Qlue connects people to bureaucrats for a better Jakarta

  • Social media not just for people ranting, but actual action from city officials
  • Looking to expand service to private sector, seeking pacts with other startups
Qlue connects people to bureaucrats for a better Jakarta

 
GARBAGE piling up, potholes, floods, and traffic jams are a common sight in some parts of Jakarta, and city-dwellers tend to vent their frustrations on social media these days.
 
According to Emarketer, 77.4% of Internet users in Indonesia visited a social network at least once a month in 2015, giving the republic the highest penetration rate in South-East Asia. That’s 72.3 million people using social networks monthly, a number set to rise to 109.8 million, or 82.2% of Internet users, by 2018.
 
Recognising the democratising effects of social media, PT Terralogiq has developed its Qlue public service platform – not just to serve the people, but as a wake-up call for the bureaucrats in Jakarta, declares founder and chief executive officer Rama Raditya.
 
Qlue is about making it easy for citizens to post about any problem they may encounter in their daily lives in the city, whether it is potholes, traffic jams or faulty traffic lights, right up to crimes of violence, including terrorist attacks.
 
“Jakarta has a lot of problems and we usually complain on social media about everything,” he tells Digital News Asia (DNA) in a recent interview in the city.
 
The platform connects people directly to bureaucrats to highlight the problem, instead of them just venting their frustrations on social media, he adds.
 
Terralogiq was founded in March 2013, and is now Google’s sole geospatial partner in Indonesia. It has developed other apps, such as Ramai (Retail Analytic Mapping & Intelligence), Roam (Remote Operations Analysis & Monitoring), and Lapis (Lost Asset Prevention Inquiry System).
 
Qlue, an abbreviation of ‘keluhan’ which means ‘complaint’ in Bahasa Indonesia, was launched in December 2014, as a social media-fuelled city surveillance technology. Terralogiq spent US$38,500 (Rp500 million) to develop it.
 
The app is free and available for the Android and iOS platforms. Consumers can use it to take pictures and submit a report of an issue to city officials. Colour codes – red, yellow, and green – keep them updated on the status of their report, and whether it has been followed up on.
 
Meanwhile, officials use the app – also at no charge – to receive these reports, and can monitor their status through a ‘dashboard’ dubbed Crop (Cepat Respons Opini Publik, or ‘public opinion quick response’ in Bahasa).
 

Qlue connects people to bureaucrats for a better Jakarta

 
Terralogiq is now making money off advertising, and will only consider a direct revenue generation model in about two to three years, according to Rama (pic above).
 
“Rather than generate revenue from users, we are more focused on reaching our target of three million users by the end of 2016,” he says.
 
“To reach that target, we are in discussions with some partners and telcos on possible collaboration,” he adds.
 
The idea of using social media to highlight problems has not only caught on with consumers living in Jakarta, but also from the highest echelons of the city’s bureaucracy.
 
“We developed the app and dashboard to monitor local government performance. We presented our programme to Jakarta Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama when we met him in January 2014, and he was keen to use it to help solve the city’s problems,” says Rama.
 
Rank-and-file resistance
 

Qlue connects people to bureaucrats for a better Jakarta

In May 2014, Terralogiq signed a 10-year agreement with the Jakarta Administration, although Rama admits that some district heads are still reluctant or even rejecting Qlue.
 
“For sure, the Governor will fire some district heads – Ahok has reminded them that this service aims to keep public servants on their toes,” he says.
 
As at the end of 2015, only about 150 of Jakarta’s 267 subdistricts were on Qlue, but Terralogiq is confident that consumers will drive adoption. It already has 350,000 users, with 304,500 of them actively sending reports, according to Rama.
 
Qlue receives at least 5,000 reports a day from people living in Jakarta, he claims, with at least 91% of these reports being followed through by city officials.
 
“The relevant institutions are getting the point that they need to respond quickly,” he quips.
 
Qlue is also trying to hit other cities, and signed an agreement with the city of Bekasi in February.
 
“There are many other local governments which have expressed their interest in using our service,” says Rama.
 
There is certainly an interest on the part of citizens – according to Rama, users in cities where Qlue is not even present are also sending their complaints through the platform.
 
Some of the users are daily commuters to Jakarta, but others are just frustrated with issues in their own cities.
 
Qlue does cater to such complaints. “Although the reports may not be followed up on by the local government where they live, they can keep posting their complaints,” he says.
 
Expanding the Qlue ecosystem
 
Qlue connects people to bureaucrats for a better JakartaTerralogiq has developed other Qlue apps as part of its smart city drive: There is Qlue Transit that looks into public transport; Qlue Safe to ensure your loved ones are safe; and even a city sim game called Qlue Play.
 
Qlue is not just meant for government institutions, and the company is looking to collaborate with others to provide similar services to the private sector, according to Rama.
 
“The reports are not only useful for local governments, but also for entrepreneurs such as property developers who need to know the potential market for their projects,” he says, arguing that Qlue data can be very helpful as feedback and a tool to interact with people or prospective buyers.
 
“We want to provide an end-to-end solution for private institutions – we are not monetising our data yet, but if they interested, they can just download and use Qlue,” he adds.
 
Currently, the startup has 30 people on its team, and is looking to hire more to pursue these opportunities, he adds.
 
Revenue generation is not the priority yet, with Terralogiq’s immediate eye on expansion and service availability, but it is looking at working with other startups, especially those with Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
 
This might take the form of partnerships, or even investments and downright acquisitions, Rama declares.
 
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