Earlier this month, David Cameron launched the Tech Nation report, a comprehensive analysis of the clusters powering the UK's digital economy. Unsurprisingly, this found inner London to be the largest hotspot for digital employment - there are 300 per cent more professionals employed in the technology sector in inner London than in Bristol and Bath combined.
A significant proportion of these employment opportunities are within Tech City, yet it's still underappreciated by the wider public who view it as an irrelevant part of Shoreditch. However, there are several reasons why Tech City is London's hidden gem:
• Technology - It may seem obvious, but London's Tech City is the beating heart of technology innovation, with some of the world's biggest organisations now located in Shoreditch. The vast majority of consumers may not know it, but it's almost certain their laptops, tablets and smartphones will contain apps created or hosted in Tech City.
Businesses within Tech City range from software developers, producing the next viral apps and data centre providers, securely hosting business and consumer data, ensuring 'the cloud' doesn't collapse. This group of businesses has a huge impact on consumer technology and without it lifestyles would be altered hugely. Want to watch the latest episodes of Better Call Saul on Netflix or access your images on iCloud? Without data centres, you can forget about it.
• Education - A report released this month by a House of Lords committee entitled 'Make or Break: The UK's Digital Future' found digital literacy should be a core subject at schools, giving it the same level of gravitas as maths, English and science.
Having an area which promotes technology collaboration and education as avidly as Tech City does should be central to this. Although IT will be taught in schools across the country, knowing there is a hub which offers such high levels of IT employment works as an incentive for closing the technology skills gap. Of course, education doesn't stop at schools - networking throughout Tech City enables continued knowledge sharing. After all, where would the next generation of creative data centre experts, software developers and web designers come from without a platform to share ideas?
• Trendsetting - The start of each year sees experts forecasting future consumer technology trends - If you want to gain insight into which apps you'll be using this time next year, look no further than Tech City.
With so many influential businesses working out of Tech City, it's understandable that such a wide array of consumer technology originates from Shoreditch. Even businesses based elsewhere interact with the area - Drop Box recently invited Tech City developers to build apps on its API for example. Shoreditch is the place to be for the next generation of technology enthusiasts and its influence is only going to grow.
• Atmosphere - Tech City is like no other area of London. Most areas have clearly defined business hubs with housing and shopping outlets fairly separate. Located in the heart of Shoreditch, Tech City oozes the kind of character that can't be found anywhere else in London - where else could you leave a high security data centre to be greeted by long hair, sandals and oh so many juice bars?
Tech City may seem like just a small part of the patchwork quilt that is London, but the role it has to play in shaping consumer technology and closing the UK's IT skills gap is vital. Of course, if this can be achieved while sipping on a quality fruit smoothie, I'm not complaining.