Building Smart Cities Through the Eyes of Citizens
BUILDING SMART CITIES THROUGH THE
EYES OF CITIZENS AND AVOIDING CITIZEN
Dr. Mazlan Abbas
CEO - REDtone IOT, MALAYSIA
• We’ve heard a lot about the promise of Smart Cities, but where are
we now and what is holding us back?
• Highlighting the need for truly customer-centric Smart City services
• A look at REDtone IOT’s strategy and journey so far
CITYBETTER CITY • BETTER WORLD
Build cities through the eyes of the CITIZENS
VISION OF THE CITY OF THE FUTURE
Open source and
Sensing the city Provide tools for
the citizens to
workings of the
Technology may help mitigate the “black hole” problem.
CAPACITY TO HEAR AND RESPOND
(web portals, emails,
phone calls etc)and
method unable to
CITIZENS CITY AUTHORITIES
“Black hole” issue
We Build Cities Based on Citizen-Centric Approach
Get citizens input via their
Citizens have a
better quality of life
Authorities decide and
justify their next plan
Citizens will see how
their cities perform
REDtone IOT APPROACH
BUILDING THE NEXT SMART CITY SOLUTIONS
Identify locations of issues
and City Authorities respond
TIP (1) – BUY-IN FROM BOTH SEGMENTS
• It requires the active participation of both
parties. It’s like “chicken or egg” question.
Who starts first?
• Residents felt that their complaints would go
down the deaf ears of the local councils –
just like going down the black hole.
• The local authorities that are sensitive to the
citizens feel that the citizens need to channel
their grouses into a proper channel rather
than letting their anger on social media and
become terribly viral.
TIP (2) – PUBLICITY
• If you ask 100 or 1000 people on the streets
whether they have heard such application.
We can almost guarantee you that none
have heard that.
• It’s easier to get a ridiculous publicity
message across the WhatsApp rather than
something which is more useful
• ”Engagement fatigue”
– Staff intensive
– Time consuming
– Little return of Municipal investment
TIP (3) – FINDING THE RIGHT CONCERNED
• Who are these people? What type of individuals
that are concerned about the cleanliness or safety
of the surrounding.
• The NATO and the SELFIES – the non-concerned
TIP (4) – GAMIFICATION IF NECESSARY
• People wants an incentive to participate in
crowdsourcing initiative. Either get
themselves paid in monetary or prizes.
• The other way is to gamify the app in such a
way that gives some form of status within the
community app. Give them points and
elevate them into a different status or higher
rank on the leadership board.
• Launch contest with prizes for being the most
TIP (5) – PRESSURE GROUPS
• No administrators of the cities would love to
receive complaints every day. Nobody likes
to handle hundreds or thousands of
complaints each day throughout the whole
year. But if they did not manage and close
the complaints, how could they solve all the
problems which are already in the queue?
• Why need to be in a reactive mode when
local councils can be proactive?
• Sometimes, city authorities need a little push
or “pressure” from the people.
TIP (6) – SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
• The most popular official channels by
local councils are either through
phone, fax, web portal or email. But
technology has rapidly changed the
landscape of communications with
the advent of smartphones, mobile
Internet, and Social Media.
• Allow the citizens to communicate on
their favorite social media channels.
“One App to Bind
TIP (7) – IN-HOUSE VS OUTSOURCE
• It’s NOT only the front-end but also the
• Thus, a lot of cities who thought that they
could just develop the mobile app (i.e. the
front-end) in-house did not realize what they
are going to end up.
• Nearly all local council IT departments are
not set up as a product development house.
The budget given to them are only enough
to operate, manage and maintain the IT
system but not to become innovative and
develop their application.
TIP (8) – PRODUCT ROADMAP
• Handling a continuous development and
future enhancement of the backend system
requires a sustainable IT support resources.
• New technology emerges and thus it must
quickly be adapted with the current process
• Developing and supporting this in-house will
probably give the IT department of the local
council a horrible nightmare that they will
TIP (9) – SMART CITY VISION
• Citizen engagement is only one of the single
component in a Smart City. They are many
applications which require integration to a
smart city platform; thus, it cannot be
developed in silo manner.
• Remember that IOT also requires input from
physical sensors (other than the sensors from
• A real Smart City need an integrated
platform that collects and aggregates
various sources of data (structured or
unstructured) to discover the insights of the
city and make cities a better and sustainable
place to live.
TIP (10) – IT’S NOT AN IT JOB!
• Of course, any IT company can develop the
• However, IOT requires different skills that
encompass embedded programming,
understanding different communications
protocols, cloud services, and big data
Smart Parking Smart Waste
Open Data Parking Garbage
A city isn't smart because it uses
technology. A city is smart because it uses
technology to make its citizens' lives better.