The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) officially launched its “Find & Fix” smartphone application at an event in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 14 May 2014.
Developed by Intervate, a South African company with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the app lets users report potholes, faulty traffic lights, storm water drain problems, and missing manhole covers.
“The launch of this new smartphone app forms part of the JRA’s turnaround strategy and service delivery drive,” said Skhumbuzo Macozoma, managing director of JRA.
Available in the Windows Phone marketplace and Google Play store for Android, the JRA said that the iOS version of the app for iPhones will be available from 24 May 2014.
The first beta version of the app was launched on Windows Phone, and Microsoft was involved in the development of the application.
Asked about their involvement, a spokesperson for Microsoft said that the app makes use of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Microsoft assisted in the development of this aspect of the app, the spokesperson said.
In an FAQ provided at the launch event, Intervate explained that the app requires a data connection to report a problem. Unfortunately it is not able to capture a service request to submit via Wi-Fi later.
However, Intervate said that the ability to store fault reports to upload over a cheaper data connection later is a feature they are working on.
Pre-empting questions of why the JRA built the app and why they partnered with Intervate, the JRA said that it has received many complaints about poor service delivery which has not been helped by inaccurate, vague, or incomplete service request information.
The app captures an exact location automatically and allows citizens to add photos and descriptions (albeit optionally) which will provide the JRA with better information.
It believes that improving the quality of the information around a fault will improve service delivery over time, the JRA said.
The app is based on Intervate’s Fix My City framework, which the company said is a “multi-tenant capable solution which allows geo-fencing of regions to allow service requests to be grouped and categorised.”