“Technology drives the modern world and the Overstrand cannot afford to miss out on the benefits the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) brings with it. For this reason, the municipality has decided to host a Connectivity Summit on 13 and 14 November in the municipal auditorium,” says Soli Madikane, the Overstrand Municipality’s Director of Social and Economic Development and Tourism.

According to him the summit is the result of extensive consultations with local businesses on what their needs for the future are. “We understand the important role that ‘always on’ connection and fibre plays in economic development and through this summit we want to showcase the infrastructure that is already available.”

The aim of the summit will be to provide direction on how technology can serve a population that is increasingly mobile and dependent on technology, and on how to use social and digital channels to interact with residents and visitors, while at the same time promoting business-to-business communication to strengthen the economy.

Mayor Dudley Coetzee will open the two-day summit with an exhibition showcasing the different products available in the market on Wednesday, 13 November at 09:00. On Thursday from 09:00 presentations will be given in the auditorium by the municipality, Telkom and other service providers, followed by a panel discussion.

“The summit will allow service providers to address the community, share their infrastructure plans and highlight future developments. At the same time the municipality will have the opportunity to share its plans and procedures, including the wayleave process that allows for the installation of fibre connections, ” says Madikane.

“Technology makes ‘anytime, anywhere’ work possible and therefore the municipality is seeking ways to improve seamless communication and embrace the 4IR to create an environment that is supportive of entrepreneurship and business development.”

According to Madikane, if the municipality is not prepared to adapt to a changing environment its citizens and business sector will be left behind. “Should we fail as a community to capitalise on the opportunities of the 4IR, it will lead to a blame game about who should have done what to prepare ourselves for technological advancements.”

Madikane adds that visitors are also expecting technological infrastructure on a par with what they are accustomed to. “Tourists sit in the comfort of their living rooms and surf the web for holiday destinations. They do all their preparations and bookings online and expect the same level of sophistication when they arrive at a destination. By focusing on connectivity and the challenges and opportunities it brings, we will be able to meet the future head-on.”

He says other municipalities, such as Drakenstein, have highly successful digital strategies and they are using them to attract investment and businesses to their area. The time has come for the Overstrand to do the same. “With better connectivity comes better business.”

Everyone is invited to attend the summit and exhibition on 13 and 14 November. For more information, email paecondevtoursim@overstrand.gov.za.

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