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Reimagining our urban spaces at Canary Wharf


November 2, 2022


A guest blog from Mark Nallen, Director of Technology Innovation for Canary Wharf Group.

London has long been accustomed to the sight of commuters arriving at Canary Wharf station during rush hour, as the city’s premier business district it’s an area that continues to emerge post-pandemic. Businesses are adapting to cater to a new audience that stays after working hours again, keen to enjoy all that Canary Wharf has to offer, from new restaurant and bar openings to the UK’s fastest indoor go karting track and Fairgame’s innovate twist on the funfair. Its transformation is supported by technological innovation that is enhancing the lives of thousands of residents, workers and visitors daily.

A symbol of the community’s renewal is our newest waterside neighbourhood, Wood Wharf, which boasts parks and gardens, waterside living where residents and visitors can relax, enjoy paddle boards, or hire GoBoats to explore the docks, and new to the experience, they can now do so with seamless access to reliable and secure Wi-Fi. No waterlogged selfie goes un-posted, and a follow on session or lunch to recuperate can be booked with no interruption to the experience. Dare we say it, hybrid work even starts to take on new meaning when you can truly connect from anywhere.

We believe that technology can revolutionise the way we work and live, enabling communities to thrive in a safer, healthier and more welcoming environment, where smart buildings and public spaces enhance the living experience and co-exist in harmony with the local community.

To address the growing challenge of enabling a seamless online experience in a densely populated area with over 300 shops and restaurants, we have adopted the latest connectivity technology, including Cisco’s Wi-Fi 6 and OpenRoaming capabilities to provide our residents and visitors with reliable and secure Wi-Fi.

Cisco’s Wi-Fi 6 is designed to handle the increased demand for connectivity without interruption, especially for events such as concerts and the popular Winter Lights festival which returns from the 18th to 28th of January. The Open Roaming capabilities deployed across the Estate, even on the docks, mean customers can access the Wi-Fi network across the entire Canary Wharf estate automatically, using a pre-existing ID to connect to the network. We also use Cisco Spaces to understand the flow of people across the property. It helps us to gather insight on how visitors and residents are using the public spaces; from parks and shopping malls to gyms and office spaces, so we can offer better services.

As well as investing in the latest connectivity, the introduction of more green spaces is another key aspect of Canary Wharf’s transformation. The area has long been associated with high-rise buildings, but with our continued commitment to sustainability, our aim is to make Canary Wharf a more green, biodiverse and enjoyable area for residents and visitors alike. In a unique partnership with the Eden Project, the Cornwall-based charity with a known track record in sustainability leadership, Canary Wharf Group is tackling the challenge of increasing biodiversity in urban spaces. The partnership will accelerate the transformation of Canary Wharf’s public realm through the creation of a green spine through the heart of the Estate and improved connections to the water at Middle Dock. With seamless connectivity and analytics. As with all parts of the site, Cisco Spaces will help provide better understanding of the utilisation of the space, and the behaviours of people within it.

Connectivity and data sit at the core of our transformation. We’ve been working in partnership with Cisco for some time now and wanted to enhance our 5G offering. Choosing Cisco to utilise Wi-Fi 6 made complete sense. The technology compliments our plans to make sure we can deliver enhanced experiences – for life and work.

See how people can now work, live and thrive at Canary Wharf.

https://video.cisco.com/detail/video/6310421051112

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