Data collection and its interpretation is a leading factor in economic growth and development and has become an irrefutable part of our future. What we know and understand about the world will continue to be predicted and projected via information garnered from generations gone by; enabling communities, cities and countries to transform, learn and grow. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Digitalisation are often misunderstood terms and viewed with apprehension in many emerging economies. In the African context, disruptive technology should be viewed as a driver of development.
The Alexandra Series is a true reflection of the many possibilities that exist in this new age of digitalisation. This project, inspired by the #SiemensFABRIC campaign showcases the impact that data collection, analysis and visualization can have in catalysing the township economy. Understanding the layered intricacies of African cities is the foundation of #SiemensFABRIC – A revolutionary project that showcased how the underlying data of an African city can help transform them into the smart cities of the future – demonstrated by using data to design unique fabrics for each city.
Siemens embarked on a data visualization project in Alexandra to see what could be learnt about the “DNA” of the township but also how this information could be better understood to improve living conditions for the community. After tapping into its digital resources to consolidate this data, the company used the visualization to create layered patterns of the community which were then printed onto South African woven fabric. The result; a vivid visual representation of the community of Alexandra told through its data attributes.
Using the data visualizations Siemens was able to see and understand the township and the challenges it faces, but was also able to identify areas where a tangible and sustainable difference could be made in Alexandra community.
As part of their Enterprise Development programme, Siemens identified a 100% black women owned business, Legae Larona Sewing Cooperative, who then used this fabric to create great South African products for their employees as well as members of the broader South African business community. The cooperative is now a fully functioning business receiving orders from other companies as well.
Through data, a lot could be learnt about an industry, community or a city. Siemens is leading the charge towards digitalization including the challenges it brings and is using that to positively impact the country.
This article was published in partnership with Siemens.