Boris Johnson demonstrated a smartphone app to help Londoners report litter and vandalism today, by cleaning graffiti off a wall in the capital.
The 'Love Clean London' app enables people to upload photographs of graffiti, fly-tipping and litter using GPS. Boroughs then receive the report as an e-mail.
The application is built on Microsoft's "Azure" cloud computing platform and is available on all smartphone operating systems.
Boris Johnson said: "In tough financial times, this smart use of technology can deliver genuine savings whilst encouraging people to take an active pride in their local environment. I am urging more boroughs to get behind it and more Londoners to spruce up the capital in the run up to 2012 and beyond."
The application was first developed by Lewisham Council in 2004 and will now be rolled out across all London Boroughs. The council says complaints about graffiti fell 30% in two years. Processing time fell 87%. A report using this systems costs Lewisham £1.50 compared to using the web (£4.10) or phone (£5.10), it says.
Jason Burton, government industry market development manager at Microsoft UK, says the costs for councils would have been prohibitive without cloud technology. "This gives councils flexibility and scale. Traditionally each council would have had to buy a load of servers to anticipate peak demand. But this way the operational costs are in the hundreds of pounds."
Burton says Microsoft will not recoup much in profits from the Love Clean London app, but believes the venture will help position Microsoft as a leading cloud player.