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South Africa needs skills in IoT to drive smart cities

According to the South African Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, connecting cities to the Internet of Things (IoT) is a priority for the South African government.

Kubayi-Ngubane made this declaration at the underway ITU Telecoms World Congress in Durban.

She was speaking during the first session of a ministerial roundtable on the role of governments in driving Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

“We are looking at creating smart cities where our technology can be used in smart grids, smart healthcare, where sensors connect data in hospitals, trains, grids and so on. All sensors will be interconnected by the IoT,” said the minister.

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MTN CEO and group president Rob Shuter and Ericsson’s head of special projects Mikael Bäck, represented the telecoms industry.

While ministers from Palestine, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Sudan, Singapore, Botswana, Lesotho, and Vietnam also took part in the dialogue.

Kubayi-Ngubane stressed the importance of broadband access which will enable IoT to be viable and affordable. “When it is available, the price is prohibitive. This is the first challenge when creating smart cities,” she stated.

She further pointed out that the technologies required to make smart cities are the tools of the fourth industrial revolution.

She said that the government has introduced the SA Connect programme to provide communications access to citizens, however, skills are still needed to drive this programme.

Shuter said there was still “a lot of work to be done by industry players” regarding entry-level costs of data.

He also stated that innovative solutions are needed to roll out rural coverage.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.