Three young Jozi developers have been rewarded for their compelling digital ideas that will help the city solve its street address issues in the first GeoJozi Challenge.
The awards were made on international Geographic Information Systems (GIS) day, a worldwide initiative for users of geographic information systems technology to demonstrate applications that are making a difference in our society.
The absence of visible accurate street addresses and the lack of any street addresses in some areas is holding back Johannesburg in its drive to become a smart city. The City of Joburg, in partnership with Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and mapping software company, Esri South Africa called on Johannesburg developers aged 30 years and younger to help. From 80 entries, ten finalists were selected and trained.
Thapelo Sekwena who won the challenge earned R150k for an app that uses gaming and crowdsourcing to reward users for submitting places that need addressing or validation.
Methembe Dlamini walked away with R100k for his app which allows residents to confirm their correct address and to report any issues to alert the city as well as other citizens such as high accident zones, potholes or high crime spots. Absalom Mpanze earned R50k for his app that takes advantage of someone’s unique position to generate a code for that position, and then allocates an address as a code.
Director for Corporate Geo-Informatics for the City of Johannesburg, Marcelle Hattingh, explained: “We had three goals for this challenge which were achieved: We wanted to emphasise the importance of a street addresses to have a high functioning inclusive society; to demonstrate the power of location-based technology and to develop GIS talent in our city.”
Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, Director of JCSE said: “The top three applied innovation, creativity and technology to their solutions. We look forward to seeing them grow, creating jobs for others and helping our city. They also win a year of membership with the Digital Innovation Zone at the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein which provides working space and mentoring.”
Hattingh says, “Street addresses that are not clearly displayed or not displayed at all make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to deliver essential services to residents of the city. An accurate visible street address can save a life. The finalists have now completed an intensive period of GIS training, as well as professional software practice, start-up and business modelling and social media training. This is a foundation that will propel their careers going forward.”
About the winners
Winner: Thapelo Lebo Sekwena is junior software developer at SAAB who holds a B.Sc. degree in computer science and mathematics from Northwest University. Partner Ganwell Banda also holds a B.Sc. degree.
He explains, “My app is called Redeem Jozi and it uses gaming and crowdsourcing. Once you open the app, it gets your location and then gives you a set of points without addresses in your region. It offers rewards for places that need addresses or validation which the user completes. Once you fill in these addresses, you get rewarded with 100MB of data if you are the first to complete 10 locations within 30 days. My next step is to refine the app and then I am going to focus on some of my other app development ideas.”
2nd: Methembe Dlamini is a Masters student in Computer Science at the University of Johannesburg.
Methembe describes his app, “FindMe is used on a mobile device. Once you register, you confirm your home address and this cross references with city data to confirm that your address is in fact correct. This allows you and the city to confirm your correct address. You are able to report any issues that need attention such a high accident zone, potholes or high crime spots. The app will alert the city and other citizens of these issues. I want my idea to be implemented to the benefit of the citizens of Johannesburg and other cities. It also allows you to call for help in emergencies – ambulance, accidents, fire or a natural disaster. The competition was intense because the other competitors were of a very high standard and we did a great deal of training to increase our knowledge of GIS.”
3rd: Absalom Mpanze is passionate about technology and currently works as a consultant at Standard Bank as an analyst developer.
Absalom explains, “I developed an app which takes advantage of your unique position to generate a code for that position and in that way it allocates an address as a code. I needed to upgrade my skills to solve the GeoJozi Challenge. The training and the competition helped me to learn how to develop a user-friendly android app. It was very competitive and the other developers were more experienced than I am. I really had to raise my game to reach their level. I now want to start my own business and implement my idea for public use.”
Off The Beaten Track
What Tourism Month means in South Africa and how Mango Airlines is focusing on local opportunities.
This September, being Tourism Month, we have so much to talk about in South Africa, and so many people to engage with, both domestically and abroad. We are privileged to be able to leverage a broad range of destinations – arguably world-class in nature, and they expand way beyond a beautiful mountain, and an ecosystem of game.
The vast majority of leisure tourists, however, remain attracted to the Mother City and various Safari destination, while business tourists tend to stick to hub cities for short durations of time before departing again.
“There is a golden opportunity to expand on the same offerings – while not detracting from them in any way. Our responsibility is to drive tourism into new areas, really emphasising the differentiators that are incredibly attractive to local and international tourists,” said Benediction Zubane, Head of Marketing at Mango Airlines.
“Often tourists visit one of the more well-known sites in an area, and are completely unaware of the other features and destinations close by. We’re seeing a lot of success in township tourism which goes to show how diversifying can really drive new tourism opportunities,” explained Zubane.
According to Statistics South Africa survey on Tourism and Migration, nearly 3.5 million international travellers visited South Africa in August 2017. Top numbers were tourists from USA, UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands, with African visitors primarily coming from SADC countries. Zubane added, “This means there is vast opportunity to begin engaging with travellers in new countries across the globe. We need to become our own best ambassador, talking-up our famous and lesser known destinations, proudly showcases our uniqueness. We should also be tourists in our own country and start exploring the wonders of the Rainbow Nation.”
Mango is passionate about helping its SMEs and entrepreneurial community to successfully overcome the unique challenges facing the tourism industry: “There has never been a more opportune time for small businesses and entrepreneurs to benefit positively from tourism in South Africa, and we hope to celebrate alongside our SME community as they fly high – both literally and figuratively,” he concludes.
FNB Receives 50 Million US-Dollars To Accelerate SME Development
First National Bank puts their focus on SME development in South Africa.
First National Bank (FNB) has received 50 million US-dollars from the DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft to deploy towards small and medium enterprise (SME) development in South Africa.
DEG is a development finance institution whose mission is to promote private-sector enterprises in developing and emerging-market countries as a contribution to sustainable growth and improved living conditions.
Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business says: “The new line of funding contributes to our ongoing efforts to accelerate our contribution to SME development in South Africa. We believe that SMEs are key to stimulating sustainable economic growth and job creation. Our intervention in SME development is not only limited to funding, we also invest heavily to improve capacity and supplier development capabilities in small businesses.”
FNB continues to pioneer products and services that have taken the angst out of South Africa’s entrepreneurs, from providing free instant accounting services to online documents reservation services, and forming public-private partnerships to digitise the registration of businesses.
“Our message to entrepreneurs is that we remain committed to providing meaningful solutions to help them grow. We have exciting developments that will take us further in our journey, all aimed at advancing the SME agenda by taking the anguish out of doing business,” concludes Vacy-Lyle.
A Conversation With Yourself Could Change Your Life
Thami Buti is a 24-year-old South African actor. He is amongst the 46% of South Africans between 20 and 50 years, who have no savings at all. He’s probably one of 90% of people who will retire with less than 50% of their income.
Except none of this is true for Thami, because he’s had a conversation with himself – at six different ages – in Sanlam’s new educational campaign.
In Sanlam’s Conversations with Yourself campaign, Thami gets transformed into a 20, 30, 50, 65 and 80-year-old (actor Hlumelo Mzimkulu plays the 10-year-old) called YOU. And over a series of conversations, these characters in their different age brackets sit and share wisdom on life’s ‘what ifs.’ Disrupting the traditional approach to ‘finance talk’, the central idea is this: what if you could learn everything you need to know about life, from yourself? What if 65 year-old you could tell you – at age 20 – to stop buying so many cappuccinos and to invest more into an RA? And 30-year-old you could ask you at 80 how many kids you have – and how you afford to give them the lifestyle and opportunities you want for them?
Sonja Sanders, Head of Marketing and Client Experience at Sanlam Personal Finance, says each of the seven Conversations with Yourself films uses humour and insight to broach a different topic – and presents the accompanying product solve. “For example, the Conversation on Life and Retirement tackles retirement in a completely new way. Planning for retirement is often not a priority when you’re young. But what if you knew only 6% of South Africans are able to cover their monthly expenses once they retire? And what if you could ask your 65-year-old self whether you are one of the 6%? Would 20-year-old you still take that year off? Would you at age 30 still buy that flashy car?”
Using banter to bring home the fact that today’s decisions will define life when you’re older, the script takes a notoriously low-interest topic and makes it relatable.
The same goes for the highly sensitive topic of death, which no one wants to talk about — undoubtedly a problem in a country with an average age of death that stands at 64 years, and where 40% of the workforce is more likely to have cell phone insurance than life insurance.
Sanders says, “Conversations with Yourself takes an idea we’ve all had to the next level: The wish to fast-track into the future to see if our lives worked out the way we expected. Ultimately, you are your own partner in life. Everything you do now either benefits your future or jeopardises it. It’s often too daunting to imagine one’s future-self. But Conversations with Yourself connects the future to the present, and makes the experience real and impactful.”
Related: How To Start Saving Money Today
South Africa’s problematic savings culture has been well documented. In the retirement space, Sanlam’s Benchmark research has identified millennials as the generation most at risk of having insufficient savings, mainly due to their DIY approach to money matters, their mistrust of financial service institutions and the fact that they don’t identify with retirement as a goal. It’s a generation known for overconfidence despite their poor financial literacy. Millennials prefer self-directed advice – so what better way to deliver it than through a ‘conversation with yourself’?
“As WealthsmithsTM, Sanlam wants to empower people with the knowledge and tools to enable them to make positive financial decisions today. This should set them up for success both now and into the future. Conversations with Yourself helps people to appreciate that the planning they do today has significant implications for their future self. Ultimately, the campaign uses progressive storytelling to share a story to which any generation can relate. The story of you,” concludes Sanders.
Visit Conversationswithyourself to watch the films and start your own conversation.
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