Today, as governments and city leaders look beyond their pandemic response to shape smart cities of the future, they are also grappling to meet the new citizen needs that have emerged in the last two years. Citizens not only expect to be delivered smarter and more innovative public health and safety services, they also want tangible efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to enable livable cities that are sustainable for the future.

As I meet with city and business leaders at the World Cities Summit 2022 this week to discuss what the future holds for cities in Southeast Asia and around the world, one thing at the top of our minds is how do we leverage the cloud to enable more resilient, livable and sustainable smart cities. Drawing upon Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) experience in using technology to address some of the most pressing problems across cities in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), we spoke about how city leaders can harness the breadth and depth of our capabilities and ecosystem to help build citizen-centric smart cities for the future.

Helping Cities in Southeast Asia Emerge Stronger from Crises

Prior to the pandemic, cities were the engines of growth for every country - they create jobs, alleviate poverty, and were key to sustainable development. However, the uncertainties that came with the pandemic threw the future of cities into question, and presented a clear and urgent need for AWS to help cities shore up their resilience to bounce back from crises to continue serving as key economic growth drivers for their respective countries.

When the pandemic began, the immediate priority for the Bali Provincial Government was to fight misinformation and hoaxes about the pandemic that plagued Bali’s social media, villages, and schools. The government needed to establish citizens’ trust again and find a solution to provide individuals access to credible information. To achieve this, the Communication, Information, and Statistics Agency of Bali (Diskominfos) set out to connect all of Bali’s villages with an app to provide accurate public health services updates. Powered by AWS, the Bali State Government’s Bali One Data app became a critical resource for the Balinese people to stay informed, connected, and safe during this difficult period. Diskominfos also developed a queue system for public health services, which allows the Balinese people to choose an appropriate clinic and book an appointment online before leaving home, for greatest efficiency and safety. Built on AWS, the queue system saw a 50-fold daily increase in users of the app during the pandemic, including government workers, administrative villages, other government agencies, health facilities, and the public.

Creating More Livable, Sustainable Cities for the Future

Beyond strengthening city resilience, city leaders are also exploring ways to build more livable and sustainable cities for the future. From looking at traffic analysis to reduce congestion, better management of landscaping and utilities, early warning systems for extreme weather events, and sustainability, AWS is working with government agencies to use technology to help address some of the most pressing problems across Southeast Asia.

This week, East Coast Town Council (ECTC), AWS, and Accenture announced a six-month pilot to deploy cloud-powered sustainability solutions to support Singapore’s move towards its net zero carbon emissions goal by 2040. The pilot will test-bed solutions that assist in municipal estate management and determine the key drivers of energy and water consumption within ECTC managed properties, to pave the way for ECTC to plan targeted solutions and strategies to reduce energy consumption within ECTC estates. By leveraging technology to drive environmental benefits, this marks a step in the right direction to create a more sustainable living environment for Singapore’s residents.

Accelerating Development and Deployment of Innovative Smart City Solutions

As city leaders continue to look at new ways to shape the cities they envision, AWS is expanding our capabilities to help them develop and deploy innovative solutions to support their smart city goals.

Later this year, we will launch the AWS Smart City Competency Program to deliver partner recommendations to our customers, to help shorten the path for them to build and deploy innovative smart city solutions. Through the AWS Smart City Competency Program, customers will be able to confidently and quickly identify highly specialised AWS Partners who can help accelerate and optimize city reforms, improve quality of life for citizens, and drive economic growth.

By empowering city leaders with the ability harness AWS cloud technology with confidence, this paves the way for them to transform and innovate faster than ever before, to realize their vision for creating more resilient, livable and sustainable cities of the future.