The Konza Techno City, in Kenya, being developed about 60 km south-east of Nairobi, will be a smart city to better serve citizens and manage city operations, says wireless connectivity firm Ruckus Wireless sub- Saharan Africa sales director Riaan Graham.
The focus will be on service delivery, improved municipal services, infrastructure enhancements, and using real-time monitoring systems. The goal is to build a sustainable and fully functional city that offers good living standards and contributes to the Kenyan economy.
The development is grounded in the success of other digital systems and platforms, such as the smart city systems in Nairobi and the mobile money Mpesa system, which are underpinned by good connectivity.
“Good connectivity supports the evolution of a smart city as more services are offered digitally. While Kenya is regarded as a frontrunner in this regard, other countries on the continent will also find innovative ways of bridging technology gaps and building a better, connected future for their citizens.”
A smart city can be defined as multiple, integrated information and communication technology, as well as the Internet of Things, (IoT) solutions to manage the assets and operations of a city.
For smart cities to work, there is need for commitment from the public and private sectors, and the Konza Technopolis Development Authority entered into an agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to standardise the development of what might be the first African smart city, he adds.
However, smart cities will lead to an increased reliance on fixed-line, wireless fidelity (WiFi) and mobile connectivity, notes Graham.
The IoT is challenging the way people live and work, and how government and businesses interact. This new ecosystem is the foundation of smart cities.
“While the move towards smart systems is slow because infrastructure and connectivity need to be deployed to drive such an interconnected ecosystem, for those that are moving towards a more mature model, the benefits are significant across all services.”
The growth of connected devices is resulting in an increased awareness of the benefits of a smart city, Graham adds.
Kenya is demonstrating that proactive legislation and support for technologies designed to enhance the lives of its people provide an effective framework for the development of smart city systems. Other countries will use Konza Techno City as a starting point for their smart city initiatives, he concludes.