The Johannesburg Roads Agency’s innovative Find & Fix mobile app – which enables residents to report potholes, faulty traffic signals, leaking storm water drains, missing manhole covers and other infrastructural defects using their cellphones – has won three prestigious awards at the 2014 Microsoft Partner Network Awards.
The smartphone app – one of many initiatives aimed at transforming Johannesburg into a smart city – scooped the Microsoft Application of the Year Award, Managing Director’s Award and Public Sector Industry Award at a glamorous gala dinner at the Inanda Club in Sandton.
The recognition came only four months after the app, the first of its kind in South Africa and Southern Hemisphere, was launched.
Microsoft SA, one of the leading global software companies, says its annual awards honour partners “for delivering innovative solutions that directly address customer challenges”.
Coincidentally, the awards were bestowed on JRA at the start of this year’s Transport Month, during which the City highlights its achievements in improving the public transport system and showcase initiatives aimed at taking public transport in the city to a higher level.
As part of its journey to turn Johannesburg into a smart place, the City recently launched another ground-breaking app, POC, which is downloadable on smart and low end cellphones to provide residents with easy access to services using technology.
The Citizen Engagement Mobile Application, as it is sometimes called, makes it easy for residents to log faults, chat with agents, send feedback or receive messages targeted only for their suburb.
The app is efficient, responsive and ensures financial, environmental and quality service delivery sustainability. It is the fastest, most convenient and cost-effective way to interact with the city.
Interaction via the app is a fraction of the cost of making a phone call or sending an SMS. It is also far cheaper than travelling to a customer service centre.
The tool enables one to:
Use any mobile phone to download it and connect with a broad range of smart mobile service;
Receive contextualised, relevant and personalised communication from the City;
Log faults with the greatest of ease;
Have access to an instant messaging agent chat facility for immediate customer support;
Get quick access to important phone numbers that can be dialled directly from the app;
Provide feedback directly to the City about anything; and
Enjoy app sharing function so friends and family can also enjoy being connected to the City.
Reacting to the accolades, City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Councillor Christine Walters said this was a demonstration of the City’s commitment to delivering solutions that enhance residents’ experience on the city’s roads.
“I would like to congratulate the developers of the Find & Fix app for their innovation and their commitment to strengthening a culture of an engaged active citizenry,” MMC Walters said.
Interaction via the app is a fraction of the cost of making a phone call or sending an SMS. Significantly, it is also far cheaper than travelling to a customer service centre.
MMC Walters said the development of the app formed part of the JRA’s turnaround strategy and service delivery drive. “The City is committed to becoming more accessible to citizens and road users and to developing itself into a centre of engineering excellence with enhanced service delivery and satisfied customers,” she said.
For Johannesburg residents, the Find & Fix app enables ongoing communication on service progress, facilitates faster turnaround times. It also allows for media alerts on hotspots and pre-reported issues in a specific journey area.
“The app will also assist us to ensure that Johannesburg, one of Africa’s largest economic hubs, benefits from improved road infrastructure due to faster call logging and fixing turnaround times,” said MMC Walters.
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