City Live, in partnership with Eclipse Multiplay of South Africa, has announced itsa intention to distribute its Community Service Platform (CSP) in the South African market, helping both with service delivery and bridging the digital divide.
The CSP was met with considerable international interest in Belgium where it was developed in close conjunction with i-City, the world’s largest living laboratory for mobile applications and services. i-City was founded by Siemens, Fujitsu Siemens, Microsoft, Telenet, Concentra Media and the Flemish Authority in 2004 to serve as a living testing ground for convergent technology.
Convergent technology refers to the creative blending and application of diverse technological innovations, including digital use of voice, video, data, and web services over a single platform. Convergence has radically changed the ICT landscape, blurring technical boundaries and consumer target groups. Many organisations and local authorities are repositioning themselves to enhance service delivery and customer experiences and are looking out for additional services to offer added value without incurring major risks or cash lay-outs.
In Southern Africa local and regional authorities play an important role in distributing the Internet and narrowing the ever growing digital divide. Cities and urban councils have been enablers in the distribution of electricity, water, roads and other basic services and infrastructure and have become drivers for economic development and prosperity.
The Internet has become the core infrastructure of economic and social development. Cities and communities all over the globe deploy citywide broadband wireless networks that connect them and their communities to the Web. Through their participation in this process these communities have become wireless cities, using already existing and growing mobile devices in the hands of their citizens to close the digital gap in society and to create new jobs and opportunities.
Community Services Platform is a software implementation and managed service that provides an end-to-end solution to deliver applications and services to mobile subscribers.
City Live’s Mobile Cities Programme (MCP) takes it a step further, enabling citizens to easily access it and to use its capabilities to empower themselves in many ways.
The City Live platform contains a range of opportunities for users, including:
* An open, software platform to easily develop, deploy and operate their services on PCs and handsets, including laptops and mobile phones;
* A basic set of applications for use in digital cities and a software development kit;
* A worldwide eco-system of developers who continuously develop new applications;
* A global collective knowledge platform of all member cities, universities and technology partners;
* A marketing platform that helps position the city in its local region and globally; and
* Applications offered with the City Live platform include community safety, traffic management, field force automation, social networking, healthcare, communications, local news and entertainment.
Just like communities build wireless city networks to facilitate the exchange of information and enable new social and economic transactions, City Live builds a network of wireless cities on one common and open technological basis to accelerate the exchange of information and enable new social and economic transactions for each member community. This allows them to benefit from opportunities and ideas or learn from mistakes in other parts of the country, region or world.
Through its Community Services Platform and Community Applications, cities can embrace a new model where they engage the community in continuous online dialogue about all aspects affecting the community. It facilitates more frequent feedback and allows them to change course much faster when needed.
Not only does it improve public services, but it also enables citizens to participate in decisions that impact on their lives.