Published On: Fri, Nov 27th, 2015

EXCLUSIVE (INNOVATION): Technology solutions key to averting disaster in continent

IMG_4461_resizedJOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THERE has been a positive response form African municipal authorities to technological innovations that are aimed at resolving prevalent challenges as disaster management, crime, safety and security.

Among the firms steering the adoption of such innovations is the German-headquartered Systems Applications Products (SAP), one of the most prominent companies in the European country and a global multinational software corporation.

Already the cities of Cape Town in South Africa and Accra in Ghana are implementing some of these solutions that have proved handful in reducing a number of above-mentioned incidences through technological and analytical solutions.

The adoption follows experts’ recommendations that African countries, alongside their peers around the world, have to embrace technology to win the war against crime, alcohol abuse, drugs abuse, healthcare, transportation, safety and insecurity.

In an exclusive interview, SAP Global Future Cities Lead, Paul Schindler, said problems regarding Africa’s crime and safety, disaster management, including weather outlook, crime and intelligence, would be easily dealt with provided the public sector acquired technology solutions.

Schindler was speaking in Johannesburg recently after meeting various technology officers from the cities of Tshwane, Johannesburg, Durban, Nelspruit, Polokwane and Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

“Innovation is a game changer, especially HANA solutions,” said Schindler.

HANA is an in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance, or in the cloud.

According to Schindler, HANA is a revolutionary platform that’s best suited for performing real-time analytics, and developing and deploying real-time applications.

He said at the core of this real-time data platform is the SAP HANA database which is fundamentally different than any other database engine in the market today.

Schindler cited farmers in Ghana’s shearnut business, who before implementing the SAP solution were experiencing a host of problems related to marketing, key among which is a lack of information about prevailing market prices.

“After implementing this technology solution, shearnut farmers in Ghana now have the ability to decide where and when to sell their products. Because of this solution, farmers’ bargaining position with traders, and can even lead to sub-optimal investment and production decisions,” Schindler said.

He said the technology would alert the farmers with shearnut to know when to sell their produce since they will be receiving information right on time.

Schindler said such technology could also be used to manage disaster, safety and security by governments, especially municipalities.

He said such solutions had also recently proved workable in alerting local authorities when traffic lights were not working before alerting the office.

Schindler said the solutions had always proved handy in improving the efficiency of public safety and security agencies – from initial incident through to resolution.

These innovations, he said, could help keep residents of respective cities safe with state-of-the-art tools for investigation management, emergency and disaster management, and cyber resilience.

“These solutions will improve command and control with integrated planning and situational awareness as well as increasing emergency preparedness – and ensure response is rapid, flexible, and scalable,” he said.

In a similar development, City of Tshwane, which is increasingly becoming a leader in implementing innovation in most of its areas unveiled the home-grown Namola App, an innovation which helps fight crime.

The App was designed by Project Isizwe CEO, Alan Knott-Graig, an innovation which creates complementary communication link between security personnel on the ground with control room in order to promote police accountability and performance.

The new solution also gives residents of Tshwane a direct link to their nearest police officers.

CAJ News

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