Gadgets/Technology Headlines

MTC’S GIANT LEAPTO BRIDGE JOBURG’S DIGITAL DIVIDE

Sascha-Lee Joseph

The Metropolitan Trading Company (MTC) has stepped up to the challenge of ensuring equitable access to the digital realm for everyone living and working in Johannesburg. “Digital connectivity is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Bridging the digital divide has become top priority for cities worldwide and Joburg is no exception,” says Queen Baloyi, MTC’s Knowledge Management Specialist.

MTC has several projects set for installation and completion during the 2023–2024 financial year, one of which includes the public Wi-Fi monetisation project, which is set to run over three years.



Baloyi says the initial phase was dedicated to the creation of traffic. This entailed the development of a comprehensive commercialisation strategy that paves the way for reaching a broader audience. This phase laid the foundation for the project’s future success by increasing user engagement and data consumption. 



MTC deployed the SolarWinds platform, which enables the monitoring and controlling of access points (APs) and user data. This not only ensures a seamless Wi-Fi experience but also paves the way for data collection and databases, giving the City valuable insights into user behaviour.



“One of the key goals of the project is to allow for proximity advertising. Local businesses and services can advertise directly to Wi-Fi users, creating a unique revenue stream while offering users valuable, location-specific information,” she says.



Baloyi says MTC has not only generated revenue but also ushered a sustainable service that narrows the digital gap. It has leveraged its investment in public Wi-Fi infrastructure to monetise the service and improve the lives of Joburg residents. 



“MTC’s vision is simple yet profound: to transform its public Wi-Fi infrastructure from a cost centre into a revenue-generating powerhouse. The project aims to capitalise on the existing infrastructure, creating a win-win situation for the City and its residents. By doing so, the City could generate revenue streams while simultaneously enabling a sustainable service that bridges the digital divide among its diverse population,” she says.



Other ongoing projects for MTC in the current fiscal year include the Eye on the Bus, which is a Metrobus project. It is a monitoring system that keeps an eye on the technical conditions of the fleet, tracking the buses’ route, and monitoring driving behaviour. The solution should allow for the monitoring of buses to reduce fuel costs and operating costs by optimising routes and preventing downtime. It includes comprehensive CCTVs with face recognition monitoring on the buses to ensure passenger safety.



MTC is also busy with the Automated Fare Collection System for Metrobus to resolve legacy issues it faced with its current Wayfarer solution. The municipal bus company is also implementing a cashless payment solution that includes four types of fare media: Mifare Cards, QR code payments, bank-issued cards, and CiPurse Cards.

 SOURCED FROM THE JOBURG WEBSITE.

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