Indonesia's new capital Nusantara to become tech-enabled smart city  

By Mochamad Azhar

Digital transformation will be a key pillar in building Indonesia’s new capital, Nusantara, and the focus will be developing high-capacity infrastructure, high-speed internet networks, and using the latest technology to support all activities in the archipelago. 

The design of the core government area of Indonesia's new capital city, Nusantara. The Nusantara Capital City will be a smart city that combines technology, resilience, sustainability and inclusiveness. Image: Nusantara Capital City Authority

11,900 Indonesian civil servants are packing their bags right now. The plan? To move to a planned city on an island more than 1000 kilometres away by September – and kickstart one of the world’s most ambitious plans to relocate a capital city. 


"Nusantara", or The Archipelago, is envisioned to be the world's first capital with a "smart forest city" concept. This staggering project will relocate Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta, which is congested and at risk of sinking due to the climate crisis. The future capital will be built on more than 250,000 hectares of forest (three times the size of Jakarta) in the heart of Borneo Island. 


President Joko Widodo said the government plans "to achieve economic equality and create new economic hubs outside Java" through the relocation, which will occur gradually from 2024 to 2025. The main government area will be completed this year and inaugurated at the Indonesian Independence Day ceremony on 17 August 2024.


Nusantara aims to harness several elements including digitalisation, sustainability, resilience, and inclusion.  GovInsider interviews Tonny Setiono, Director of Digital Ecosystem at the Deputy of Green and Digital Transformation, Nusantara Capital City Authority, on the steps the agency is taking to realise a technology-enabled smart city. 

What is your vision of digital transformation in the Nusantara smart city? 

Tonny Setiono, Director of Digital Ecosystem, Nusantara Capital Authority, said that Nusantara will be a city of the future where technology, people and the environment support each other. Image: Personal documentation

The Nusantara Smart City Blueprint document not only contains plans for a city's physical development but also creates a future where technology, people and the environment support each other and make the Nusantara a comfortable and attractive place to live. It also requires the city development process to be integrated, open, inclusive, and sustainable. 

The blueprint covers several aspects:  

1) smart industry and human resources that targets economic development based on technology and innovation;  

2) smart governance that promotes digitalisation in governance to increase productivity and facilitate investment;  

3) smart living, which aims to improve quality of life through a safe and healthy environment;  

4) smart transportation and mobility for accessibility and efficiency;  

5) smart built infrastructure and environment by utilising technology for citizen convenience;  

and  

6) smart natural resources and energy that focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources and energy. 


What types of digital infrastructure will be installed at Nusantara?  

High-speed telecommunication networks will be installed in the Nusantara, including optical cable fixed networks and wireless networks to support reliable data transmission. 5G network technology will also support fast connectivity between various smart city devices and systems. 


Additionally, the data centre infrastructure will serve as a place for data processing and storage and will support various public services. Currently, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is building the largest National Data Centre in the Nusantara with a storage capacity of 160 petabytes to support the digital needs of smart cities such as big data technology, Internet of Things (IoT) to various AI processing. 

What about the utilisation of the internet of things (IoT) and AI in Nusantara? 

IoT devices and AI will play a key role in developing Nusantara as a smart city that supports productivity. The latest technologies will ease the data collection process and support us in making data-driven decisions. 


For example, Nusantara Capital Authority will provide autonomous buses that will operate at certain points, with a trial in the Government Core Area. Supported by a 5G network, the driverless bus will move automatically to pick up passengers after reading the bus stop occupancy data. 


IoT and AI technologies will be used to assist activities in the Nusantara smart city. Image: Nusantara Capital Authority 

AI can optimise the arrangement so that passengers do not have to wait too long for the bus to arrive and passengers get better certainty and time efficiency. Data on the number of passengers and bus stop occupancy collected over a period will be processed through big data analysis to improve the system. 


Currently, the IKN Authority is also setting up an Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC). The Control Centre will install AI-powered sensors and surveillance cameras to facilitate the monitoring of urban activities. 


The system incorporates CCTV video systems for security monitoring and traffic monitoring systems. With this system, emergency services and public complaints are responded to more quickly by officers. In addition, ICCC also plays a role in disaster mitigation and response, utilising data analysis to predict and respond to natural disasters. 

What are the plans for digital government in Nusantara? 

Nusantara will be a city where digital solutions bring better services to citizens. Interactions between the government and citizens will be optimised through applications that we will develop, such as smart city apps, one stop public service, and help desk system. The smart city app is planned to integrate multi-sector public services such as health, education, security, and transport. 


Citizens can also be actively involved in the planning and development process and submit suggestions and complaints in the Nusantara area through the application. Business players will also be facilitated with a single licensing application to make it easier for them to access licences according to applicable regulations.  

What are the challenges in developing the digital ecosystem in Nusantara and how can they be overcome? 

The main challenge in developing the digital ecosystem in Nusantara is the dependency on basic infrastructure. The construction of the multi-utility tunnel (MUT), which contains optical cables, takes time before it can be operated properly. Therefore, acceleration efforts need to be carried out and coordinated by various parties and project stakeholders.


The next challenge is policy. The IKN Authority through the Deputy for Green and Digital Transformation should be able to issue policies that support the security, convenience, and safety of various technologies to be applied. Cross-agency coordination and collaboration is key to avoiding redundancies and differences in implementation. 



 

This article was originally published in Bahasa Indonesia.