Nelson Mandela Bay is smart

first_imgThe Nelson Mandela multi-purpose stadium. The municipality’s listing as one of the most intelligent communities in the world will enhance its status as a 2010 host city. (Image: Nelson Mandela Bay)Janine ErasmusThe Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has made it onto the 2009 list of the world’s 21 most intelligent communities. The list is issued annually by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) on the basis of a community’s capacity in and innovative use of broadband.African communities are starting to make their presence felt in the global broadband arena. Nelson Mandela Bay follows Cape Town’s feat – in 2008 the Western Cape capital was the first and only African city to make it to the Smart21 list.The municipality, which includes Port Elizabeth and the nearby towns of Uitenhage and Despatch, is home to 1 200 000 citizens in around 289 000 households.It was singled out with 20 other communities from 12 nations on four continents, among them two counties and two multi-city metropolitan areas. Nelson Mandela Bay is the only African entrant to have been thus honoured in 2009.ICF development director Louis Zacharilla lauded each nominee for their efforts in improving their environment through innovative broadband applications.“The ingenuity of these communities is exemplified in their investments in the future of the young, the growth and progress of job-creating businesses, and economic security,” he said at the announcement. “An overarching theme of the 2009 honourees has been the dedication to putting people first and building a ‘talent inventory’ that will thrive with technology and innovation.”Industrial hubNelson Mandela Bay is the acknowledged hub of the automotive industry in South Africa, an achievement commended by the ICF in its citation. The municipality is also investing into information and communications technology (ICT) with the goal of establishing an ICT sector built around call centres and ICT outsourcing. This will serve to bridge the current inequality in education and income.The recently developed Nelson Mandela Bay Technology Hub is a project that focuses on providing support to small- and medium-sized businesses in ICT and related industries. An initiative of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, the Technology Hub plays a crucial role in the growth of these businesses in the province’s burgeoning ICT sector.The municipality has also developed a detailed strategy for the implementation of wireless and fibre-to-the-premises broadband, an initiative which will further narrow the digital gap. Fibre-to-the-premises is a type of network architecture where fibre optic cable is run right into the client’s premises, in contrast with traditional methods which use copper for last mile delivery.The introduction of an e-government programme in 2008 has helped to raise the standard of services in the municipality. The scheme consists of four focus areas – government to citizen; government to government; government to business; and internal efficiency and effectiveness.Among the recently implemented e-government solutions is the full computerisation of six community libraries, complete with office packages as well as public internet and email facilities. All municipal departments are now connected with a cost-saving 100Mb wireless network, and work more efficiently with an electronic document management system.The municipality’s traffic control system is to be improved, with new traffic signals and CCTV screens and cameras. The new bus rapid transport system, which is expected to form the core of the public transport system up to 2020 and is currently under construction, will also be accommodated with priority at traffic signals for buses.Worthy of imitationThe ICT panel concluded that the Nelson Mandela Bay approach is “worthy of imitation, because it creates a bold strategy and high-quality plan but sets realistic expectations for achieving it within the community’s means”.The ICF’s Smart21 list is part of its annual Intelligent Community Awards programme, an initiative that identifies the most technologically-savvy communities on the planet. An intelligent community is defined by the ICF as being a community, irrespective of its size or composition, which views bandwidth as an essential resource, one that is vital to economic growth and public welfare.Nominations are received from hundreds of communities of all sizes and on all continents. Once the 21 smart communities for the year have been named, the list is further shrunk to a shortlist of seven, from which the world’s most intelligent community is selected.No African nominee has yet made it to the final seven, but in light of the fact that two years ago an African city had never been named at all, it is surely just a matter of time. The 2009 winner is Stockholm in Sweden.Nomination to the elite Smart21 group is considered a great honour, as well as a step towards wider recognition as an intelligent community with a bright future in the ever-growing broadband economy. The Smart21 initiative is now in its fourth year of existence.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at [email protected] articlesNelson Mandela Bay is the best Wacs cable gets the green lightBroadband in Africa set to soarUseful linksNelson Mandela BayNelson Mandela Bay tourism siteIntelligent Community ForumComputer Society of South AfricaSavant ICT portallast_img read more

Read More →

Transport on track for World Cup

first_imgGautrain will be running betweenSandton and the OR Tambo InternationalAirport in Johannesburg.(Image: Bombardier) Government officials believe the transportindustry will meet the demand duringthe World Cup. Prasa’s CEO Lucky Montana and Nazir Alli,CEO of Sanral. LOC CEO Danny Jordaan was also at thetransport media briefing.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Logan MaistrySpokespersonDepartment of Transport+27 083 6444 [email protected] ARTICLES• Travelling by minibus taxi in SA• SA gets tough on traffic crime• No stopping SA’s Rea Vaya• Gautrain rolling along smoothly• All aboard the Tshwane expressBongani NkosiSouth Africa’s public transport is being beefed up ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and will be ready to serve thousands of people visiting the country for the football spectacular, government has said.Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele unveiled the country’s Transport Action Plan for 2010 at a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport on 20 April. The plan details transport arrangements that have been put in place for the tournament and South Africa’s readiness to cope with the movement of fans, officials and players during the month-long period.“We have constantly emphasised that the Fifa World Cup is not only about sport, it is also more about transport,” Ndebele said. “… We will put our best forward to ensure that all those who use our transport services are able to do so effectively and efficiently.”Almost all modes of transportation available in the country, from air to road travel, will be widely used during the tournament. The Department of Transport, both at national, provincial and local level, has set up various projects to run from as early as 1 June to 31 July.Through the newly formed Operating Managing Entity, the department will facilitate the movement of fans to and from stadiums. The scheme will be responsible for a fleet of 110 79-seater Man Lion Explorer luxury buses “specially procured by government for this event”, Ndebele said.The vehicles, which have already been delivered, form part of a greater fleet of 570 buses to be procured from Man and Mercedes-Benz, all to be used during the World Cup. The entity will also run 800 smaller “midi-buses”.There will be inter-provincial and regional luxury bus transport as well, with pricing ranging between R140 (US$18) and R300 ($40) for a one-way ticket.More than 1 000 drivers will be recruited for the bus fleet, said Ndebele.The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is already operational in Johannesburg, the city that will host the most matches, including the opening and the final. The BRT, dubbed Rea Vaya, operates along dedicated lanes and is currently shuttling people from Soweto to a station closer to Ellis Park Stadium. It will also have a station next to Soccer City, making it easier for fans to reach the action there.Minibus taxis are expected to play a crucial role during the tournament, transporting fans within the host cities. A project similar to Gauride, which Gauteng province set up during the Fifa Confederations Cup in 2009, is expected to involve the entire industry. Last year’s scheme roped in scores of taxis to efficiently transport fans to stadiums in Johannesburg and Pretoria.Improving train servicesTrains are also being lined up to transport football fans. Ndebele said the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa will arrange 418 dedicated trains for the tournament. “We want to encourage travel by train during the World Cup,” he said.Metrorail trains are expected to play a more critical role in Gauteng to get fans to Ellis Park in Johannesburg via the renovated Doornfontein Station, which joins the stadium’s precinct.Loftus Station is linked to Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria’s host stadium, and provides a simple gateway. Nasrec Station, currently undergoing a revamp, will be ready in time and will provide easy access to Soccer City.Plans are also in place to avoid massive train delays, according to Ndebele. “A multi-disciplined operational team is currently working on the issue of train delays in certain areas.”The multimillion-rand Gautrain will be up and running during the tournament, with the first phase starting to operate between Gauteng’s Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport in June “to improve mobility of fans and tourists”. The entire project is set to be completed by December 2010.Air travel readyMost airports in the country have been revamped through projects worth billions of rands ahead of the World Cup. The upgraded facilities include two international hubs, OR Tambo and the Cape Town airport, and a range of domestic terminals. The new King Shaka International Airport in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, will be operational by 1 May.Airports Company South Africa has said that all airports will be ready to accommodate the crowds of people expected to visit the country between June and July.Call centre to speed up mobilityGovernment will launch its Transport Command and Call Centre programme in June. The project, to be run from Gauteng, includes a national transport command centre, a call centre and an “interactive” website.The aim is to ensure that “as many people as possible, both locals and foreigners, are able to conveniently access information that will make their lives easier during these exciting and busy times”, Ndebele said.The call centre, which will be open 24 hours a day, will give out information on available transport options and other traffic matters related to the World Cup. It will operate between 1 June and 31 July. The website www.findyourway2010.co.za, which is already running, will also provide relevant information.last_img read more

Read More →

Buyer Interest in a Net-Zero Home Sags in Survey of Architects

first_imgA quarterly survey by The American Institute of Architects shows rising interest in solar panels and docking stations for electric vehicles but declining interest over time in the number of people who say they want net-zero energy or superinsulated houses. The findings for the third quarter of the year represent information that AIA member architects who design single-family homes gather in their dealings with clients. The survey, which measured changes in interest from 2018 to 2019, focused on a variety of home features. Other quarterly reports look at kitchens and baths, home and property design, and neighborhood and community design. Many of the subject areas probably aren’t of particular interest to designers and builders who specialize in high-performance houses or sustainable design. But there are a few topics that relate directly to that type of construction.RELATED ARTICLESA New Guide for Net Zero BuildersMy Net Zero ConundrumA New Net-Zero CommunityThe Evolution of SuperinsulationMaking Room for a PV Array As AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker explained in a telephone call, the survey calculates the net difference between architects who report rising interest in a particular topic minus those who report declining interest. Here’s what participating architects reported in the last survey: Interest in net zero and superinsulated houses is going down: In the most recent survey, the net interest level was about 23%, the same as it was last year. But the four-year trend is off sharply. In 2016, a net of 43.9% reported increased interest in net-zero building. That dropped to 31.1% in 2017. By way of contrast, there was twice as much interest in two other features—accommodations for multiple generations and ramps/elevators. Interest in electric car docking stations is going up: Interest was up slightly this year, growing from 57% in 2018 to 61% this year. In 2016, it was 47.7%, which rose to 54.1% the following year. Solar panels are gaining ground: Up from 41% last year to 52% this year. What’s just as interesting is the proportion of architects who reported that interest was declining—13% in 2018, down to just 6% this year. Energy management: Down slightly, from 63% a year ago to 62% this year. Interest among prospective home buyers for technology friendly features—including extra outlet capacity and charging stations, wireless mobile charging docks, and USB wall outlets—dropped by five percentage points but remains strong at 64%. The AIA has been conducting the surveys since 2005, Baker said, with the purpose being to learn “what’s hot and what’s not.” In the area of solar panels and net-zero energy and superinsulated homes, Baker said trends could be partly explained by relatively low energy prices. “Solar panels make a lot of sense if energy prices are high,” he said, “not that much if energy prices are low.” Ditto with net-zero construction, and interest could surge rapidly with a spike in energy prices. Baker said the survey should not be viewed as a personal wish list from single-family architects. “It’s not designed to be, ‘What do you think is going to be popular in five years, or what should be popular five years from now,’ ” he said. “It’s very much, ‘What are you seeing in your current practice and projects you’re working on.’ ” What millennials don’t want Over at realtor.com, another survey charts home upgrades that millennials say they don’t care about. There’s no mention of energy efficiency, air tightness, or indoor air quality either way. But we do learn that there are five things that actively repel potential homebuyers. They include: “Over-the-top” landscaping: Out with tidy, well fertilized lawns. Instead, millennials are said to prefer growing plants indoors and having an outdoor space that doesn’t require too much maintenance. Formal dining rooms. Let’s cook up a storm and eat in or near the kitchen. Rigid floor plans: Millennials would rather have open floor plans and rooms that can be used for a variety of functions. Brand new carpeting: Bare floors with “statement rugs” are more appealing and better for their pets. Memorabilia and game rooms: These are areas where you put a pool table or show off stuff you’ve accumulated, like golfing trophies. Millennials are more taken with digital things, so a big screen TV or media room is more likely to please, according to the report. Realtor.com wasn’t specific on exactly when and how it gathered the information. -Scott Gibson is a contributing writer at Green Building Advisor and Fine Homebuilding magazine.last_img read more

Read More →

5 Ways TV Will Evolve in 2013

first_imgRelated Posts john paul titlow 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout If you were expecting the Internet to upend TV like it mangled the print media business, you may have noticed by now that things aren’t so simple. The Web is very good at delivering text and static images, but when it comes to TV-quality video content, it turns out that cable providers are still much better at that. Internet TV has two serious handicaps: content and the user interface. In 2012, the status quo crept forward in both areas, albeit slowly. Next year, TV will continue its gradual evolution toward something completely different from what we grew up with. Social TV Grows Up The term “social TV” has bounced around tech blogs and media conference halls for a few years now. Next year, the intersection between TV and social media will mature beyond stats and fads and evolve into something that makes a real impact on viewers and show producers alike. The most telling sign that social TV is coming of age arrived just before the close of 2012, when Nielsen announced the first official Twitter-based rating system. It’s not every day a technological force comes along that causes Nielsen to change what it’s been doing since the 1950s. But research has shown that social chatter about TV shows actually correlates with ratings and Twitter itself has been taking its role in television more seriously through media partnerships and launching promotional campaigns for new shows. The concept of the second screen, where additional content can be viewed on a tablet or smartphone, will also evolve in 2013. Nearly 90% of tablet owners use them while they watch TV, but content companies and app developers have had a hard time figuring out exactly how to capitalize on this. Apps like Zeebox and iTV are well-positioned to serve as digital companions to TV viewers, while services like GetGlue and Miso will evolve past the social check-in and move toward content discovery. Meanwhile, we’ll see more social media-fueled content discovery. Personalized “Flipboard-for-video” apps like Showyou, Frequency and Vodio are already changing the way early adopters find and consume Web video and technologies like Apple’s AirPlay puts those socially-curated, lean-back video experiences on the TV. Expect to see this category mature in 2013 as new users flock to these apps. Apple Advances The Internet TV Interface Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, it’s hard to deny the sizable impact they tend to have on most markets they enter. Next year, television will go from being the “hobby” Steve Jobs talked about to an “area of intense interest” for Tim Cook and Apple’s executive team. Apple’s HDTV won’t sell at a rate comparable to the iPad’s explosion. Any expectation to the contrary would be silly, considering Apple is entering a well-established market, not inventing a new one. Whatever they come up with, it will set a new standard for how Internet-based video content is displayed on a TV screen and crucially, how that content integrates with tried-and-true TV programming from traditional providers.  12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Tags:#Apple#Apple TV#Hulu#Netflix#television#YouTube Internet TV’s Original Programming RevolutionOriginal, Web-first TV programming from Internet companies was a big trend in 2012. Hulu, Netflix and YouTube all made major investments in original content, with each one experimenting with Web-only TV shows. Google has already begun weeding out the weakest offerings in an effort to fine-tune its TV-style content offering. The biggest test for the viability of Internet-only TV content will come next year when Arrested Development returns not to the Fox network on which it originally aired, but exclusively to Netflix. This will be the first time a popular show makes the transition from broadcast to Internet-only distribution. Will the new season live up to months of eager hype? How well will the one-season-at-a-time release schedule of Netflix work compared to the staggered airing of a real TV show? Will Netflix see a bump in sign-ups? The success of Arrested Development’s new season will influence future decisions about Internet TV content, especially when it comes to beloved but off-the-air shows. If Netflix scores a big hit with the Bluth family, expect Hulu and YouTube to try and emulate its success. Remote 2.0: The Evolution of User Controls As imperfect as the user interface is for Internet TV, traditional television and cable set-ups aren’t exactly known for their ease-of-use. Just ask my mother when she’s faced with a coffee table full of remote controls.  Apple will likely lead the charge here, but either way, expect the way we interact with TV content to get simplified. Fewer buttons and a more intuitive design are coming to a remote control near you, while on-screen menus get some polish of their own. One company experimenting with simplified remote control design is Bose, whose VideoWave entertainment system has a remote that sports a touch pad and six buttons, shifting most of the commonly-used buttons to the TV screen itself. The remote works with just about any external device, from Blu Ray players and XBox 360 to Roku and Apple TV. TV interface controls will also expand beyond pointing a remote control at the screen. In the future, we’ll interact with TV content using our voices and gesture-based controls. We’re already seeing a glimpse of how this will work thanks to the Kinect on XBox, the iPad and the various Siri hacks developers have created. Indeed, the inclusion of Siri is one of the most frequently-mentioned features of the rumored Apple HDTV. Meanwhile, Google has been baking its ever-more-effective voice search into more of its mobile apps. The Convergence of Mobile and TelevisionIn 2013, expect your TV to look more like your smartphone. The convergence of television and mobile platforms will continue next year, as TV software designers rethink the user interface and AirPlay-style functionality grows more mainstream. As mobile video apps mature and consumers get used to the idea of wirelessly beaming their tablets to their TVs, the line between mobile and TV will blur. Ease-of-use is key here. Hassle-free connectivity of the sort offered by Apple’s AirPlay will enable even the least tech-savvy consumers to connect their tablets to their TVs. The couch is already where tablets get used the most, according to research conducted by Google. And watching video is already one of the most popular activities for which people use their tablets, according to Google, the Online Publishers Association and just about everybody else who’s studied tablet usage behavior. The only missing link was the wireless beaming technology now provided by Apple’s AirPlay and an eventual Google equivalent. Adoption of that feature is dependent on the growth of set-top streaming boxes or, better yet, connected TVs.Top image courtesy of Shutterstock. last_img read more

Read More →