to how the City will function from a technology perspective, in 2020.

It is well know for instance, that the London Underground has been in need of improvement and upgrade for decades. There are plans to do this and to privatise the service. However, it will be interesting to see how the underground and other aspects of London will look from a technology perspective in 2020.

Questions for 2020

Will the City see business conducted in new ways? Will technology reduce the waiting lists in the London hospitals? Will we be using our mobiles to perform financial transactions and for use at bank machines?

The Buses May Have Cool Facilities!

For the sake of argument let's take a typical London Bus. Although they are now building a monorail to replace the antiquated London Tube System it is still one of the most popular modes of transport. The buses have changed though. Today's London buses have toilets, and mobile "top up" machines installed on them.

No, we are not referring to "Pay As You Go" mobile phones we are referring to the fact that you can put credit on your mobile phone to use for purchasing goods and services. In other words, our mobile phones have become part of the new currency, and have replaced credit cards. If we need to purchase a service or goods now all we need to do is to touch an item and it is removed from the available "cash" credit contained on our phone.

Bank machines and "hole in the walls" have become a thing of the past, as we can now just walk into any bar, shop or other public place and it is possible for them to top up the "cash" credit on our phones or pay us cash direct from the till, by simply scanning the credit from our mobiles.

Security at the Palace

So, having reached the centre of London on the bus, we decide to visit the Buckingham Palace. The security has been changed recently, and the security guard is only needed for special circumstances. If we manage to get inside the grounds, the only way to gain entry into the building is to respond to a challenge on our mobiles, requesting an access password. However, that's not all. If the details on our mobile do match the details held on the security database we will not be allowed access to the building. Once we are inside the building security check out our credentials in the normal way. This adds another layer of security. The same system is in place at No10 at the Prime Minister's residence.

Fancy a Boat Trip on the Thames?

Time for a "boat trip on the Thames", I thought. I could see there were several of these small boats available at the side of the river. These are not manned or anything, they are available for any member of the public to use. All you do is to climb into the boat, pay the credit on your mobile and away it goes explaining the sites and sounds of London on the way via an audio track. The boat knows exactly where to go on the river, as underwater sensors guide it. It is restricted to a narrow lane on the Thames, and if there are any other boats nearby you simply press the "stop" button on the boat and press "go" when you are ready to re-start your trip. The system is great for family days out. If there are any problems you simply call someone on the intercom and they come and rescue you!

They Are Watching You!

One of the schemes they have in place at London is that you can "voluntarily" have a chip placed in your body in case of an accident. This means that if you are unfortunately taken to hospital they can immediately tell who you are and see other details about you without going through a long-winded administration process. It acts like an "identity" tag built in to your body. Actually, with the new terrorism acts coming into being in 2021, it may well become compulsory, but it takes "Big Brother" monitoring to a new level, and probably won't be very popular.

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