Having already successfully powered the Johannesburg Road Agency Find and Fix mobile app, Intervate’s Citizen Reporting Framework service is being re-positioned as “Smart Citizen”.
Designed to enable bi-directional engagement and communication between citizens and their local authorities and service providers, the Smart Citizen product makes use of the most universal technology that most citizens have – a smartphone equipped with GPS and a camera. It connects citizens and authorities to help improve the environment, service levels and customer satisfaction.
Marc Fletcher, head of marketing and business development at Intervate (a T-Systems company), says: “Our South African product launch took take place at GovTech 2016. This coincides with a new microsite and once we’ve launched the product locally, we’ll be taking it worldwide at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on 15th November.”
The free downloadable Smart Citizen apps enable citizens to interact with local authorities on different utilities; be it water, electricity, roads or emergency services, and each authority can decide which services they’d like to deploy within their reach. Citizens report issues and provide a photograph and GPS location of the issue, thereby equipping local authorities with information to locate and assess the problem.
Accountability is provided by the Field Agent tablet app, which allows contractors to conduct remedial work at the location of the citizen-reported issue and mark that incident as resolved.
“Verification takes place by logging the GPS location of the field agent along with a photograph of the work done, which gives local authorities the ability to track their contractors and the assess quality of work, which was not possible before,” Fletcher explains.
This application provides the authority and citizen with the full feedback loop as the citizen receives verification of the resolved issue. This serves as acknowledgement that authorities are making a difference in their local community, which was not possible when the only means of engagement open to citizens was a call centre.
“As our tagline says, you can’t have a smart city without smart citizens, so we’re providing the citizen engagement part of the larger smart city solution, which starts at a basic level with infrastructure and connectivity, with the goal of building a truly digital city.”
Smart Citizen is already making a difference across South Africa. Intervate is currently working with the City of Johannesburg on its mobile app, Maru a Jozi, to add the mobile communication and back end management component, while the VayaMoja app is an uber-like initiative for smart citizen public transport commuting.
Intervate is a Microsoft CityNext partner. This programme is a partner-led initiative that empowers cities to be more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive – with a simplified approach. It helps cities unlock their potential by delivering innovative digital services that can help citizens lead safer, healthier, and more educated lives. Cities can tap into the solution portfolios of Microsoft and our partners and innovate at their own pace, Smart Citizen is one such portfolio item and Intervate hope to expand the product to cover a number of the other Smart City sectors.
“In previous incarnations of the platform we’d marketed it as a service, creating bespoke solutions for each use case over the last five years,” explains Fletcher. “Yet we have recently realised that it’s essential to package the platform and start selling it as a product, therefore making it easier for our customers to understand and by doing so speed up the roll-out of the smart city concept.
“The best way to get the product out there is through the creation of a global re-seller channel,” he adds. “We’re excited to take our product global and we have no doubt about its value and usefulness in connecting and empowering citizens across the world, improving service delivery and enforcing transparency and service accountability.”