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Inside the Jakarta Smart City Lounge: Working to embrace big data, social media, and citizen engagement

When I walked into the Jakarta Smart City Lounge, I felt as if I were walking into one of these modern work sharing spaces. Computer monitors occupy the table tops, the operations room faces a huge screen showing live CCTV coverage, while new technology graces the visitors in the waiting room.

The lounge took 5 months of planning and construction to build, with the support of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. It combines the feel of a co-working space and a CCTV command centre to meet the needs of the Smart City efforts.

We spoke to Mr. Setiaji, Head of Jakarta Smart City, Indonesia, to learn more about what the new Lounge has to offer and how they are working with citizens to improve their government service delivery.

Setiaji recently opened the doors of the Lounge to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, whom were interested in seeing the recent developments by the Smart City team. As Jakarta is leading the pack of up and coming smart cities, the creation of the Smart City Lounge achieved a great milestone in pushing the nation further into the digital era.

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A Connected Smart City

Jakarta Smart City unit aims to help transform the city into a digitised urban centre. The city will be run on connected devices and technology, which feed and consume data at exponential rates.

“There are 9 million citizens in Jakarta… we see this as 9 million live sensors,” said Setiaji, “We have built apps and platforms to engage with them.”

To meet the needs of digital transformation, the Jakarta Smart City unit developed a new space aiming to facilitate greater collaboration to improve government service delivery.

“We built this co-working space to facilitate collaboration between data scientists,” Setiaji emphasised, “This translucent glass from the operations room represents the transparency of our operations. This is important for Jakarta Smart City.”

The co-working space is similar to that of a hot desk office you may experience at a technology firm. Facilitating a space for public servants and innovators by trade to work together is imperative for smart city developments. The lounge is also open to the wider community so as to serve citizens in a greater way.

“Our 6 start-up apps partners work outside of these facilities,” Setiaji told us, “We also hold open hours on the weekends for the community to come and use the lounge to collaborate with one another.”

Jakarta Smart City continues to engage new partners and start-ups in their drive to form the city as a test bed for innovation.

“We have a mini Smart City area that we hope to use as a testbed,” Setiaji said, “We are starting to collaborate on IoT systems to make solutions which are useful and cost saving. This September, we will hold a competition where citizens can test these platforms.”

Using Social Media to improve Service Delivery

Jakarta has been named “Twitter City” for the extraordinary rate of citizen engagement with the social media platform. While using Twitter, citizens will not only share news and opinions, but also complain about city and government services.

Jakarta Smart City has seen this pattern of social media behaviour as an opportunity to improve the way that the city operates.

“We have many people using social media in Indonesia, so we need to develop apps like Qlue which appeals to these users. We see this as an opportunity to get more input from the citizens and engage with them in a productive way,” Setiaji stated.  

The team has used data from social media for various efforts and projects, especially in flood monitoring. From the operation room, we saw a large screen displaying CCTV coverage of more than 10 locations cited for flood monitoring.

“For flood monitoring, we use specific hashtags to monitor flood activity throughout the region. We then collate the data from the people who tweet using this hashtag,” said Setiaji.

Beyond these efforts, Jakarta Smart City will be looking to extract social sentiment data from social media in the near future.

 “We are developing tools to study social sentiment now,” Setiaji stated, “This requires new skillsets and knowledge to develop. This will help us focus on making our reporting more responsive.”

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New Projects and Exciting Developments in the works

For Jakarta Smart City, they must work to build a big data environment which capitalises on all of the data they will be collating from its citizens and devices. Setiaji introduced several projects that his team will be developing, such as CRM, Jakarta One Payment Card, Smart Parking, Smart City Lights, and City Surveillance.  

As mobile penetration and number of connected devices increases, this is essential to the efforts of Jakarta so that they can embrace digital transformation.

“Since developing Jakarta Smart City, we have worked to integrate systems and data from across government agencies,” Setiaji told us.

The Jakarta One Payment Card is well under development within the confines of the Smart City team. They foresee that this card will be registered and integrated with citizen data so that they can draw more intelligent insights.

“Next, we will build some big data systems and environments. When we implement the Jakarta One Payment Card, we will collect and analyse data from these transactions,” Setiaji exclaimed, “We are inspired by Hong Kong’s Octopus card and Singapore’s E-Z Link card, which make for quick and efficient processes. This is important as we move towards a cashless society.”

Smart Parking will be implemented throughout the city with the use of sensors and data from transportation agencies. The idea for this project came about from a recent Hackathon and will be developed by the Smart City team.

Another project is to implement the Smart City Lights, which will save the city 1 million Rupiah annually. These lights will have tools to activate on its own and alert a central command centre when bulb replacement is needed. 

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