Through its Mandate to coordinate and regulate Information Technology services in Uganda, the National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) has an objective to provide high quality information technology services that would enhance service delivery by the Government of Uganda.
Following the National IT Survey 2017/2018 that was conducted by the Authority, it was discovered that phone ownership in Uganda has grown from 52.3% in 2014 to the current 70.9%. This surge in phone ownership informed the need to embrace the mobile phone as an accessible and cost effective medium for Government to communicate and deliver e-Services to citizens.
NITA-U has since implemented Uconnect, a Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) for the Government of Uganda, with the major aim of facilitating affordable and efficient communication and e-services delivery to Citizens by all Government Entities.
The uConnect platform enables government entities to push/pull SMS notifications to citizens through an SMS Gateway, deploy USSD services, Interactive Voice Response Systems, Voice Broadcasts and Location Based Services.
The SMS Gateway provides a common service of SMS to the eGovernance exchange and is used to deliver SMS based services to all citizens and businesses. It supports push based services where common informational services can be pushed to citizens as a group as well as pull based services where citizens can also request for specific information SMS services.
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)
USSD is a session based service unlike SMS, which is a store and forward service. USSD can be used by the user to send command to an application in text format. USSD acts as a trigger for the application. This can be very useful for submitting requests for a service through an interactive menu and for tracking their status.
Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS)
Government plays a critical role in citizens’ lives. From education to healthcare to public safety, everyday people rely on government agencies for a host of critical issues. Therefore, offering exceptional and timely service is a must. When people are seeking answers to their questions or are looking to solve a problem, there is nothing better than hearing a voice.
The IVRS is an interactive voice gateway to an online Directory that uses speech recognition to process calls from users both on and off site. Through IVRS based services, status enquiries for a large number of services can be automated and the requisite information provided to the service seekers without causing undue overheads on the e-governance infrastructure.
Voice broadcasts are particularly relevant when certain notifications or alerts have to be sent to citizens as a voice call. This can be very helpful in case of disaster or emergency situations such as riots, earth quakes, landslides etc. they are also very effective for communication with visually-impaired citizens.
Location Based Services (LBS)
LBS enables government entities to customize their service offering according to the location of the service seeker. The services can be offered in real-time based on the location of the subscriber.