At Smart City InFocus in Yinchuan, China recently, Eldar Tuzmukhametov, Head of Smart City Lab, Moscow City Government, gave an inspirational presentation on what has been and can be achieved through smart city initiatives.
He explained that Moscow’s smart city initiative has three primary aims:
- quality of life through providing a better environment for citizens and businesses;
- efficient government through data-driven decisions and strategy; and
- solid infrastructure to provide high capacity to meet the needs of people and machines.
The scope of the initiative is impressive. It involves more than 2,000 public institutions, including kindergartens and schools, clinics and hospitals, city administration departments, providers of municipal services, traffic police offices, rescue services and public transport. These institutions collectively serve 12.5 million citizens.
In 2011, the city created a cross-functional structure to oversee technology development and procurement for the whole metropolis to benefit from economies of scale, better planning and interoperability. The city’s IT budget is $600 million plus $450 million investment from private companies.
Moscow saw that ‘e-readiness’ is critical to achieving its smart city aims. By having an e-ready city, there have been big improvements and savings in many areas.
The flow of e-documents – switching to from paper to electronic or e-documents, and streamlining how they flow between the necessary parties and stages means documents are better coordinated and approved faster. It has also sped up decision making, reduced labor costs and the documents are safely stored. By making the 2,000 public institutions e-ready, the city has saved 700 million Rubles ($12.15 million) on processing 14 million documents a year.
Cloud accounting – by linking together 1,400 systems, the city now has a unified accounting system that enables one-click reporting, real-time billing and reporting and big data analytics. It provides transparency for the supervisory authorities and saved 14 million Rubles in 2015.
Procurement – in 2016 Moscow spent 9.5 billion Rubles, but saved 0.75 billion through its new government procurement system. It provides all suppliers with equal access to the city’s requests for tender, and has driven prices down through ‘reverse’ auctions (suppliers undercutting each other’s prices to win contracts). There are built-in barriers to stop corruption and overall transparency. In total, 176,000 suppliers registered on the procurement portal to access the 61,000 tenders the city published there in 2016.
Housing and public utilities – the aim here is to improve the use of resources. There are now 3,500 smart metering systems in 3,500 governmental institutions, which provides real-time resources accounting, water pressure and control of the grid’s integrity. There is also smart metering and control systems deployed across the city for 33,000 residential buildings. Again, this supports real-time resources accounting, water pressure and ensures the grid’s integrity.
The city has also deployed a unified vehicle tracking system for 126 municipalities which monitor routes, speed, fuel consumption and operational mode for 32,000 vehicles. These range from buses and public transport, to street sweepers, snowplows, waste trucks, water carts and tractors.
Safety – a city-wide, centralized system includes 140,000 CCTV cameras, which can be accessed by 3,500 police officers and 10,000 local officials. Some 70 percent of all police investigations involve CCTV footage and 45,000 traffic fines are issued automatically every day. The system also gives 24/7 monitoring and control of the city’s services and infrastructure. All of this consumes 15 petabytes of archive storage to cater to the 1.2 billion hours of video that is generated annually.
Emergency services – there is a single management system and personal tablets for each member of 750 fire crews. Reports of accidents via a helpline are fed straight into the system, along with video from the city’s CCTV cameras. The system provides the best routes for vehicles to get to the scene. Collectively these innovations have speeded up travel time to emergencies by 20 percent.
Public services – some 200 (around 75 percent of) public services are available online and via mobile through an online portal, 10 apps and 20 SMS and USSD-based services. They collectively deal with 650 million requests in a year.
E-healthcare – the unified health and resource monitoring system covers 9 million patients, 660 clinics and laboratories, and 21,000 physicians. It controls the flow of patients, handling 187 million e-appointments per year. The system relies on cloud-based e-health records to issue 25 million e-prescriptions annually and the accounting system is cloud-based.
Education – the city has a digital learning environment for teachers, parents and pupils. It connects 52,000 academics and 1.6 million pupils. It hosts school diaries, assignments, modular presentations for tutorials that can be customized, and alerts and notifications for parents. All pupils and teachers are equipped with personal laptops and tablets, and 30Mbps broadband is ubiquitous in 1,840 school buildings.
Citizen engagement – one aspect is to handle online complaints and feedback, to improve the quality of city infrastructure. The system has been used by 1 million citizens to fix 1.6 million problems. Citizens log complaints online. The complaint is automatically assigned to the relevant sub-contractor who fixes it. The system is connected to 120,000 buildings and other elements.
The city-wide voting app is also designed to improve citizens’ engagement with their city. There are weekly polls regarding development issues, which can concern specific districts and streets. The government should then act on the voters’ decisions. There are 1.5 million citizens registered to use the app, which has carried out been 2,000 polls so far.
TM Forum takeaway
Carl Piva, Head of the Smart City Forum, TM Forum, comments, “Moscow is an example of how digital in general, and automation in particular, have removed manual processes and streamlined operational aspects, as well as improving impartiality and equal treatment of residents.”