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Mobile key to service delivery

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Service delivery in the public sector is an on-going topic of discussion and according to MOHAMED CASSOOJEE, the only effective way to drive an efficient service delivery to South Africans is through the use of mobile.

Service delivery in the public sector is an on-going topic of discussion, as it significantly affects each individual South African directly.

According to Mohamed Cassoojee, vice president and country manager for Software AG in South Africa, the only truly effective way to drive out efficient service delivery to South Africans is through mobile access. “It just isn’t possible to build enough physical customer service centres across our extremely diverse areas of population, where over 50 million people are spread out across our country’s expansive area,” explains Cassoojee.

Cassoojee goes on to say that a major hurdle to the effective rolling out of mobile service delivery solutions is the lengthy and complicated procurement process when trying to take a blanket approach to implementing these systems on a national level. “The solution to this is for municipalities to take on the project of mobile connectivity themselves, and this is something that we’re seeing happening more and more,” says Cassoojee.

“A great example of this is the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM), which has recently been the recipient of global accolades for its advancements in digitising service delivery.” Based on case studies such as EMM, mobile connectivity has proven to be a significant way for individual municipalities to fast track service uptake, by both government employees and the general public. These include basic services like water, sanitation and electricity, as well as more extensive services such as healthcare, education and skills development.

“Mobile is especially impactful on those who do not have the convenience of being located close to customer services and city centres, such as residents of rural areas,” continues Cassoojee. He explains that one of the biggest challenges facing effective service delivery in South Africa is that services are concentrated in metro areas.

“The result is a huge amount of the population coming into these metro areas in order to gain access to services, which the country is simply not prepared for from an infrastructure perspective. The solution to this challenge is mobile connectivity. It allow government to drive the required deliverables and services outward, thus creating the opportunity for many people to move back to rural areas, which can have an enormously positive knock-on effect on our strained and overcrowded cities,” Cassoojee explains.

The revolution of mobile connectivity in service delivery also carries vast benefits for government employees. “We are able to not only create and roll out mobile device applications for the public to access these services, but also facilitate verification that government is required to conduct, through utilising mobile device reporting systems,” says Cassoojee. “Field agents are able to immediately capture and process information, regardless of where they are, without having to be tied to an office with endless paperwork.”

“This also significantly reduces the need for rural residents having to make multiple trips to the city at inconvenient times and at a high cost. Government will essentially be able to take these services to the people, rather than the people having to request them.”

The potential for the expansion of service delivery through mobile connectivity is limitless, and Cassoojee predicts that if South African municipalities are able to follow the example of public sector mobile pioneers such as EMM, both government and the general public will be able to experience substantial improvements in the delivery of a vast range of much needed services.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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