Technology to enhance service delivery

The Johannesburg Metropolis is slowly becoming a Smart City, optimising the use of technology to improve municipal functions and drive economic growth while improving the general quality of life for its people.
Through smart technology, there are now innovative ways of communicating and new economic opportunities for the City and its residents.
Lawrence Boya, the Director of the Smart City Programme says the City will have to consolidate its investments in smart infrastructure in order to enhance its competitive edge as a sustainable smart city which uses smart technologies in delivering services.
Boya says in future, the City will use digital platforms to provide a whole range of services to the communities such as primary healthcare services to the elderly, disabled, and chronically ill citizens, using the municipality’s extensive broadband network.
Thanks to the digital revolution, the core infrastructure elements of a Smart City which is digital infrastructure, would enable the city to deliver basic services such as water and electricity supply, smart waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, as well as e-services, and public safety.
“The City has already laid out hundreds of kilometres of broadband, it’s now time to leverage on that network in our bid to grow into a fully-fledged smart city,” he says
The overarching objective is to use smart technologies to advance sustainable service delivery, improve efficiency for residents and businesses, as well as visitors to the city.
“The application of a Smart City is much broader than technology; we are also looking at how we can deliver government services smarter by improving business processes,” Boya adds.
Going smart also means operating a paperless business environment because the City wants to be environmentally sustainable.
“It is part of changing from the old ways of doing things which may be unsustainable and harmful to the environment, to making a meaningful contribution in building a better, sustainable city” he says.
“As a Smart City, Joburg strives to deliver quality basic services to all residents cost effectively, faster, more efficiently and in a reliable way, using technology,” Boya explains.
Turning Joburg into a Smart City will result in improvements in information and data flow and capturing, increased opportunities for new skills and jobs and an improvement in business confidence in the municipality.
The municipality will also be able to deal quicker and effectively with infrastructure upgrades, community complaints, and service delivery backlogs.
Developing Johannesburg into a comprehensive Smart City will also improve the general quality of life, create employment, and provide the means to earn an income especially to young people. This will lead to the municipality bridging the digital divide, becoming sustainable and inclusive.
A smarter Johannesburg will be able to communicate better with residents through digital platforms, connect residents to free Wi-Fi and e-learning opportunities through broadband infrastructure, provide smart technology enabled transport, reduce its telecommunication costs, lower the general cost of digital communications and provide smart policing through CCTV cameras.
“We are currently implementing various projects across departments, these are isolated hence we are not seeing much impact at this stage. We need better coordination to have greater impact and to scale up the implementation,” says Boya.
He says as an aspirant Smart City Joburg wants to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public, and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare.
“We need to bring in a lot more people into the digital revolution, so that the digital divide within our society is narrowed and ultimately eliminated,” he explains.

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