Jakarta: on the rise to smartness

Jakarta: on the rise to smartness

A transitioning smart city faces its own set of challenges. Jakarta is a prime example of how the leap from transitioning to fully smart can be successful. 

Jakarta is a city that never sleeps. Its 10 million inhabitants make it the second largest city in Southeast Asia, second only to Manila. Maintaining public services, such as education, healthcare or public transport, for such a big population is a challenge – one that Jakarta is managing with the help of Big Data, innovation and decentralization. 

The goal of decentralization helps Indonesia push its city smartness further as administrative responsibilities and fiscal resources increase, and local governments – such as Jakarta’s – look into better ways of providing well-informed policies and services to their citizens. Ranking amongst the top 50 smart city governments, the Indonesian capital is becoming a responsive smart city, involving its citizens in the process of feedback and analysis. 

Another way of decentralizing services and increasing the responsiveness of the city’s public services such as emergency services or telecommunications is that the government analyzes Big Data generated from citizen feedback to gain valuable insights. This feedback is gathered from a combination of the results of existing complaint systems as well as passive feedback, such as mentions via social media. Jakarta has developed a structured approach for this, first establishing the data policy, then collecting data, analyzing this data and finally working out the insights from it. This knowledge is then put into action by collaborating with private enterprises.   

Data also plays a big role in another of Jakarta’s initiatives. The aim is to make data a platform upon which the public and private sectors can cooperate and form partnerships. The city government would become a one-stop platform enabling industry collaborations between private and public enterprises. The sharing of data and the solutions that can be derived from them will further improve public services which are targeted at citizens’ needs.   

Compared to other smart cities that are listed on the smart city government index, Jakarta is still in the early stages of becoming a truly smart city, at least according to the index’s methodology. This makes it what is called a ‘Transitioning City’, which means that Jakarta has yet to address implementation challenges in multiple areas, such as long-term strategic planning and the establishment of good governance. 

Jakarta’s diverse population poses a special challenge as well: The historic mix of cultures – combining everything from Javanese, Malay, Chinese, Arab and Indian to European is still influential today – meaning the city council has to deal with the needs and demands of this very diverse population. The gap in wealth does not make it easier. Some parts of the population demand first-world facilities, whereas a large part still has limited access to basic everyday amenities. 

But not everything is a challenge. Balancing the provision of smart as well as basic infrastructure also offers opportunities, and plenty of room for innovation. Becoming a smart city is not a process without growing pains. Issues to be tackled include high air pollution and insufficient supply of fresh water. 96% of Jakarta’s residents do not have access to wastewater treatment. 

And this is where the opportunities come in again. These are problems to be solved, and Jakarta offers opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas to provide these solutions. In comparison to Jakarta, Berlin ranks higher on the index. Despite that, there is an abundance of things that the German capital can learn from the Indonesian one. To facilitate the exchange between the two, Startup AsiaBerlin is organising a delegation trip of German entrepreneurs, investors and accelerators to Jakarta. 

This year, Jakarta and Berlin are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the sister city partnership. To celebrate this occasion, Jakarta Smart City together with StartUp AsiaBerlin are hosting ‘The Good Times 2019’ conference to facilitate the exchange between governments, private sector. The prestigious event will be opened by the Governor of Jakarta, Mr. Anies R. Basweda.

The cornerstone of the event is the Innovation Jam, where Jakarta city representatives, corporates and startups will co-create ideas and collaborate on implementable solutions for cities. The idea is to use ICT and innovation to develop concrete solutions for better cities.  Peter Schoof, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Indonesia and Ilham Habibie, Vice Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce will give their professional insights on the collaboration opportunities between Indonesia and Europe.  

The packed, intense and in-depth agenda of our delegation offers participants an opportunity to truly immerse themselves in Jakarta’s smart city ecosystem, gain access to an important network of government officials, entrepreneurs, mentors and potential partners and finally take away concrete, implementable and powerful strategies for their own ventures back home!


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