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THE JOURNEY FROM FIX MY CITY TO SMART CITIZEN

Smart Citizen started its life as a conceptual idea born in the Wimpy restaurant in Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport by one of Intervate‘s former Directors Wilhelm van Rensburg. The first development of this concept was called “Fix My City” and was developed on the Windows Mobile and Android platforms in 2012.

The solution was not entirely unique, but it was the first of its kind on the African continent and was one of a few commercial solutions globally to consider the needs of citizens in an increasingly popular ‘Smart City’ debate.

The original “Fix My City” app was designed to assist municipalities and city agencies in gathering information about infrastructure problems within a city, to help with tracking, planning, and assigning maintenance teams.

Fix My City utilised key components of modern smartphone technology including the global positioning system (GPS), the camera and 3G data or WiFi connectivity. These components are only available to native apps and therefore drove the decision to build Fix My City as a native app. The GPS component is used for location mapping and in tandem with a geo-fence (a defined boundary on a map which facilities the mapping of a location to a defined area) provides an accurate and defined method to pinpoint and group locations. The camera is used to capture an image which is then used to enhance the case management information.

In 2013, we realised that the ‘Fix My City’ concept could be applied to a number of similar use cases involving geo-location tracking, image capture and communication with middleware solutions. To this end, Intervate created the “FMC Framework” that could then be applied quickly and efficiently with a customised user interface and with specific input and output specifications to meet the unique needs of differing industries’ requirements, not just the public sector.

In 2014 another of Intervate’s former directors, Lionel Moyal worked on the business development of this solution with Craig Heckrath (who is still the Product Manager of Smart Citizen today) and developed the solution further to become “The Citizen Reporting Framework”.

The Citizen Reporting Framework was a significant enhancement over the original “Fix My City” App and the “FMC Framework” and was used to power the well known and reported Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) Find & Fix App, which enabled the JRA to overcome its challenges of an overwhelmed call centre and restored faith to the people of Johannesburg who were essentially provided a more effective communication channel to the City’s road agency (take a look at the Case Study for the JRA Find & Fix App).

In 2015 Intervate entered the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Awards with the Citizen Reporting Framework and the acclaimed JRA Find & Fix app and were recognised as a finalist in the Public Sector: CityNext category, awarded for its work with the City of Johannesburg and helping to contribute to a Smart City in South Africa. In the same year Intervate was awarded the South African ‘Microsoft Partner of the Year’ Award recognising its work as the leading Microsoft partner in South Africa.

partner-of-the-year-2015 partner-of-the-year-2016

The Citizen Reporting Framework has since powered a number of different solutions including SNAP!, a product created for a company called Cool Touch, to whom Intervate licensed the framework to assist them in bringing a Facilities Management product to market, a SHEQ app positioned at the manufacturing industry and a number of other apps.

In 2016 Intervate decided to productise the framework and the Smart City offering and to formalise the product to enable it to be marketed globally via a reseller channel of partners. Smart Citizen was the result of this process and has been developed to be modular and scalable and has been readied for global sale and was launched on 31st October 2016.  The product has undergone 4 years of research, ‘failing fast’ and reinvention and we are continually investing in its enhancement and improvement with each new interaction that we have with customers, partners and the smart city ecosystem at large.