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Smart City in Africa

The Fourth Industrial Revolution that has been used time and time again to describe the envisioned connected society of the future. As much as this future society will be grounded on a foundation of various underlying elements, connectivity continues to sit at the very heart of its success. In order to connect one metro to the next, today’s generation will need to “get the ball rolling”, to say the least.

Broadband infrastructure has a unique ability to overcome the long-standing challenge that is connecting citizens to government, who can then communicate the services they require to be delivered. Initiatives, such as Vodacom’s base station network deployment in the deep rural areas of the Umhlabuyalingana Municipality, serve as the perfect example of the power of network connectivity. The deployment of the base stations has enabled locals to use their phones to report criminal activities and assist police officials curb cross-border criminal activities along the Mozambique border.

This was possible through extended network connectivity in the deep rural areas of Umhlabuyalingana.

Community members reporting faulty power lines to their respective government officials through an app, security cameras capturing criminal activities in high-risk areas or even the luxury of smart traffic lights that convey traffic congestion to commuters, only becomes a reality in the presence of broadband infrastructure in our communities.

To create seamless government-to-government, government-to-citizen and government-business communication, partnerships between government and the private sector need to be established. Optimal communication channels become an integral part of this process, channels unlike those that exist in our current government municipalities, which is why we need to improve on the existing infrastructure. The opportunities that lie at the end of this digital rainbow have the potential to further propel the country towards a world-class economic standing.

The biggest take-out from the architectural design of the Fourth Industrial Revolution revolves around the application of the Internet of Things (IoT), and its ability to further the country’s societal development. This includes addressing long-standing issues, issues that not only exist in our poorer municipalities, but those that exist in our greater provinces as well.

High-speed internet connectivity coupled with IoT solutions has successfully enabled apps, such as “Drop Counter”, to measure the amount of water used during activities such as the brushing of teeth, “Drop Drop”, to measure periodic water consumption and water-saving technology of the future embedded in smart appliances such as fridges, ovens and microwaves. All of which work towards saving water and electricity through the use of sensors. We’ve struck gold in the discovery of viable options to combat the challenges that lie within drought-stricken areas, such as the Western Cape, thanks to the presence of adequate broadband infrastructure and forward-thinking technological solutions.

Broadband infrastructure development in rural villages, small towns and even our greater provinces is the key to not only unlocking economic freedom, but also connecting South African citizens to better service delivery and ultimately the world.

The key to overcoming the hurdles that stand in the way of our country’s progression lies in linking citizens to connectivity solutions. We, as a country, are headed in the right direction, despite the work that needs to be done and the hurdles that still need to be scaled. Private sector players, such as Vodacom Business, and government municipalities still have quite a journey to travel. But together, the challenge of connectivity can be overcome.

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