Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, spoke at a fintech launch in Singapore during his six day tour of south asia, urging them to build supply drones. He cited the terrible traffic congestion problem in London which is bound to increase as online shopping becomes more and more popular.
While fintech firms have focused mainly on payment transfer platforms and contactless payments. Boris feels that the congestion problems need to be addressed by them. He said: “We have a problem, folks – all this internet shopping is leading to a massive increase in white van traffic dropping this stuff off – 45 percent it’s going to go up in London in the next seven years. That’s going to be terrible for congestion in our city and doubtless the same will be true of Singapore as well.
He added, “I look out at this brilliant audience here today, bulging with ideas, and I ask you possibly to solve it. We need a solution … Is it, as I hope, going to be drones? I want to be controlling an app that enables my shopping not only to be click and collect … I want my own personal drone to come and drop it wherever I choose.”
During the meeting, startups nation, Johnson received a demo application called Vieweet, which allows the shopper to view on-line store by virtually walking the aisles and looking at the products on the shelves. Johnson told the audience that the application offered solution to his family buys the same food all the time, leading to a surplus of chickpeas. Vieweet founder Domenic Versace said: “Shopping online is largely about collecting things from the list. I do not really engage the consumer in the same way, as in fact it is in the shop. What we’re trying to do is to bridge that gap. “
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Tech firms such as Amazon and Facebook are already working on their own drones, with the former trialling them at a research and development facility in Cambridge.
Boris, accompanied by a cohort of industry reps have been heralding the achievements of London fintech firms in singapore. For example, the mayor used the trip to announce that fintech firms in the UK capital have raised £342 million in 2014, more than any other year on record. Passion Capital Eileen Burbidge is on a trade mission, along with representatives of technology companies, including 26 transfer Azimo services, e-commerce company Shopitize and Inspired Mobile.
(image credit: Don McCullough)