Home Tech Microsoft Introduces ‘Microsoft City Next’ To Decrease SA’s Socio-Economic Challenges

Microsoft Introduces ‘Microsoft City Next’ To Decrease SA’s Socio-Economic Challenges

by Caroline Vutagwa
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Microsoft SA wants to make the best of technology to create new cities.  The technologies that the software giant is looking to work with include cloud technology, mobile devices, data analytics, and social networks.
The initiative called ‘Microsoft CityNext’, main idea is to use the current cities’ technology infrastructures to connect functions like energy, water, infrastructure, transportation, public safety, tourism, recreation, education, health and social services, and government administration. An important element of the programme will be a focus on helping cities create small businesses, develop skills and reduce unemployment.
What inspired Microsoft is the fact that the cities currently hold a large number of people, more than it can handle. Which make resources scarce and life unbearable yet it is in this places that South Africa’s GDP is generated.

Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati said: “The bigger picture is that cities can become the engine-rooms that will drive Government’s National Development Plan objective of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030.”

One potential Microsoft CityNext customer, the Western Cape Government,  is investing in more modern technology capabilities to help it operate more efficiently and to give services that enable better interaction with its citizens.

Lance Williams, chief information officer of Western Cape Government, said that the ultimate beneficiaries of a more sophisticated technology infrastructure would be the citizens of cities, who would enjoy more responsive and transparent government services, many delivered online.

A key focus area for Microsoft CityNext is safety and security,  not forgetting  crisis management.

Many of the socio-economic programmes contained within Microsoft CityNext link to Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative, which was launched this year to help accelerate Africa’s economic development and to improve its global competitiveness by empowering African youth, entrepreneurs, developers and business.

“If we can work with cities to help small companies to succeed in the first 3-5 years of their lives, we will help grow job creation and economic development significantly. This will have a major impact on the well-being of cities and entire communities,” said Nyati.

Microsoft, he said, would also work with its network of solution partners to help cities transform their operations and infrastructure; engage their citizens and businesses; and accelerate innovation and opportunity.

“According to IDC’s Smart City Maturity Model, many cities are now in the first stages of implementing smart technology solutions as part of a 10- to 15-year path to realising full transformation potential. The result of ‘smart city’ initiatives will ultimately enable cities to attract businesses and citizens to build more vibrant city landscapes and competitive economies,” he says.

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