Smart cities are innovative frameworks that seek to develop and employ sustainable development practises in rapidly urbanising areas. Propelled by the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, smart cities operate as a connected network of assets and machines exchanging data between each other instantly and seamlessly.
The ultimate ambition of smart cities is to empower local municipalities to more efficiently manage their public assets to improve decision-making and general quality of life for their citizens.
However, smart cities are not always as glamorous as they are made out to be. There is much that happens behind-the-scenes in order for it to be successful, most of which is not the clean, streamlined and efficient technology we think it to be. For example, an effective public sanitation department requires a willing team to visit the sanitation farms and install the infrastructure needed to improve the quality of water or reduce waste concentrations. It’s tough, unappealing work, which is why it’s entirely necessary.
As a result, implementing a smart city framework can be a challenging task, especially when starting from the ground up. With so much existing legacy infrastructure in place (which oftentimes is poorly maintained), it requires innovative and creative practical solutions to effectively install a new framework without disrupting crucial service delivery. There’s also an additional challenge in South Africa’s case – while municipalities have demonstrated some competence at installing new infrastructure, these assets are often not well maintained during their life cycle.
Within the local South African context, Mezzanine’s SAMS (Smart Asset Management Solution) is the next appropriate step on South Africa’s smart city journey.
Its primary differentiator is its inherently holistic approach: it offers a digitised, structured process of decision-making over the acquisition, use, safeguarding and disposal of assets to maximise an organisation or municipality’s service delivery potential and while minimising their related risks and costs. Data is easily accessible, efficiently managed and intelligently analysed to improve long-term management. Municipalities receive reports on their assets, alerting them of need for maintenance or replacement. In the case of being unable to replace it, SAMS offers solutions as to what else can be done as a cost effective alternative.
Smart cities are the way forward for increasingly populated urban areas. Innovative, with sustained development in the forefront of its implementation, it seems the obvious answer.
However, it is only through SAMS that it will be made possible.