Residents of Cape Town were treated to sights of a robot dog walking through the CBD as Dwyka Mining Services showcased Boston Dynamic’s Spot….
Service delivery sucks. Even when it works, it generally requires you to go stand in a queue, wait on hold, make extra payments… you get the picture. By sourcing community data, this newly launched South African app hopes to eliminate that hassle and bring pressing public issues to relevant service providers’ attention.
Take Action is an app that helps citizens log public incidents in need of attention. People can, for instance, raise awareness of things like broken water pipes, accidents, crime, and traffic jams on their smartphones. Logged incidents will then be attended to by a local service provider. Service providers can include everything from neighbourhood wathces, city improvement districts, mall management and so on.
Local residents (or visitors alike) are encouraged to download the app from Google Play or iTunes, after which they can then log an incident’s location, categorise it, give a short description and attach a photo.
People are prompted to register using their contact details. Take Action reassures us that personal information will not be shared, and that it will only be used by the service provider to contact people in case of an emergency, or to verify a call that have been logged. It will also help add a degree of legitimacy to certain logged issues.
The app has been developed by Solution House Software using Incident Management software. Introducing a single app platform is great in that it creates conversation on one public stage instead of fragmented chat groups.
There will be two versions — one free, the other subscription-based. The former will have in-app advertisements. “The power of the application is that it is free for both the user and the service provider. Without this approach the initiative will not work,” the site reads.
In a nutshell, the app sounds a lot like MySociety’s FixMyStreet — a British venture that was replicated in South Africa a few years ago, dedicated to citizen-to-public conversation. The company site is still up but no longer active.
With issues like service delivery, crime and fragmentation growing more prominent, we’re seeing a couple of local initiatives aiming to bridge this gap like the neighbourhood social networks Spottm and Ourhood. It would be interesting seeing how they fair.
Launched today, Stellenbosch has been chosen as the country’s pilot area. Though the app will be rolled out further to Green Point, Newlands, Mowbray, Observatory, Oranjezicht/Kloofnek, Rondebosch, Woodstock, and Wynberg.