Thames Freeport, Seoul and Barking and Dagenham Council sign …

THAMES Freeport has agreed a ground breaking partnership with the Seoul DigitalFoundation, South Korea, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, and ConnectedPlaces Catapult to launch a Smart Homes Innovation Hub in Barking, London.The agreement is seen as the start of a long term relationship to collaboratively developsmart city and smart home technology, promoting sustainable living, connectivity, andurban development.

The new partnership was launched yesterday (7 November) at the Smart City Expo WorldCongress in Barcelona. It will see a group of innovative businesses from Seoul working inLondon early in the New Year, initially developing solutions to improve the energy andheating efficiency of existing homes – lowering costly bills and reducing emissions.There will also be a focus on making homes safer, especially for more vulnerable residents,through the development of health tech that can be deployed in the home and in thecommunity.

The agreement opens up opportunities for UK businesses to export and work in SouthKorea, creating a new high-tech highway between the UK and South Korea developingsolutions for cities globally.

The UK and South Korea have a strong collaborative relationship and trading history, tracingback over 140 years. South Korea is widely regarded as a global leader in smart citytechnology, with Seoul being awarded World Smart City of the Year in 2022.

Thames Freeport is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to stimulate trade, accelerate energytransition, and transform the lives of people in London and the boroughs to its east. Itcontinues to establish new global partnerships that create new sustainable jobs, drive real-world innovation, and deliver net zero.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council and Thames Freeport boardmember, said: “This new partnership represents a huge opportunity for Barking andDagenham and cements our position as a place for innovation on the world stage.“We’re a council committed to combating the climate emergency, so I’m delighted thatthrough this partnership with the Seoul Digital Foundation we’ll be taking a lead inimproving energy efficiency.

But this partnership isn’t just about saving the environment, it’s also about bringing in skilledjobs and high-level investment to Barking and Dagenham, something we’re dedicated todoing.”

Be First, the Council’s regeneration agency, will be supporting this pilot as part of itsemerging Regeneration & Inward Investment Strategy, helping showcase the Borough’senormous opportunity, with a focus on how smart city technology could be deployed tosolve some of the big infrastructure challenges of rapid urban growth in the Borough, as wellas supporting retrofit”.Martin Whiteley, CEO Thames Freeport, said:“This partnership will stimulate trade and investment, create good value jobs, andaccelerate energy transition. It will encourage innovation in the supply chain, create highvalue jobs and enable wider regeneration in the surrounding areas. The Freeport is excitedto be working with the Seoul Digital Foundation, a leader in Smart City and Smart Homestechnology”.

Nicola Yates OBE, Chief Executive Officer at Connected Places Catapult said:“Connected Places Catapult is proud to be working alongside Thames Freeport and the SeoulDigital Foundation to support innovators with fresh ideas that can be harnessed to make ourcities smarter and more sustainable.

“Through this new collaboration, which will be based in the UK out of the London Boroughof Barking and Dagenham, we will be driving job creation, the commercialisation of newtechnologies and business growth. We will also be supporting business opportunitiesbetween the UK and South Korea and success for both London and Seoul, as well as cities”.