Smart Connectivity & Communication

Connecting our Community

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Date 03 August 2021

A smart city continuously innovates and renews its processes and methodologies, using the latest technology available and best practices as efficiently and intelligently as possible.  Through Smart Connectivity & Communication, Century City not only offers efficient ways to connect to the internet and each other, but connects with its community through various channels, the most significant of which is the Century City app.

The Century City app was launched in April 2021 with the aim to provide information in a fast and easy way, connect local businesses with the community and place the community directly in touch with the Century City Property Owners’ Association (CCPOA), who manages the precinct.

“Our app is an easy-to-use way to get access to the latest news, as well as promotions and specials offered by local businesses”, explains Chris Blackshaw, CEO of CCPOA.  “The traffic camera function is quite a nifty feature, which allows you to see snapshots of the main arterials within the precinct.  Refreshed every minute, you are able to gauge the traffic flow before you embark on your journey.”

To improve communication with the CCPOA and enhance the efficiency of the maintenance and security teams, there is a reporting function on the app where a fault or an incident can be logged, including the upload of photographs and the pinning of its location.

Blackshaw explains that each report goes directly to the Security Operations Centre (SOC) where it is attended to by the relevant team.  “We also have a direct call button to our SOC available on the app, should you want to report an urgent matter or in the case of an emergency.” 

“A smart city enables its occupants, communities, entrepreneurs and businesses to take an active interest in the solution rather than just identifying the problem.  We would like to thank our community for using the app to report faults and encourage such participation.” says Blackshaw. “This is the true essence of a smart city at work, where technology aids us in connecting with each other in a meaningful way to enrich the environment we live in, thereby improving our quality of life.”

The concept of a smart city would not be possible without broadband telecommunications.  The connectivity that drives successful implementation of innovative solutions turns smart cities into vibrant socio-economic hubs that help businesses thrive.

Century City Connect was rolled out as a central open access high-speed fibre network, and in addition to serving as a broadband for residences and businesses, also offers in partnership with the CCPOA free Wi-Fi hotspots around the precinct for all visitors.  The strategy is to have over-arching Wi-Fi capability across the precinct. 

The world-class, open-access fibre-optic connectivity propelled Century City into the first world digital age in 2011, when the network was first deployed.  Since then, the world of technology has evolved at a rapid pace. 

“When we started this journey, the South African connectivity market was completely different to what we are used to today.” says Hein de Swardt, Executive of Century City Connect.“Fibre was a swear word due to it being very expensive and only available to big corporates who could afford it. ADSL was available and you could get a whopping 4Mbps service if you were lucky! Vodacom only launched 4G in November 2012.”

The Century City Connect network was ahead of its time in 2011, with the deployment of the first truly open access fibre-to-the-business and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) last mile metro network in South Africa and made fibre not only affordable, but within the reach of the home user. Little Moorings was the first residential complex in Century City to get fibre and today each residential development in Century City has fibre connectivity.

De Swardt continues “Today, residents can order FTTH services with speeds of up to 1000Mbps in Century City. Many people might take high speed connectivity for granted in Century City, but we shouldn’t forget where we were less than 8 years ago and how far we have come. We are looking forward to what the future holds for connectivity here!”

In 2017, the first free wi-fi zones in Century City was launched through Let’s Connect, with internet access to anyone.

“We realised that there was a need for free wi-fi zones in Century City and we really wanted to give something back to the stakeholders. The reception and take-up have really surpassed our expectations!” explains De Swardt.

There are currently 14 free wi-fi zones, with plans to extend to more areas soon.  Visitors can use 500mb per day, whereafter they are able to top up at a reduced rate.

De Swardt elaborates on some exciting and cutting-edge changes and additions that can be expected in Century City soon. “We are living in a digital age. 300 hours of video is uploaded onto Youtube every hour. Adults spend almost 6 hours per day online and Facebook and WhatsApp handle almost 60 billion messages a day! It’s no secret that we spend most of our time on mobile phones and in Century City, we are preparing for the next wave of mobile connectivity by piloting street level poles for street level wi-fi and 5G connectivity. We are already providing fibre connectivity to many rooftop cellular sites in Century City and will continue to find innovating ways to connect our smart city.”

“We see fibre as a utility, like water, electricity and believe that in 20 years from now, each home will have this utility. Internet Of Things or a network of “smart” devices communicating over the internet is already transforming how we live and work - especially in Century City in the smart city environment.” De Swardt concludes.