Moscow ranked as one of the world’s smartest cities

Moscow ranked as one of the world’s smartest cities
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
The city is working to improve the quality of online services and introduce new urban management technologies.

The ICT sector continued to develop rapidly in Moscow last year. The information and communication technologies market has increased 6.5 percent.

“Moscow continues to develop information technologies and is a fixture on the ratings of the world’s smartest cities. The city has been promoting healthcare IT. The Unified Medical Information Analysis System (UMIAS) is widely used to make doctor’s appointments online and for online prescriptions and medical case histories.

Online services in education include the monitoring of school entry/exit, meals and record and mark books. We are now working on a new-generation IT system for schools. The best information solutions have been applied to the public transit system, parking and transport control,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at a Moscow Government Presidium meeting.

Information technology has helped improve the system of state services, which Muscovites can receive online now. But the city is planning many more IT services, which is why the Information City programme that provides for the development of ICT for the social sphere and urban economy management and measures to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the Moscow government.

“In 2016, we focused on creating and launching new IT development systems,” said Artyom Yermolayev, Head of the Information Technology Department.

Information Technology Department priorities include:

— enhancing the quality of online services (fault tolerance, convenience, integration);

— creating an integrated space;

— increasing service accessibility in key areas, introducing big data urban management technologies;

— designing and preparing the IT infrastructure for new services this year for housing and utilities, education and healthcare.

Some 350 projects were implemented last year.

According to respected consulting agencies, in 2016 Moscow held leading positions in the world smart cities rankings in education, healthcare and interaction between city authorities and residents.

Sergei Sobyanin proposed holding a smart city conference in Moscow and awarding a special prize: “Every city initiated rating in various spheres. Why couldn’t Moscow initiate a ranking of global cities?”

Internet and mobile communication

According to telecom news provider Telecom Daily, the average mobile internet download speed grew 35 to 40 percent in Moscow last year. The average 3G speed is 12 Mbps (megabits per second), and the average for 4G network is 18 Mbps. Mobile communication costs have decreased by 7 percent, and mobile internet costs eight times less in Moscow than in New York. Moscow is also second in the world for landline telephone network accessibility.

“We have provided conditions for basic mobile communications stations at city facilities, which has improved the quality of communication several-fold and increased the market’s competitiveness. As a result, we have inexpensive and high quality communications, unlike in many other cities,” Artyom Yermolayev said.

According to statistics, 25 percent of Moscow residents use WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram or other messenger services. About 8 percent of all shopping in Moscow is done online.

Online services

Moscow is Russia’s leader in online state services. Last year, the volume of online services provided to the public exceeded 196 million, which is some 50 percent more than in 2015.

The number of users registered on the government services portal is 5.8 million, more than the number of online shoppers (4.7 million).

At this point, 55 services are only available online via the government services portal or mobile apps. These include registering for governmental benefits for childbirth. In other words, people don’t need to line up for an appointment with government officials to receive many services.

The authorities’ interaction with residents is becoming increasingly personal. Last year, the Mosrobot personal notifications service included 3 million Muscovites in the targeted dispatch. Of these, 42 percent opened the mail; the world’s average email open rate is 30 percent.

Last year, the city’s portal was prepared for integration with the portal of government services The integration was completed in early 2017, and now is a comprehensive and convenient tool for information about life in Moscow and city services.

In 2016, the group of portals received 367 million visits, or more than a million per day, which is 65 million more than in 2015.


The transition to online, reduced price prescriptions was almost completed in 2016 (97 percent). The project of online medical records was also moving forward. At this point, 3 million medical records are available online, including 2.6 million (87 percent) in 2016.

The online registry was used to make 101 million doctor’s appointments, which is 11.5 percent more than in 2015. According to the Unified Medical Information Analysis System (UMIAS), 88 percent of patients had GP appointments the same day they applied for them or the next day (85 percent for paediatricians).

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has noted that the introduction of the UMIAS and online medical records under the Information City programme is positive evidence of improvement in the Moscow healthcare system.


IT infrastructure was created for the Moscow Online School project in 2016 and the project was prepared to open in 2017.

At the same time, traditional online services were improved. These include the online record and mark books, which some 1.5 million people use in Moscow. The school Entry and Meals online system has been installed at 3,568 schools (94 percent of schools and 70 percent of preschools). The entry/exit and meal cards are available to 861,000 students, 150,000 school personnel and over 500,000 parents and other relatives.

To promote the use of new technology, 1,700 events, including visits to IT companies, games, quests and exhibits, have been held for students and teachers.

Housing and utilities

The unified dispatch centre opened in 2016 for reporting housing and utility problems. So far, only the residents of the Southwestern, Southeastern, Central and Northern administrative areas can call the centre at 8 (495) 539 5353. Over the past year, the centre has received 2 million complaints.

The first stage of the comprehensive system of monitoring utility equipment via GLONASS has been completed. As many as 9,600 buildings, including all buildings of government financed organisations, have been connected to the automated energy monitoring system. Working online, the system records energy consumption, which encourages energy efficiency and results in the reduction of utility bills.

The city also launched the regional major repairs portal, which provides information about the planned repairs of utility systems, façades, roofs, elevators and other communal property. This online service is one of the most popular on the portal.

Wi-Fi network

The city’s wireless Wi-Fi network was further expanded last year. Free Wi-Fi is available on the metro and on surface transport, on some streets within the Garden Ring, as well as in many parks and student dormitories.

Artyom Yermolayev pointed out that Moscow has the world’s largest free Wi-Fi coverage area. Soon, people in Moscow will be able to connect to free Wi-Fi in public transit vehicles and at stops, in parks, public spaces and social facilities.

Budget management and investment

Last year, 6,200 real estate properties were sold via the city investment portal The selling prices were 54 percent higher, on average, than the list prices.

The Unified Computer Information System of Tenders (UCIST) includes information on 103,900 tenders. The number of companies registered on the supplier portal has increased almost 50 percent to 57,600.

The city has launched a computer system to coordinate the tax collection activities of various government agencies, for certain types of taxes (AIS OPN). It primarily provides efficient monitoring of timely and full property tax collection.

International and Russian recognition of Moscow’s achievements

Moscow holds leading positions in many international and Russian smart city rankings and surveys, including:

— second (after New York) by volume, opportunity and diversity of information systems in city management (PricewaterhouseCoopers);

— first in share of smart technologies implemented in healthcare (Smart Cities by KPMG);

— third in smart technologies used for interaction between city authorities and residents (KPMG);

— second in affordability of communications (McKinsey);

— first in the level of information society development in Russia (the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media).

Moscow is also a top 10 city in fixed-line internet access speed, (35 Mb per second) according to McKinsey.

Many city projects have made it to the finals or won international competitions and awards. The Wi-Fi network within the Garden Ring has been recognised as the best infrastructure project by the Global CIO community of IT directors of Russia. The Discover Moscow project has been added to the iF Design Awards catalogue of best designs. The Moscow Mayor’s website won the Runet prize in the State and Society category. Moscow also made it to the finals of the prestigious World Smart City Awards international competition.

Goals for 2017

The Moscow Online School platform is to be implemented at 30 percent of schools and the Entry and Meals parent monitoring project is to be completed in 2017.

The unified complaint dispatch centre and the automated energy monitoring system in the housing and utilities sector will be expanded.

The introduction of online medical case histories will be completed, the centralised laboratory service will be promoted, and the installation of computer equipment at hospitals will continue.

The online services system will gradually transition to customised smart services, which will be more convenient and available whenever necessary. Other plans include government services access via mobile phones, introducing chat boxes and messengers and connecting services to social accounts.

“We’ll analyse Muscovites requirements to determine their preferences, including online services. Depending on this, we’ll complement internet access with additional services to simplify the public’s communication with the authorities, including the submission of complaints and requests,” Artyom Yermolayev said.

Plans for communications also include preparations for large international events, such as the Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, eliminating dead zones where mobile phone service is not available, and expanding the Wi-Fi network.