Among the best: Moscow recognised as one of the world’s “smartest” cities

Among the best: Moscow recognised as one of the world’s “smartest” cities
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
Experts have praised Moscow’s experience in introducing information technology in healthcare, public transport and other areas.

Foreign economists have included Moscow on the list of smart megalopolises using information technology to improve peoples’ lives. Moscow has become one of the 50 cities participating in Smart Cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future, research carried out by the McKinsey Global Institute.

Among the leaders

The researches focused on how digital technology is used to solve everyday life tasks and assessed the prospects for the near term. They chose three indicators to analyse: the technology base, Smart City solution applications and public usage. Each city received points in every category.

The researchers did not want to list the rankings, but the results show that Moscow was ranked high in two categories of the three.

Devices and technology

The researches wanted to see how digital solutions were injected into the cities’ environment to make them more convenient.

The first category was the most developed technology base. Singapore is the world’s leader (25 points out of 37). Moscow was 16.3, while Berlin and Paris only 15.9 and 15.5 respectively.

Today the capital is actively developing the infrastructure to work with large data volumes. For example, this summer several projects using 5G mobile technology will be launched in test mode. If the technology succeeds it will be implemented everywhere.

Smart solutions

Moscow ranked high among European cities in the second category, overall applications (30.5 points out of 55), with only London ranking higher (34.5 points). Moscow is eighth in this global ranking.

According to McKinsey data, most of the Smart City solutions are found in healthcare. For example, in 2011 Moscow launched the Unified Medical Information Analysis System (UMIAS) that connects polyclinics and medical centres and coordinates patient treatment. It can be used to locate the nearest clinic or to make an appointment online. UMIAS has decreased the lines at clinics be 2.5 times since it was introduced.

Healthcare is followed by the Economic Development and Housing/Engagement and Community category. For example, the Our City website is used for resident feedback for the city government and can influence the city’s life: residents can comment and request services on officials and housing management work. The Active Citizen system, which now uses blockchain technology, helps making decisions related to improvement and other current issues.

User-friendly

Moscow was ranked highest among European cities (16.8 points out of 30) in the third category: public awareness and usage, followed by Paris (16.6) and Vienna (15.7). Moscow is 18th on the global list.

Moscow provides one of the highest accessibility levels for mobile internet, which costs less than in New York City, Singapore or Dubai.

The city Wi-Fi network can also be used to stay connected. It can be accessed from the Moscow Metro, surface transport, several streets within the Garden Ring as well as from parks, student residences and cultural centres. Over 2,200 Wi-Fi hotspots have been installed in Moscow this year, including 118 streets within the Third Ring Road and eight parks in addition to 88 cultural centres, 84 libraries and all 13 Moskino cinema halls.