There was a Smart City Summit a few weeks ago in Durban about how Smart Cities can change the way Africa lives in the next five years. They highlighted five Smart systems or projects that can change Africa.
- Intelligent Transport management is key for a Smart City to succeed. For example new roads and lanes are needed to deal with increasing traffic volumes and intelligent cars. There already are a lot of countries that are building intelligent technologies into their roads and cars. These intelligent technologies include roadside sensors, radio frequency tags and global positioning systems.
- Smart governments are also needed and can be created by implementing e-Government strategies. South Africa has been ahead in this game because they wanted to improve the interaction with its citizens by giving them access and information to e-Government services. This lessens the need for hard copy forms, eliminates the travel to go to government departments and another aim is that this will improve record keeping through computerization.
- The Green Council of South Africa said that the number of green buildings is increasing. In 2010, the National Association of Realtors Home Buyers and Sellers did a survey which revealed that almost 90 per cent of home buyers looked for houses that have energy efficient technologies like central heating and cooling systems. More than 70 per cent also has a desire for energy efficient appliances and almost 70 per cent also want energy efficient lightning. Nowadays it is compulsory for the building industry to include environmentally efficient methods in the construction of new buildings.
- IBM said that South Africa is one of the countries that is most ready for smart grids. Johannesburg has a residential demand response programme for which Eskom has already piloted 20,000 smart meters. These energy load-limiting meters can, together with smart appliances, turn appliances on or off according to signals from the grid. So you can decide for example to only turn on your washing machine when the electricity price is very low.
- Cities in the futures will change, but not very dramatically. It’s the quality of the lives of the people that will become more and more important. Cities will be fighting over the best and smartest brains to bring smart ideas and solutions to the city.
These five points describes are important for every city that wants to become a smart city. But for South Africa, it’s important to think of these points as soon as possible because the quality of their services needs to improve, especially education.