- Published: 25 January 2021
One of two local tech start-ups will walk home with the bragging rights of being a Smart City trailblazer when Joburg announces winners of its maiden Innovation Awards later this month.
Vying for top honours is Malii Fintech and Speakk, both run by young tech boffins at the centre of pioneering innovative digital solutions against the scourge of Covid-19.
Lawrence Boya, the Director of the Smart City office – custodians of the Innovation Awards – says they are designed to challenge small enterprises in the tech space to develop digital solutions to urban and community issues faced by the City in the new normal. The awards are also geared at encouraging tech start-ups to cultivate sustainable technological responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Solutions sought should either save lives or support livelihoods; enable detection, tracking, and prediction of the spread of the virus, enhance communication and improve healthcare and security in the City,” explains Boya.
He says the winner of this inaugural competition will need to present solutions that help the City and its citizens reduce vulnerability, improve food security and uphold human dignity during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“These are solutions that may additionally enable citizens to be entrepreneurial and find new ways to sustain themselves.”
Competitors were encouraged to use leading 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Blockchain technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), Gamification, as well as Robotics and Drones technology.
Tech solutions were sought in the realm of interdepartmental communication, knowledge and data support, socioeconomic systems to combat misinformation and free community engagement platforms, to list a few.
“Smart digital technology solutions help citizens stay connected and allow businesses, citizens and public administrations to find ways to respond faster and in a more integrated way to crises and daily life,” says Boya.
At the start of the competition, applicants were taken through a rapid virtual boot camp and given a R100 000 grant each. They now have the opportunity to receive further funding should their innovative idea prove implementable.
The Smart City Innovation Awards are held under the auspices of the City and Wits University’s tech hub, Tshimologong Precinct, which is a collaboration of academia, corporates, government and entrepreneurs aimed at inspiring digital innovation, propel entrepreneurship and grow tech skills for the knowledge economy.
Quelle/Source: Joburg, 18.01.2021