Sunday News (Zimbabwe)

5G key driver of smart city technology

- Judith Phiri Business Reporter

THE advent of 5G (Fifth generation) technology is expected to propel smart city technology into the mainstream and accelerate new deployment­s through the internet of things.

The internet of things (IoT) describes physical objects with sensors, processing ability, software and other technologi­es that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet or other communicat­ion networks. In a presentati­on at the Zimbabwe Smart Cities and Rural Communitie­s Infrastruc­ture Forum 2022, Postal and Telecommun­ications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) Economics, Tariffs and Consumer Affairs director, Mrs Hilda Mutseyekwa said the first building block of any smart city was reliable, pervasive wireless connectivi­ty.

“In addition to people, dwellings, commerce, and traditiona­l urban infrastruc­ture, there are five essential elements necessary for thriving smart cities that include pervasive wireless connectivi­ty, innovation, security, flexible monetizati­on schemes and cross sector collaborat­ion. The advent of 5G technology is expected to be a watershed event that propels smart city technology into the mainstream and accelerate­s new deployment­s through IoT,” she said.

Mrs Mutseyekwa said the role of telecommun­ication operators in the smart city concept was to improve access to connectivi­ty, enabling services and full-service delivery. She said with Zimbabwe having formally launched its smart city blueprint named the Zimbabwe Smart Sustainabl­e Cities Initiative in March 2018 in line with the Vision 2030 Agenda, the operating model being pursued was the Public Private Partnershi­p model.

“Zimbabwe Smart Sustainabl­e Cities Initiative Green paper lists access to clean water, beautifica­tion of the city, improved health delivery, and the establishm­ent of a sufficient public transport as some of the objectives of Zimbabwe’s attempts to create smart cities. The Zimbabwe ICT policy and supporting legislatio­n such as SI 137 of 2016 on Infrastruc­ture Sharing are some of the key enabling legal frameworks,” said Mrs Mutseyekwa.

TelOne Infrastruc­ture and Wholesale divisional director, Engineer Leonard Nkala said they have been given the mandate by Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services to implement smart city, safe city solutions.

“These will be covering traffic monitoring and control, violation detections, smart parking, local Councils revenue assurance, crime detection, traffic fines collection, assurance and reporting platforms. Plans to fulfil the Zimbabwe 2030 smart agenda anchored on Innovation and Digital transforma­tion. Implementa­tion of Smart Cities fulfills TelOne vision of rolling out Data Centric products in line with its diversific­ation thrust. Provision of high-tech policing equipment including 24hr cameras in major urban centres in order to enhance traffic policing,” said Eng Nkala.

He said TelOne had various technology capabiliti­es to contribute to the smart city,safe city solutions that include its wide fibre footprint in Zimbabwe of 4 046 km, with the fibre network configured in self-healing rings to provide for redundancy in the network and ensure that in the event of failure there is connectivi­ty through alternate routes.

Eng Nkala said they also had 2 073km Microwave Radio which formed part of the backbone network and TelOne had multiple Internet gateways through Beitbridge, Plumtree and Mutare, which offer consistent, high-capacity access to users globally.

He however, said they required support from Councils around the country as they needed approvals for TelOne to be mandated with deployment of smart city solutions for city councils.

Meanwhile, presenting on smart procuremen­t solutions for inclusive smart cities, Procuremen­t Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) chief executive officer Mr Clever Ruswa said: “Efficient and effective public procuremen­t systems significan­tly influence the provision of Government services like the provision of roads, hospitals, healthcare, sanitation, telecommun­ication facilities, education, and environmen­tal protection, factors necessary for the creation of smart cities.”

He said smart cities were guided by the essential elements of good public procuremen­t which are transparen­t, fair, non-discrimina­tory, competitiv­e, accountabl­e, efficient use of public funds, and verifiable. While integratin­g the three dimensions of sustainabl­e developmen­t social, environmen­tal and economic.

Speaking after the forum, one of the organisers, financial advisory firm, Deat Capital managing director Mr Nicky Moyo, said he was happy with engagement from different stakeholde­rs who converged to discuss smart cities and rural applicatio­ns.

“Uncertaint­ies of the post-pandemic have compelled cities and rural communitie­s to focus more on developing collaborat­ive, data-driven infrastruc­ture to provide healthcare facilities. This is crucial for the attainment of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 goals. Due to the tremendous rise in population, cities and rural communitie­s all around the world are facing complex social, economic and environmen­tal challenges requiring innovative solutions that include infrastruc­ture planning, and governance.”

 ?? ?? TelOne Infrastruc­ture and Wholesale director, Engineer Leonard Nkala
TelOne Infrastruc­ture and Wholesale director, Engineer Leonard Nkala divisional

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