By: Mohammad Chowdhury - PwC Telecom, Media and Technology Leader for South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand
Right after taking power, President Jokowi’s administration raised the prominence of technology being in people’s hands, announcing an ambitious vision to create better quality of urban life by harnessing digital technologies. Whilst policy makers grapple with how realistic this vision is, many of us are already “smart” urbanistas, using applications and services to make our lives easier, more fun, informed, and connected.
But which is Indonesia’s smartest metropolis by use of city apps today?
I decided to find out by surfing on Google Play Store from my smart phone and looking at the number of apps available for download which include the city’s name in the title. I then looked at how many downloads there have been of the most popular app. A simple approach, Android-based only, and indicative rather than precise. I looked at 5 Indonesian cities, and, for interest, 8 global ones.
Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung were obvious choices for comparison. I also opted for Batam and Bogor, given their relative proximities to Singapore and Jakarta respectively.
Not surprisingly, the winner is... Jakarta! But I am surprised that only 50 smart city apps are on offer in the nation’s thriving and Go-Jek and Grab bike filled capital, where Surabaya has 41 and Dhaka in much poorer Bangladesh has 44.
Here are some observations:
Of course there is much more to a smart city than apps. In fact, apps indicate more about the smartness of its citizens, than the city itself. What it takes for a city to be smart relates much more to the fixed and mobile telecoms infrastructure, the overlaying information infrastructure, and the collaboration between private sector and public agencies. Although not as highly ranked as one might expect globally, Jakarta is home to possibly one of the world’s most ingenious and scaled city apps – Go Jek. Go-Jek has experienced 5m downloads. If we were to assume half live of the downloaders live in Jakarta, then that does indicate over 10% of the city residents have considered using Go-Jek.
Follow Mohammad Chowdhury @mtchowdhury
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