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SA's smart city finalists win big for innovation

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South Africa's City of Johannesburg's Smart City Office has awarded all four smart city challenge innovators 500,000 South African rand (US$31,433.77) for bringing solutions to the city.

Instead of choosing one winner, the South African municipality stated that all four challengers provided solutions that the capital city needed. Therefore, it was only logical to award the companies for their hard work.

During an award ceremony hosted by the Smart City Office, in collaboration with South African University's Wits Tshimologong Innovation Precinct, the office's Deputy Director Monique Griffiths cited that, after vetting all the innovators, it emerged that they all had solutions the city needed to accelerate service delivery, improve safety and enhance operational efficiencies.

"All the innovators had solutions that we as the City need and therefore, I am glad to announce that we have decided to award all of them with the cash prize," Griffiths added.

Smart City Office Leader Lawrence Boya said that after months of trying to get the best solutions from the large volume of applications received, the quality of applicants ensured they all became winners.

"We will have four winners who will each pocket half a million rand and an opportunity to pilot their solutions with the City departments or entities in the line of business linked to the chosen solution," Boya said.

Smart City Challenge winners

  • Iconix Engineering's Smartee has used Internet of Things (IoT) technology to design and develop an anti-theft and theft-deterrent solution for infrastructure that provides the location and timestamps of any tampering with the city's equipment.

  • QH Consultants' BizTweak helps micro-enterprises diagnose gaps in their business. This is a self-assessment platform that culminates in a business health report which shows the strengths and weaknesses of the businesses, and then recommends content that educates on addressing the gaps realized.

  • Technological Plumbing Solutions developed an IoT polymer composite manhole cover called Prev leak which is fitted with an ultrasonic proximity sensor, micro controller and Sigfox network module that detects and reports sewage blockages to South African municipalities.

  • Graf-in Tech developed a fleet-tracking software with embedded artificial intelligence capabilities for vehicle tracking, monitoring and data analytics in real-time to enable the city to save costs and improve service delivery.

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    *Top image is of The Smart City Office finalists who were awarded the cash prize. (Source: City of Joburg.)

    — Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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