Accenture studies Mauritius OS feasibility

  • August 30, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is working with professional services company Accenture to study the feasibility of a smart city operating system (OS) in Mauritius.

This is part of a plan to support a group of digital transformation (DX) projects in six countries across Asia and Africa.

As Japan’s central governmental organisation providing economic and social aid for developing nations, JICA is prioritising the application of digital technologies to address development challenges. In June last year, JICA established the Office for STI and DX in the Governance & Peacebuilding Department to leverage digital technologies in Japan’s international development operations to boost development impacts.

To further this movement, Accenture will support pilot programmes in six countries – Cambodia, India, Mauritius, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam – until February 2022. JICA intends then to extend and develop the pilots into model projects for digital transformation mainstreaming in international cooperation and development.

The JICA pilot projects are:

  • Cambodia – digital currency verification;
  • India – a public-private platform to improve loan efficiency;
  • Mauritius – feasibility study of smart city OS for disaster management;
  • Thailand – assessing the feasibility of using artificial intelligence for water pipeline management;
  • Uganda – using data integration and analysis for refugee support facilities; and
  • Vietnam – facilitating citizens’ behavioural change through predictive modelling of water quality.

For the Mauritius pilot, in particular, Accenture will conduct a feasibility study for a digital platform –the smart city OS – for disaster management in the country, which, being located in the south-western Indian Ocean, experiences frequent cyclones, torrential rains, storm surges, floods, landslides and other disasters, causing extensive human and economic damage.

The smart city OS pilot will test the effectiveness and explore further use of a centralised information management system, including weather forecasting and other disaster-related data. The team expects the integration of meteorological information, satellite photos, water quality, data on animal and plant habitats and coastal environments, and berthing will yield benefits beyond disaster prevention and mitigation, supporting tourism and the protection of coral reefs.

“The rapid development of digital technology is inspiring an increasing number of emerging countries to adopt new technologies and services to accelerate their development of industry and social services,” said Mikiya Saito, who leads the Office for STI and DX in the Governance & Peacebuilding Department at JICA. “JICA is committed to addressing a wide-range of development challenges around the world and, through this project, we hope to create a new model of cooperation leveraging digital technologies and data.”

Joichi Ebihara, who leads Accenture’s strategy and consulting group for the company’s healthcare and public service industry practices in Japan, added: “This collaboration with JICA on digital experience mainstreaming is a perfect fit for Accenture’s knowledge and experience in using digital technology to empower communities, public agencies, businesses. As a company dedicated to helping our clients deliver value to their clients and stakeholders, we are especially excited to help JICA prioritise digital capabilities when serving serious needs in other countries. This initiative marks an exciting new chapter in recognising the power of digital in economic development.”

The smart city OS is a digital platform that serves as the foundation for data collaboration and service provision in smart cities. Citizens can opt-in to provide their personal data to gain access to personalised services, and the government can use such data to shape policies and urban development.

Accenture’s smart city OS was first implemented in Aizu Wakamatsu city in the Fukushima prefecture in 2015 and has subsequently been introduced in several other municipalities. Among the wide range of smart city services on the OS is “My Hazard”, which guides citizens to appropriate evacuation routes based on their location data at the time of a disaster.

This project for JICA will be the first time the OS has being tested for implementation outside Japan.

Accenture is an Ireland-based professional services company with capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining experience and skills across more than 40 industries, it offers strategy and consulting, interactive, technology and operations services powered by a network of technology and intelligent operations centres. It has 569,000 employees serving clients in more than 120 countries.