Can Big Data Transform Indonesia’s Growth?

Dattabot and GE Digital Work to Secure the Future of Agriculture in Indonesia
July 6, 2017
HARA in Action: Strengthening the Agriculture Sector of Tulang Bawang Barat
August 23, 2017

Disclaimer: This post is an article originally written for Forbes Indonesia magazine by Will Ongkowidjaja. Will is a Co Founder and Managing Partner at Alpha JWC Ventures – an Institutional and Independent Venture Capital which is also one of Dattabot’s investor.


IN APRIL, Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive and chairman of General Electric, one of the largest companies in the world, was in Jakarta. There, he signed a partnership with Dattabot, Indonesia’s leading big-data analytics company, making Dattabot the first startup in theworld to partner with General Electric’s IT division GE Digital. As part of this partnership, Dattabot will work with GE Digital to develop analytics solutions for the industrial Internet revolution. As an Indonesian, I am proud to have a national technology company operating at a global level.

Dattabot’s partnership with GE Digital is an illustration of how big data can apply artificial intelligence to transform the industrial sector in Indonesia. Using big data, Dattabot helps Indonesian industrial companies to increase effectiveness by collecting, reading and interpreting data from smart sensors, thus creating the end-to-end machine-to-machine connectivity, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, IoT allows us to monitor and fine-tune the operation of heavy equipment in a mining site to anticipate wear and avoid downtime, thereby improving performance.

For a country such as Indonesia with abundant natural resources, IoT is a key catalyst that can help our natural resources sector to increase its productivity whilst reducing costs. Agriculture is another sector in Indonesia that can be transformed significantly by big data. Dattabot is partnering with Planet, a San Francisco-based satellite earth imaging and analytics company that acquired Google’s satellite imaging division in early 2017, to help agribusinesses in Indonesia boost productivity with effective and efficient crop input. Using online and offline data collected from satellite imaging, soil sensors and mobile phones, Dattabot provides farmers and agricultural companies with information on farming field potential, optimal cultivation methods, and potential pests and diseases.

As agriculture provides jobs to over 40% of the country’s labor force and contributes about 14% to the GDP, big data can have a tremendous impact in the country. Given how fast the world is changing today, we need to continuously think of how Indonesia can develop a competitive advantage. The Internet revolution is no longer about e-commerce or marketplaces. E-commerce and marketplace companies such as Sale Stock and Amazon have long utilized big data to better understand their customers, and provide value-add solutions by using artificial intelligence-based recommendation engines and chatbots to handle end-to-end sales. The new wave of technology innovation is already here, and it is beginning to unlock value in the real sector.

The two examples above from the mining and agriculture sector show that this change is happening not just in Silicon Valley, but also in Indonesia, and we need to embrace this innovation. Indonesian companies need to start collecting data from their operations, and understanding and analyzing it to create actionable insights. With the right mindset, change can be an opportunity, and big data can be a key driver to transform our national companies.

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