The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) recognized and awarded small, medium and micro. Enterprises (SMMEs) that have developed digital technology solutions to solve social problems.

A number of SMEs have introduced digital business strategies and products that can be integrated into government systems and processes to improve service delivery.

SMEs are being recognized for their digital inclusion

Month of struggle with the deaf

To commemorate Deaf Awareness Month, DeafTouch is among SMMEs recognized for business ideas that drive digital inclusion

DeafTouch founder Claiborne Appis has developed a telecommunications application that aims to solve the communication problems of the deaf community. Its mobile app allows deaf people to access emergency mobile services.

“The deaf community can now use video phones, laptops or any smart device that has video capability. They will be able to log out and speak directly in sign language with an interpreter or deaf agent in the call center,” Apiss says.

Digital inclusion
He believes that as government transforms its operations for the fourth industrial revolution, the digital inclusion of marginalized groups is critical.

“In South Africa, about 4 million deaf people need services. In terms of our democracy, you’re still faced with a situation where the government is still really unable to serve the deaf and blind communities and even those communities that are disadvantaged, simply because of access. So now that we have the technology, we can provide access to services, I think the charges have really been taken out of the equation,” Appis says.

Face recognition glasses

Similar to DeafTouch, REAH Sign Communicate has created facial recognition glasses that give deaf people access to a sign language interpreter as they interact with a hearing person in real time.

Nombusa Nkosi from Reah Sign Communicate says: “The Deaf community is often abused but they do not report such crimes because of the communication barrier. If police services had such products, it would be easy and they would feel safe – that if I go to the police station, they will understand me and I will be able to report my crime.”

Nkosi says the product will help if it is rolled out in police stations and hospitals.

The government has identified the information and communication technology (ICT) sector as a key driver for bringing its services closer to the people.

Mobile apps, facial recognition and cloud-based technology are just some of the digital technologies being showcased at the GovTech 2022 conference to help improve service delivery.

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