Thursday, October 05, 2006

e-Government and South Africa (4)

The day began as the past few days. By 8.15 a.m. I was at Sandton Convention Center to attend a master class on Voice over WLAN. Gladly enough I did not have an official function like the past two days; yesterday I was knackered being unrepentantly the chairman of the e-government conference for the whole day. Today the master class was given by Mr Sadiq Malik, the business development director of BCT Global, South Africa. He is a fine presenter, drawing his audience into the subject.

He took the position that “African organizations are poised to reap the easily quantifiable Return On Investment benefits of Voice over Wireless (VoWLAN) technology. Utilising IP as the ubiquitous transport offers the enterprise significant statistical gains in bandwidth efficiency, lower overall bandwidth requirements, ease of management, and the ability to deploy new applications rapidly. On the WLAN, data and voice share a common infrastructure. By contrast, legacy disparate networks constitute a ‘use it or lose it’ model. When voice is quiescent, data can utilize the available bandwidth; when voice applications are active, they can be guaranteed the bandwidth required. Therefore, the ability to converge voice and data over a single wireless local area network can result in significant cost savings and allows for the development of new applications that increase productivity and efficiency.
When it comes to specialized implementations such as WLAN, roaming support, quality of service, radio frequency planning and security measures are critical to ensure success. Wireless is a contention medium so VoIP solutions must have a high level of fidelity in order to deliver analogue performance – which, quite simply, means being able to clearly hear the person you are talking to without any interference or dropped calls. Achieving these criteria can be a challenge without appropriate expertise and technologies, especially in the wireless scenario”.

He gave an example of a resort where a VoWLAN had been implemented. He went through the phases of the project and showing that it could be used for logistic management, gaming, household management and points of sale. He indicated that VoWLAN could be used in more situations. One of the situations he mentioned was the use of VoWLAN in hospitals. Many hospitals forbid the use of mobiles as they are afraid that the frequencies of their medical equipment will be influenced. Yet is it clear already for some years that mobile frequencies do not influence hospital frequencies. I guess hospital management likes to keep this fairy tale alive as a crack down makes their lives easier.

It was a rather technical master class. This tied in with the government technology theme of the past conference. It shows that e-government in Africa is still in the phase of setting up systems for internal use. E-Government is still in the first phases of development, whereby departments advertise themselves and give information, but are unable to provide information upon request and to execute transactions, let alone transforming government services.


Blog Posting Number: 530

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