CSIR’s rural broadband distribution project wins big at SA GovTech ICT Awards

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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) walked away with three major awards at the inaugural Public ICT Awards held last night at the GovTech conference at the Durban International Conference Centre.

Launched by the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), the awards promote innovation in public products, solutions and service delivery. The CSIR won two wards for its Broadband 4 All project, and one for the Lwazi II project.

Awards were given in the following categories, with first place winners receiving R100 000, second place R50 000 and third place R30 000.

ICT Service Delivery Transformation Award – National Government

Awards the most outstanding service delivery, product or service, and/or transformation at national government level.

Third place: CSIR’s Lwazi II project, funded by the Department of Arts and Culture and aimed at further developing multilingual speech technologies and implementing these in applications that will have a positive impact on the lives of South Africans. The specific focus is on speech technology development for the official South African languages.

Second place: National Treasury for its Central Supplier Database, a registry of all state institutions which are required to keep and maintain a database of prospective suppliers.

Winner: Department of Home Affairs’ Live Capture Smart Cards System. The Department has re-engineered and automated the processes for issuing IDs and Passports, turning the previous 54 day process to issue green ID books into only seven days to issue smart ID cards.

ICT Service Delivery Transformation Award – Provincial Government

Awards the most outstanding service delivery, or a product or service, and/or transformation at a provincial government level.

Third place: Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs for a project to set up a Systems Development ‘Engine’. The system uses open source tools such as PHP and Postgres, which run from a Redhat Linux Server, for developing and hosting multiple departmental systems that enhance and support the business and administrative functions of the department in a way that is resource and time-effective.

Second place: CSIR’s Broadband 4 All project ,which makes use of the Wireless Mesh Network research outputs.

These include a technology prototype of a wireless router, to conceptualise a possible solution to demonstrate how affordable broadband connectivity can be achieved in rural communities using low-cost infrastructure which can be supported by people from the local community to create socio-economic and commercial opportunities.

This project was implemented by means of a wireless mesh large-scale demonstrator to test the technology, operational support requirements, economic viability and potential socio-economic impact. The project is the first of its kind to be rolled out in rural areas on such a large scale.

Winner: Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport for its Revenue Information Management System. This was put in place to ensure efficient and effective revenue management for the provincial government.

The ICT Service Delivery Transformation Award – Local Government

Awards the most outstanding service delivery, or a product or service, and/or transformation at a local government level.

Third place: Nyanda Technologies and Development, established in 2008 to change the sustainability, growth and competitiveness patterns of both the company, its clients and partners.

Second place: Durban Technology SmartXchange Hub, the brainchild of a multi-party consortium led by the Ethekwini Municipality. The SmartXchange is an innovation incubator whose core function is to provide enterprise development services to small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

Winner: CSIR’s Broadband 4 All Project.

The ICT Provider Innovation and Service Transformation Award – start-ups and SMMEs

Recognises a start-up or SMME, with a turnover of no more than R10 million per year, which has improved service delivery to citizens.

Third place: Jaen-Jacques Nell, a 16-year old inventor from Tshwane who patented an invention called Smart Plate. A world first, the Smart Plate invention is based on a number plate that has a microchip imbedded in it. It sends a signal to your vehicle and mobile device when you transgress the speed limit.

Second place: CommutaX, a commuter convenience platform that provides commuters access to a portfolio of convenient services through relationships with established service providers.

Winner: Funzi, an open educational content publishing system that gives learners access to CAPS aligned study support content. Funzi also provides a platform that enables third parties such as schools, educators, NGOs and other interested parties to author and publish content to learners either for free or at a small cost.

The ICT Provider Innovation and Service Transformation Award – larger companies

Awards larger organisations which have improved service delivery to citizens.

Third place: Gijima Holdings for its IntelliDispatch solution and the South African Police Station Finder App. Gijima Call co-ordinators armed with the IntelliDispatch system, can see the real-time location and status of all field engineers in relation to the specific department’s sites where service is required.

Second place: Praxis Computing, which designed, developed and successfully implemented a customised back-office application as well as an access front-end mobile interface for the Department of Public Works to assist with facilities management tracking via a contact centre application.

Winner: Edit Microsystems developed the eBraille Project, which is revolutionising the quality of teaching and learning for visually-impaired learners, promoting inclusive education and special needs education for the blind in South Africa.

The Women in ICT Award

Recognises the contribution that women make to the sector and the future of the profession.

Third place: Puleng Kwele, is CEO of Broadband Infraco.

Second place: Lindelwa Nzimande, founder of Words and All.

Winner: Ann Kleynhans, founder of CEOS Technologies.

The Youth in ICT Award

Recognises the contribution of young ICT professionals make to the sector and to the growth and development of the sector as a whole.

Third place: Joel Seabi, a young, motivated ICT professional within the Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs.

Second place: Qiniso Mazubane, the founder and managing director of Ndiza Information Systems, an ICT company based in Durban that operates nationally.

Winner: Lindelwa Nzimande, founder of Words and All.

“I am confident that, ten years’ from now, looking back on this day, these awards will have provided a platform to recognise government institutions in all spheres using technology, improving the lives of all citizens,” minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele said at the awards ceremony.

[Image – supplied]