Connected Smart Cities a Must for South Africa

  • Connecting cities to the Internet of Things (IoT) is a priority for the South African government.
  • South Africa is looking at creating smart cities where our technology can be used in smart grids to connect to amenities, transport and services.
  • Innovative solutions are needed to roll out rural coverage and interconnectivity.

According to the South African Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, connecting cities to the Internet of Things (IoT) is a priority for the South African government. Kubayi-Ngubane made this declaration at the ITU Telecoms World Congress this week in Durban.

She was speaking during the first session of a ministerial roundtable on the role of governments in driving Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). “We are looking at creating smart cities where our technology can be used in smart grids, smart healthcare, where sensors connect data in hospitals, trains, grids and so on. All sensors will be interconnected by the IoT,” said the minister.

Essentially, IoT entails various devices connected through networks that allow the devices to communicate with one another. MTN CEO and group president Rob Shuter and Ericsson’s head of special projects Mikael Bäck, represented the telecoms industry. While ministers from Palestine, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Sudan, Singapore, Botswana, Lesotho, and Vietnam also took part in the dialogue.

Kubayi-Ngubane stressed the importance of broadband access which will enable IoT to be viable and affordable. “When it is available, the price is prohibitive. This is the first challenge when creating smart cities,” she stated. She further pointed out that the technologies required to make smart cities are the tools of the fourth industrial revolution.

She said that the government has introduced the SA Connect programme to provide communications access to citizens, however, skills are still needed to drive this programme.

Rob Shuter, CEO MTN said there was still “a lot of work to be done by industry players” regarding entry-level costs of data. He also stated that innovative solutions are needed to roll out rural coverage. MTN have partnered with renewable energy company Fenix International to power 30000 Zambian households.

Author: Balbawa Bungane

This article was originally published on ESI Africa and is republished with permission. Link to original

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