Digital Transformation to Build Metropolitan, Regional and National Smart Cities - Setiaji

7 June 2022

“Kerana kemudahan tidak hanya untuk sebahagian kelompok, tetapi untuk semua”

"Because convenience is not for a few, but the masses"

Setiaji, Chief of Digital Transformation Office at Ministry of Health / Assistant of Minister for Health Technology, Indonesia

Half of the world's population are city dwellers, and with the breakneck speed of technological advancement, a government that fuels digital technologies stands to endure significant long-term economic benefits. Cities that are slow to embrace the digital race risk falling further behind the pack.

With an average density of 1,400 population per square kilometer, West Java is home to 50 million people across 27 regencies and 620 districts. While it is the most populous province in Indonesia, its human development index is lower than Indonesia's national average. Wide socioeconomical and digital gaps are spread within its 1,576 urban villages and 4,301 rural villages.

Pemerintah Jawa Barat or the West Java Provincial Government understands that to inch closer to the smart city pole position, its version of smart city needs to be inclusive of the rural areas. Faced with complex government bureaucracy, compounded with a lack of innovation in the government service, West Java Provincial Government initiated an in-house digital team — Jawa Barat Digital Service or Jabar Digital Service. Early in our journey, we saw that to build a smart city tailored to the West Java ecosystem, we needed to bring together best-in-class tech talent and institutional stability in one team. Jabar Digital Service, in essence, is a start-up under government purview with a massive scale to impact.

There are three anchor drivers that propelled West Java into becoming one of the region’s fastest smart city adopters: People. Process. Technology.

1. People – Fostering digital talent

For a city to become a leading smart city, the importance of talent is second to none. However, according to the World Bank, Indonesia will have a 9-million digital talent shortage by 2030 if initiatives are not taken to address this in the interim.   

To fill this potential gap, Jabar Digital Service launched its inaugural Candradimuka Jabar Coding Camp in 2021. This first batch of full-fledged coding camps received 11,730 applicants, with 844 being successful in their applications. Additionally, and more impressively, 18.9% of the 844 successful applicants are among the underprivileged, disabled or high school leavers. All graduates of the coding camp are now either absorbed in Jabar Digital Service,  assimilated into the Indonesian technology industry, or opted to become freelancers taking advantage of the budding gig economy. As a result, we now have more than 300 new additions to the digital workforce consisting of mainly young, exuberant talents mentored by senior government officials and private sector experts.

2. Process – Facilitating new business models, streamlining regulations and supporting interactive innovation

An advocate of the 'Right First, Fast Later' mantra, Jabar Digital service believes a deep and resilient process is the cornerstone of any smart city. There was a perception that regulations were a barrier to innovation. Hence, the first point to address was to fine-tune existing regulatory policies to foster regulator engagement in the innovation process.

At a broader level, to invigorate a culture of innovation at various levels and among diverse stakeholders, we took a 360° view and synergised the business process with governance and infrastructure to support this interactive innovation. All this, of course, needed to align with our budget and stretch every Rupiah.

3. Technology – A customer-centric product

Smart cities may have become one of the main agendas for governments worldwide, but there is still a substantially unmet need for the largely overlooked and underserved population.

As West Java comprises of primarily rural locations and with our citizens only being able to afford basic technical equipment, our smart city technology of choice needs to be brought down to the lowest common denominator to make it inclusive for everyone and reduce the digital divide.

At Jabar Digital Service, we believe the launching of a digital blueprint is not enough. The execution must be accessible for all stakeholders to be able to develop at a furious pace.

Here are some examples of our flagship products that have impacted the West Java society significantly.

The Jabar Command Centre is a data visualisation and monitoring centre which centralizes and integrates data from all operations and public services available to citizens of West Java.

Public Gathering Monitoring, Smart CCTV surveillance that feeds the command centre with information of an estimated number of mass gatherings, average density and peak hours. The collection, monitoring and analysis of information allows the government to monitor public protocols and coordinate for security measures whenever necessary.

Ekosistem Data Jabar (EDJ), EDJ is a data ecosystem which integrates data from four main sources (OpenData, SatuData, Satu Peta & Core Data). Information gathered from this integrated ecosystem generates ‘smart’ insights which, in turn, supports data-driven decision making. The use of public and open data has also heightened transparent leadership while encouraging public participation in the urban development of West Java.  

Sapawarga, the West Java government’s Superapp was launched in 2019 with 3 main purposes:

  1. Effective, widespread and efficient delivery of government information to citizens
  2. Encouraging citizen interaction and feedback to government bodies
  3. Enabling citizens to gain easier access to government programs and public services

Pikobar, A day after West Java declared a state of emergency due to the COVID19 pandemic, JDS launched the Pikobar website. The Pikobar app was released 16 days later. Since the launches, Pikobar has been releasing real-time data and enabling integrated COVID-19 related services via both app and website. The services include 32 features such as teleconsultation / telemedicine, multivitamin prescription, delivery and administration of oxygen and more.

Digital Villages Theme

The overall objective of the Digital Villages Theme is to overcome the digital divide in rural areas, by covering 3 major pillars:

  1. Providing basic digital infrastructure for rural residents to access the internet
  2. Increasing digital literacy and ensuring residents are capable of using the internet for communication and information access
  • Increasing internet optimization with Internet-of-Things (IoT) and E-commerce to allow residents to independently and sustainably empower their own productivity.

There is one key trait driving the success of West Java’s smart city transformation: unity. From governments and local officials having a clear and aligned vision of a smart West Java, to an inclusive action plan that aims to elevate the lifestyles of all members of West Java’s society; the province is an undisputable example of the value of unity and cooperation of all stakeholders in making smart city transformation a success.


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