ARTICLES — May 08, 2019

Building a Smart City: It’s More Than The Technology

Building a smart city takes more than implementing new and powerful technological solutions. It takes new ways of doing things, new ways of living. When the technology you’re implementing penetrates deep into the community, every city dweller has to be ready to evolve with it in order to gain full advantage of the solution.

Let’s take a look at the recent news when South Sumatra’s forest fire detector was stolen. According to Detik News, this Badan Restorasi Gambut’s (BRG) device cost 100 million IDR each. It has the ability to monitor 30 hectares of peatland and sends real-time data such as water table depth, land moisture, and rainfall count in every 10 minutes. 21 of these devices had only been stationed in South Sumatra for a year before they were stolen. Now 16 are left to carry on the work of keeping the community save.

Although this may be a loss for the community, there are some things worth noting about grooming the ecosystem before deploying a tech solution. Here are some of them:

Smart solutions are more sustainable when the local community is actively involved. In order to build this relationship, regular communication and educational activities are needed. Such events allow the community to learn about the importance of the device and its direct impact to their lives. Once understanding is reached, a sense of common responsibility will develop and eventually lead to active participation.

Logistically, device owners should look into devices that with Location Information (LOCI) capability. This can help them keep track of their IoT devices in real time, especially when paired with a smart management platform like Telkomsel IoT Control Center. Such a platform can help users monitor the device’s location with LOCI, and set up an alert for a change of location or other fraudulent activities in real-time, wherever they are stationed.

A device that costs 100 million IDR per unit will need a level of physical security protecting it from theft. When well-informed local communities are involved, they can help. Imagine, having your local community move to action the moment a device change position or lose its connection. You just plan the response necessary to keep your devices safe, rehearse it with your local ‘protectors’, and watch the community supports your endeavor.

Building a smart city begins with building a smart community. Building a smart community begins with having smart users. We need to dig deeper beyond the cool appearance of our tech, and into the core purpose of our solution: to better people’s lives. Let’s bring the human connection back into our smart city planning.

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