Cape Town — SMART cities are a reality in South Africa but the power supplies needs to be stable, an energy expert said.
Barry Bredenkamp, General Manager Energy Efficiency for the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), said this as he pledged the organisation's readiness to provide interventions towards smart cities and advice at the municipal and urban levels in the country.
"However, what is key to a smart city is an uninterrupted power supply, as everything relies on constant data transfer," Bredenkamp concluded.
Eskom, the power utility in the continent's biggest economy, has battled to meet demand for electricity.
There are fears of power cuts in the coming weeks.
Bredenkamp made his sentiments following the 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town.
The 28th meeting had set as its theme, 'Shaping inclusive growth and shared futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)."
"Central to this 4IR growth is the rise of smart cities that will be able to tap into enormous computing power, driven by integration of information and collaborative partnerships to enhance their liveability, workability and sustainability," Bredenkamp explained.
He cited this year's ICT Gartner Hype Cycle report.
Released in August, it says smart city frameworks, the Internet of things (IOT) and low earth orbit satellite systems are the three technologies that will transform business in Africa within ten years.
It points out smart cities have an intelligent urban ecosystem that is designed to improve citizens' lives, stimulate the economy and protect the environment.
"Smart city frameworks will have a transformational business impact in the next two to five years, as cities in Africa apply diverse strategies to accelerate the development of smart city frameworks based on traffic, social and safety issues," Bredenkamp said.
SANEDI, established by the government, directs, monitors and conducts applied energy research to develop innovative, integrated solutions to catalyse growth and prosperity in the green economy.