Government Develops Tech City Smartphone App

London’s Tech City, the Government’s brainchild of an area full of tech-related startups, now boasts its own smartphone apps.

The Android and iOS-based apps are free and are available for download from the Android Market and iTunes.

But perhaps what’s most surprising is that the developer of the apps is the British Government, which is notable, as it is only the second app ever developed by the Government other than the official Number 10 app.

Prime Minister Visit

Essentially, the new Tech City app contain facts, news, statics and other data (such as its tax policies) about the tech cluster, which is also commonly referred to as Silicon Roundabout. The apps also support Push notifications and are integrated with Twitter.

The apps allow the smartphone user to take a virtual tour around the area, thanks to Aurasma, which was developed by Autonomy. This allows the smartphone user to create “Auras” that blend content with other objects such as videos and podcasts.

Tech City is currently celebrating its first anniversary and the occasion was marked by a visit from the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Cameron’s ambition is for the area to become a leading technology city to rival Silicon Valley. Currently it is thought that there are now 600 companies operating under the Tech City umbrella.

“The successful growth we see today is thanks to the talented, creative entrepreneurs who have decided to set up there,” Cameron was reported as saying by the Telegraph. “We have already taken action such as introducing the Entrepreneurs Visa and tax breaks like the Enterprise Investment Scheme. We are also looking at new ways we can protect Intellectual Property.”

Cameron revealed the creation of the ‘National Virtual Incubator’ network that will connect research centres, as well science parks and higher education establishments by using the academic JANET network.

Other developments include Virgin Media teaming up with TheCube to create what it calls an ‘innovation lab’. The idea is that members of TheCube will test and develop new products and services that will be delivered across superfast broadband.

Busy Time

It has been a relatively busy year for the Silicon Roundabout. The area around Old Street received a boost when it was given a 1.5Gbps broadband trial by Virgin Media, which the company said was a resounding success.

In September, Google said it would take a ten year lease on a building in the area that will provide office space for other start-ups and entrepreneurs, and will host a range of activities, with speaker events, hackathons, training workshops, and product demonstrations.

Other big names are also starting to move the area, which is rapidly emerging as something of a hub for Internet companies and start-ups. So far Tech City has gained investment from Google, Cisco, Yammer, and others. It has also been considered for Twitter’s European headquarters.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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