The directory is part of a research report being compiled for the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), in partnership with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The research project, on the role of mobile technologies in delivering public services, is being undertaken by independent research organisation World Wide Worx on behalf of the CPSI and its project partners, SITA and the CSIR.
"To enable innovation in the delivery of public services, the CPSI has identified the need to provide research, opinion, commentary and analysis to decision-makers on key emerging technologies," says Imraan Patel, Programme Manager for Research and Knowledge Management at the CPSI.
The CPSI, established by the Minister for Public Service and Administration in 2001, has initiated a programme called Future Watch to make essential information available to decision-makers. It has identified mobile technologies to launch the Future Watch process, and has contracted World Wide Worx to lead the initial research process. Further reports on a range of other technology and non-technological issues are being planned for the future.
"While we have previously conducted exhaustive research on the use of mobile technologies in business, we have often felt that there has been limited awareness of the potential of these technologies," says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. "The Future Watch process not only gives us an opportunity to stimulate such awareness, but will also provide insight into ways of using mobile technology that will make a real difference to service delivery in South Africa".
The first steps in the process, says Goldstuck, are to gather information on what is already happening worldwide in using mobile technology in public services, and to ascertain the range of technologies and services available for such purposes in South Africa.
Goldstuck adds: "It is a unique opportunity for start-ups, in particular, to make both government and other potential users of mobile technologies aware of what they have to offer. At the same time, corporate providers whose general products are already well-known have the opportunity to highlight their specialist products or services in this area".
"The choice of mobile technologies for the first Future Watch report was informed by a number of considerations," says Patel, "including the need for citizens to interact through multiple access channels with a proposed government web portal".
Other factors include the explosion in the use of cellphones in South Africa, the increasing number of successful applications of the technology in the private and public sectors, and the significant research and development that exists on this issue within the CSIR and other South African organisations.
The deadline for submissions to the first directory is January 28, 2003. Submissions should be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and should include name and contact details of company, and the name and features of the mobile technology products and services.