South Africa can accelerate its move to smart cities

Issue 8 2022 Security Services & Risk Management


Jan Bouwer.

Smart cities offer a multitude of advantages for both government and residents. They use technology and data to improve the efficiency of a city and the lives of its residents, including making the city more environmentally sustainable.

Take Singapore, for example. From digital healthcare to contactless payments systems, near-universal broadband and energy-efficient buildings, Singapore has become the global poster child for smart cities.

Dubai is another global frontrunner offering over 120 fully digital government services on the DubaiNow app, allowing residents to do everything from paying fines to settling bills, applying for residency, and accessing health services.

Other leaders in the move to digitise city living are Zurich, Oslo, Helsinki, Auckland and Lausanne.

What can South Africa learn?

In 2019 President Ramaphosa announced the intended development of three smart cities - Nkosi City, bordering the Kruger National Park, the African coastal smart city in the Eastern Cape, and the Lanseria Smart City in Gauteng.

Nkosi City is intended to be a job generator where employment will be driven by agricultural projects built alongside RDP housing in an integrated manner which will allow residents to sustain themselves from the farms. The city will derive power at least partially from a solar farm and biomass renewable energy plant.

The African coastal smart city is still in the planning stages and will serve as an investment catalyst for one of the country’s under-developed regions.

The Lanseria Smart City will take advantage of the nearby airport to drive its growth and economic development, and feature rainwater harvesting and solar energy, along with urban planning that encourages a pedestrian lifestyle.

What the global smart city leaders have in common, however, is that they have built on, and developed existing infrastructure, transforming it iteratively. South Africa is well positioned to adopt this approach in concert with the development of new cities.

South Africa’s ‘unsmart’ cities are ripe for digitising. Our biggest cities have a lot of the essential infrastructure that forms a solid base for a smart city conversion, including high levels of smartphone penetration, high-speed fibre networks, CCTV camera networks and, increasingly, Internet of Things sensors, solar power and rainwater harvesting systems.

Cape Town is already hailed as one of the leading smart cities in Africa, along with Nairobi. It boasts end-to-end solutions, including fibre, that are able to support everything from emergency systems to billing processes. CCTV systems located throughout the city provide data which can be used to analyse traffic volumes and other variables that affect congestion and need to be considered in city planning. Capetonians have already experienced how this can be used to their advantage: recent data showed that the city should scale back on the number of buses on the road.

Both Johannesburg and Pretoria also house wide CCTV networks, which could be used to collect and analyse data. Maintenance of many of these systems is needed, but South Africa has the skills and the expertise to do this quickly and effectively, harnessing the potential these cities have to establish themselves as global competitors.

Leveraging the infrastructure already in place would not only be less costly but would also enable the country to start delivering on its smart city vision more rapidly.




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Employee screening trends
iFacts Security Services & Risk Management
Criminal record checks still the most popular background check conducted around the world, but global employee screening trends are changing according to iFacts.

Read more...
South African business readies for a journey to the cloud
Security Services & Risk Management
There is an increasing demand for cloud services in the country, driven by the need to use advanced technologies such as AI while also providing hybrid workers access to data, regardless of their location.

Read more...
What to do in the face of growing ransomware attacks
Technews Publishing Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Ransomware attacks are proliferating, with attackers becoming more sophisticated and aggressive, and often hitting the same victims more than once, in more than one way.

Read more...
Where does SA logistics stand as far as cybersecurity is concerned?
Logistics (Industry) Security Services & Risk Management
Lesiba Sebola, director of information technology at Bidvest International Logistics, says it is paramount to safeguard IT infrastructure given how central it has become to operations.

Read more...
The Deposita Protector 3000 d-s1
Deposita Security Services & Risk Management
The Protector 3000 d-s1, designed for medium-sized enterprises, improves the level of security at the business and helps optimise resources by streamlining cash-handling processes.

Read more...
Top fraud trends to watch in 2023
News Security Services & Risk Management
Even though financial concerns remain a significant obstacle for companies in implementing new anti-fraud technologies, 60% of businesses expect an increase in their anti-fraud technology budgets in the next two years.

Read more...
Be cautious when receiving deliveries at home
News Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection Security Services & Risk Management
Community reports of residents being held up at their gate when collecting fast food deliveries at home are once again surfacing.

Read more...
Sasol ensures Zero Trust for SAP financials with bioLock
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Multi-factor authentication, including biometrics, for SAP Financials from realtime North America prevents financial compliance avoidance for Sasol.

Read more...
Protecting yourself from DDoS attacks
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
A DDoS attack, when an attacker floods a server or network with Internet traffic to prevent users from accessing connected online services, can be costly in both earnings and reputation.

Read more...
Crossing the chasm
Editor's Choice News Security Services & Risk Management Training & Education
Industry reports suggest that in the next ten years, millions of jobs could go unfilled because there simply are not enough people to fill them.

Read more...