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Four candidates shortlisted for Joburg smart city challenge

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Four finalists have been shortlisted for this year’s Johannesburg Smart City Innovation Challenge.

The collaboration initiative of the city and Wits University’s Tshimologong Innovation Precinct is hosted annually, to scout for smart digital technology solutions that enable timely responses to urban and community challenges.

This year, four candidates are gunning for the top prize and the winner will be announced next week.

For this year’s challenge, shortlisted innovations range from an internet of things (IOT) solution to protect infrastructure, to an artificial intelligence solution for fleet management.

For the selected candidates, Nivarshnee Ramparsard from Iconix Engineering is in the running with the Smartee team, which developed an anti-theft and theft-deterrent solution for infrastructure. The solution provides the location and timestamps of any equipment that has been tampered with.

The system aims to reduce the massive losses experienced by municipalities due to infrastructure theft and vandalism.

Thulani Khumalo from Technological Plumbing Solutions is also in the mix with another IOT solution − a polymer composite manhole cover, which is fitted with an ultrasonic proximity sensor, micro controller and Sigfox network module to detect and report blockages of sewage, preventing overflow.

The third finalist is Graf-in Tech, which developed fleet tracking software with embedded artificial intelligence capabilities for vehicle tracking, monitoring and data analytics in real-time.

Arthur Mahlangu from QH Consultants is the last finalist with his BizTweak solution, which he says helps micro-enterprises diagnose gaps in their business.

“This is a self-assessment platform that culminates in a business health report, which shows the strengths and weaknesses of the businesses, and then recommends content that educates to address the gaps realised,” he says.

Lawrence Boya, smart city office leader, says this year’s innovation challenge sought to find solutions with the special focus to respond to gender-based violence, economic development and township economies, as well as 4IR readiness for smart citizens.

“After months of trying to get the best solutions from the large volume of applications that we received, initially we had advertised for three winners; however, with the quality of the solutions we received, I am glad to announce that we will have four winners who will each pocket half a million rand and an opportunity to pilot their solutions with the city departments or entities in the line of business linked to the chosen solution,” says Boya.

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