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What Will Help Us Become Smarter Cities?

Vino Govender is Executive for Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions and Innovation at Dark Fibre Africa. We explore the typical architecture and technological layers of a ‘Smart City’, his definition of a ‘Smart City’ in the African context, what will help us become smarter cities, improving Public-Private sector collaboration, how the Internet of Things will impact Africa over the next 5 years, the one thing he would change with his magic wand and what he hopes to see happen over the next 5 years.

Discussion highlights

This episode is brought to you in partnership with Digital Council Africa

Vino explains his definition of a Smart City in the African context

  • It is not just about technology.
  • When investments in not only the technology but in social and human capital are done efficiently and in a synergistic manner.
  • It creates an environment that is supported by policy, governance, and collaboration.
  • This enables a city to deliver on sustainable development goals, in a sustainable manner.

The typical architecture and technological layers of a smart city

  • Physical Infrastructure layer (e.g. Fibre done by DFA).
  • Supportive Infrastructure (e.g. sustainable power, the power that is one).
  • The platform layer is the layer that makes a city smart. It needs to be open, non-proprietary, have the ability to inject and make available data in different protocols, and have the API so that innovation can be driven.
  • Open Access Model, Vino explains.
  • The ability of the city to harness data from multiple points and make it available to 3rd party developers. Vino uses Barcelona as an example.
  • Governance is needed to ensure data is secure and that privacy and cybersecurity are taken seriously.

What will help us become smarter cities?

  • A clear, detailed strategy is needed.
  • Current IDPs (Integrated Development Plans) seem to lack the level of detail required.
  • Understand what your application roadmap looks like.
  • Understand what your technology roadmap looks like.
  • Understand what the roadmap architecture will look like.
  • Then you understand what the city has and what capabilities it needs to look for (like public-private partnerships).
  • Vino explains how to put together a roadmap and actionable strategy, using examples.

Improving Public-Private sector collaboration

  • Understand what capabilities you have within the city and what you require that don’t already exist.
  • A clear strategy and strategic execution plan is the starting point.
  • Understand the big inventory items you want, e.g. Funding and Capabilities.
  • Our large metros and even smaller towns are now well-positioned and capable to participate, Vino explains why.
  • We’ve got the building blocks, where do we fit it in is the next question.

How the Internet of Things will impact Africa over the next 5 years.

  • Vino uses examples and applications of how IoT is and will be impacting Africa. (skip to 14m46s).

The one thing he would change with his magic wand

  • Improve the level of collaboration that we have amongst the ecosystem (project and industry participants).
  • It enables us to align in a direction and increase efficiency.

What he hopes to see happen over the next 5 years

  • We’ve solved most of our foundational infrastructure requirements (power, utilities, fiber deployment, tower deployment, wireless technologies deployment.
  • Aligned city template strategy to plan and execute on.
  • Implemented collaboration platforms that enable more collective innovation.
  • Accelerated our investments in social and human capital.
  • Upskilling, knowledge transfer, and capability building.


About Vino Govender:

My experience spans across the areas of Marketing, Product Management, Strategy, Marketing Research and Insights, Customer Experience, PR & Media Relations, Corporate Communications & Stakeholder Management, and Corporate Strategy disciplines.

I have published market reports on converged solutions, corporate ICT adoption, and mobile consumer application adoption.

Have extensive experience in designing, developing, and commercialising Enterprise Customer Value proposition across multi-industry channels-to-market, spanning fixed and mobile voice, data, and ICT solutions, and have to lead the go-to-market strategy formulation and execution.

I have published market reports on converged solutions, corporate ICT adoption, and mobile consumer application adoption.

I bring a wealth of experience in designing and driving enterprise products and services developing rich customer propositions.

Specialties: Telecommunications strategy; Business case development; Market segmentation; Fixed-mobile convergence; Marketing; Forecasting.
Source: LinkedIn


About Dark Fibre Africa
DFA finances, builds, installs, manages, and maintains a world-class dark fibre network to transmit metro and long-haul telecommunications traffic in South Africa.

We started rolling out our network in South African cities during October 2007. At the beginning of 2018, we'd invested over R10 billion and installed close to 14,000 kilometres of fibre infrastructure nationwide.

We lease our secure transmission and backbone fibre infrastructure to telecommunications operators, Internet service providers, media conglomerates, tertiary education institutions, municipalities, government organizations, and other businesses, large and small, on equal terms. All our clients have access to the same dark fibre infrastructure with the industry-leading reliability and almost limitless capacity.

Open-access dark fibre empowers our clients to scale up their operations without spending large sums of money to expand their infrastructure. This enables small and medium enterprises to compete with larger players in the market and supports a vibrant, sustainable local SME sector.

Our open-access managed services lower the barriers to entry for those service providers who wish to get their customers connected as quickly and easily as possible. In contrast to our dark-fibre offerings, customers don't need to provide their own equipment. We provide everything, and we ensure that it remains up and running.

One of our major goals is to power smarter South African cities that are cheaper to conduct business in.

Our headquarters are in Irene, Centurion, with regional offices in Durban and Cape Town. Our state-of-the-art network monitoring centre in Rivonia, Johannesburg, provides round-the-clock monitoring and maintenance to ensure that our network remains up and running 24/7.

Visit www.dfafrica.co.za


About the Digital Council Africa
Digital technologies offer widespread disruption and will, with it, unlock new opportunities for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to services. The goal of the organisation is to stimulate growth in the digital sector by sharing knowledge on this subject with policy makers, operators and influencers.

The Digital Council's mission is to support public and private sector to work together to deliver on the expectations of a gigabit society. Through developing the digital transformation stack - we hope to educate and guide all involved in the framework and infrastructure for the next generation of Internet applications and platforms and ultimately to remove the boundaries of technological inclusion.

Visit: https://www.digitalcouncil.africa/

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