THE rapid urbanisation process coupled with improper city planning can cause problems like transport congestion, insufficient housing, environmental degradation as well as affecting the population’s well-being, health and employment.
For the uninitiated, urbanisation refers to the increasing amount of people that live in urban areas and is closely linked to modernisation, industrialisation and the sociological process of rationalisation.
Fortunately, the technology sector is already working on solutions for over-rapid growth problems in these areas.
SAP is one of those companies looking at innovative technologies that can be leveraged to make cities and municipalities more effective to improve the lives of people.
According to SAP Asia Pacific Japan vice-president for public services Vivek Puthucode, in much of Southeast Asia, the way the people interact with their cities and governments today looks very much as it did decades ago.
But this is changing, he said.
“With the rise of urbanisation, more cities are turning to technology and new administrative models like crowdsourcing to help solve big problems — from transportation to healthcare, innovation in technology and citizen engagement will transform our cities and improve lives,” he said.
Technology is an important part of the approach, but it also involves sharing successful experiences in civic administration and citizen engagement from SAP municipal customers worldwide.
Having worked with numerous city and urban governments across the world — from Brisbane to Boston, Berlin to Bogota, London to Singapore, Paris to Mumbai — SAP has developed a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with urban development, Vivek said.
Through its Urban Matters initiative, the company continuously looking for ways — from urban transportation management pilot in China, leveraging on mobile technology in the healthcare sector to the currently in-development CityApp to improve transportation, governance and to make the city safer and more secure.
According to Vivek, traffic is one of the top urban headaches.
SAP Labs China has partnered with the China’s Research Institute of Highway Ministry of Transport to start an urban transportation management pilot in the country recently.
The aim was to quickly understand traffic situations, accurately analyse passenger flow and taxi operations, and get real-time insights to make fact-based decisions in cities like Beijing, Kunming, Chongqing and Tianjin.
Platforms like this can drive greater and more convenient mobility for Malaysians, said Vivek Puthucode.
“More than convenience, the ability to avoid traffic can add hours to an average Malaysian city dweller’s day, thus bringing up the quality of life, a challenge that a number of urban Malaysians are grappling with,” he said.
At the fingertips
In the healthcare sector, SAP Electronic Medical Record allows healthcare professionals to easily and quickly access the electronic medical record of their patients directly from a tablet while on the move. Both the iOS and Android operating system are supported.
“The benefits include empowering patients to access their medical records, enabling doctors to view a patient’s medical history from anywhere, and enabling mobile nurses to service patients at home instead of more expensive hospitals,” Vivek said.
Moving on, the proliferation of connected mobile devices has revolutionised the way people interact. The CityApp concept represents the next generation of citizen engagement SAP aspires to provide.