Governments of the future will not own any infrastructure to deliver public services, nor will their operations continue to be based upon on a traditional centralised model. This is considering the rapid rate of innovation in information and communications technology (ICTs), which is “disrupting” traditional state operations.
And, this “disruption” is for the better, according to Dr. Setumo Mohapi, chief-executive officer of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), which hosts the annual prestigious Government Technology Conference (GovTech), a major driver behind the South African government’s own “e-government” drive. SITA is proud to be partnering with a number of prominent players in the ICT industry all with the common aim of enabling service delivery through ICT for citizen empowerment. This year’s sponsors include Vodacom, MTN, Microsoft, Gijima, Accenture, Business Connexion, Huawei, Pinnacle, Intel and CEOS.
“As will be demonstrated at this year’s GovTech, government has made major strides in adopting and deploying ICTs to improve service delivery. While we are certainly moving forward, there is still much to be done, and the conference will highlight what will be possible in the not-too-distant future. Government service delivery will be based on a very different model than what we have grown accustomed to,” says Dr. Mohapi.
Already, Uber and autonomous motor vehicles, such as those being prototyped by Tesla, Google and Volvo, motivate his views.
As Dr. Mohapi explains, these technologies will do away with any need for government to own certain assets, such as waste-removal vehicles, while opening up the delivery of specific state services to the community, thus improving efficiencies of operations and reducing their costs.
He also keeps a close watch on other important current technologies, such as Bitcoin and Bitchain, which are “bringing an element of trust” to the Internet of Things (IoT).
“The IoT had trust issues in the past. I therefore believe that these technologies will be a major breakthrough for the IoT, and a major potential ‘disruptor’, especially, in terms of government activities. These technologies could be harnessed by government to provide more efficient grant schemes, for example. Importantly, they could be used to improve access to affordable medicines,” says Dr. Mohapi.
He also envisages integrated government departments that move all the necessary documentation to citizens on an efficient backbone that is based on ICTs.
Clearly, like ICTs have shunted the private sector into the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, they have also catapulted the public sector into a new era. A trait of this digital landscape is participation by all. “We are now part of the technology, as opposed to being a casual observer. We are interacting with these technologies to improve performances, as well as our own wellbeing. This defines the government of the future that has harnessed the full potential of the ICTs,” concludes Dr. Mohapi.
GovTech 2016 will be held from 31 October to 2 November 2016, following the prestigious SITA Public Service ICT Awards on 30 October at Gallagher Conference Centre in Midrand, Gauteng.
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