Jakarta. French companies are helping to establish so-called smart cities across the archipelago as part of efforts to enhance the partnership between Indonesia and France, while promoting the latest technologies in sustainable urban development.
During the Indonesian-French City of Tomorrow Roadshow, representatives of companies involved in sustainable urban development visited Palembang (South Sumatra), Surabaya (East Java), Bandung (West Java) and Jakarta to share their expertise on how Indonesian cities can be transformed.
"Indonesia is faced with challenges in city organization and planning. [Through the City of Tomorrow Roadshow,] we had the opportunity to discuss and share our knowledge and expertise with the mayor of each city we visited," Business France trade counselor Rachid Boulaouine told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday (02/02).
Business France – an agency involved in international economic development – facilitated the meetings and discussions between French technology providers and local municipalities as part of the City of Tomorrow program, which focuses on smart city programs.
The French-Indonesian business partnership aims to promote investment in technologies that will help urban centers in the archipelago become smart cities of the future.
These technologies include 3-D design and engineering software from Dassault Systèmes, smart transportation and parking solutions from Parkeon, energy transition technology from Engie, as well as engineering consultancy firm Tractebel.
The experts discussed how their companies can assist to solve the various challenges involved in the development of smart cities – from managing street parking, to simulating the inner works of what makes a smart city.
"We duplicate systems that we know will work locally. [Such as] mobility issues and parking problems. What we introduce are our solutions and show them how cities have managed it overseas," said Pierre-Antoine Decoux, sales development manager at Parkeon.
Parkeon has worked with 4,000 cities across the world – including Paris and New York – and it has advised local municipalities in Indonesia for a few years already on how to manage mobility issues and traffic congestion.
Decoux said time plays an important role in the development of smart cities.
"Everything takes time to discuss and understand. It's complex, and it's a matter of digging deeper and deeper to really understand the market […] Our challenge is how to get involved and commit ourselves to understanding this market and address it the right way. It doesn't happen overnight," he said.
Smart cities focus their investment in human and social capital, which allow for both sustainable economic development and a higher quality of life, while incorporating sustainable urban management systems.
"This smart city is a new concept in Indonesia; we propose to bring the best practices, from what we've done on projects in Europe, to Indonesia," said Lauren Peeters of Tractebel.
The roadshow had a positive reception in all the cities it visited, with mayors sharing their respective visions to improve their cities rapidly, to attract investors, and to develop new ways of doing business with foreign companies.
Dassault Systèmes, one of the companies involved in the City of Tomorrow program, focuses on bridging the gap between what makes a smart city and how people play a role in making that a reality, while also providing positive input and solutions.
"One thing we need to highlight is that technology is one part of the solution, while government bureaucracy is another. The synergy to realize these smart city visions requires a strong policy within the government and [participation by] technology players," said Adi Aviantoro of Dassault Systèmes.