My Urban Challenge: Smart City Officer, Mandalay

By Apala Bhattacharya

Using technology to reduce water leaks.

Myanmar's capital has readily adopted technology across various sectors to handle a wide range of urban challenges. IoT sensors help humans keep track of water issues; drones help map the city to plan drainage systems; and traffic congestion is monitored and planned through automated control centres.

“The big challenge we have is, the infrastructure is not ready,” notes Chief Smart City Officer Ye Myat Thu. Ye points out that because Mandalay usually has very old systems, they often leap frog across systems to adopt the most up-to-date ones. Even when infrastructure is not ready, new technology can be brought in to rehaul the system.

But their problem doesn’t end there - “another thing is that we have no experienced people,” he highlights. “The technology we can buy, it’s very easy, like you buy the iPhone, it’s very easy,” he laughs. But putting this technology under effective use is dependent on the people, he continues.
Below, we share other key challenges, and potential solutions.