Adapt-IT, the development company at the centre of the R6,5-million eThekwini 2010 portal furore, has justified what some have labelled an excessive price tag by going public with the long-term strategy and plans for the site.
CEO Sbu Shabalala tells IT-Online that the information portal that can be seen now is just Phase one of the project, with a further three phases still to come.
The current site, which has cost about R850 000.00 so far, provides Durban's residents, business and the media with up-to-date information on the city's 2010 preparations. It also highlights the area's attractions and provide relevant tourist information.
This part of the project is under the auspices of FIFA and all of the approximately 60 000 words that have been written in English, Zulu, Spanish, German and French – which is the last language to go live next week – have been approved by FIFA.
The second phase is for an interactive portal and will include a comprehensive overview of the city by means of interactive mapping, video content and image galleries. This phase is about 85% complete and will go live soon.
Phase three, which is expected to go live as the match draw takes place in December, is the visitor portal. It will incorporate a number of tools to showcase Durban and content will shift to updates, content on games and local events.
During this phase, Durban will engage with the public across all major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Other information pertinent to visitors will also be included in Phase three, including an accommodatin finder, a dining database, an activity finder, advanced interactive mapping, blogs, CCTV camera integration, interactive galleries, FIFA feeds, realtime security and public notices and up-to-date information on fan parks and 2010 events.
The final phase looks beyond the 2010 FIFA World Cup, says Shabalala and will deliver a citizen-centric portal as well as becoming the main tourism portal for the city of Durban.
"The bigger picture is that eThekwini Municipality is looking at how it can provide services to its citizens, and the Internet is one of the routes it has to explore for e-government. This is one of the reasons for the portal; to make services accessible to citizens.
The portal will also extend the work done for the soccer world cup by becoming a tourism hub for Durban. Among the services offered will be online interaces to customers information, internal collaboration tools to assist in the management of projects, integration to the CCTV camera network, municipal blogging, online newsletters and Durban tourism information.