Smart City and ICT Policy in Moscow

Dmitriy Karandin talks to Teletimes International about Moscow IT’s Smart City initiatives and the ICT policy in detail
Interview: Khalid Athar


Khalid Athar: Can you brief us on the Moscow’s IT policy and Smart City strategy? How does the environment support new technologies and startups?

Dmitriy Karandin: In 2011 we developed a strategy for Moscow smart-city development called Information City which has been extended until the end of 2018. With a US$600 million annual budget, we have invested in ICT infrastructure development and M2M projects, e-healthcare and e-education, public services delivery, citizen engagement and much more. All solutions are included in the smart city concept and we are more than sure that our practice will become a vital asset for other cities in Russia which will step on the path of smart city development.

The remarkable expansion of ICT-related markets and the emergence of new areas of ICT usage pose unprecedented challenges and bring forth new public policy objectives, as reflected in the ‘Information Society Development Strategy in the Russian Federation’, the State Program ‘Information Society 2011–2020’, and in strategies for development of information technology (IT) in the Russian Federation for 2014–2020 and up to 2025.

Smart City Lab, created in August 2016, is intended to search for innovations and apply new disruptive technology that will make our city better.

One of the Moscow smart city strategy’s main directions is to provide a friendly environment for business development. There are around 30 technology parks and technopolises in Moscow which support more than 1,300 high-tech companies. We provide grants and subsidies for innovative small and medium enterprises to support them.

KA: It is quite interesting and applaudable – what you are doing with the e-learning initiatives with 900,000 pupils and 65,000 teachers connected through a Cloud-based platform. Can you tell us about this program in detail?

DK: Thank you. Our project is one of the biggest e-learning projects in the world with investments of around 300 million US dollars. The online school connects hundreds of thousands of pupils with teachers, increasing literacy across all segments and reducing cost from a school administration point of view. The details of the project are as follows:

Moscow online school – a cloud-based educational platform:

  • Connecting 900 000 pupils, 65 000 teachers and 773 schools it is the largest e-learning project worldwide;
  • Educational content library contains 44,000 lesson scenarios and 542,000 content units – textbooks, assignments, tests, presentations, videos;
  • Moscow investments in e-learning – $300 mln investments in school infrastructure in 2017-2018 (Wi-Fi access in every classroom, 81 inch wide interactive panels instead of whiteboards and 100 Mbps broadband channels in all schools);

The results – in less than one year after the implementation of the system, academic progress grew by 15%, while the implementation of Smart School administration has resulted in 88% cost savings.


– All schools will be provided with tablets for pupils and teachers, interactive whiteboards, digital checkpoint systems

– 100% of schoolbooks and additional materials will be transferred to digital sources

– Further implementation of VR and AR technologies in schools

KA: Please tell us about the “Active Citizen” and “My-Street” initiatives. What are the achievements of these projects and what is your vision for the future with these initiatives?

DK: The Active Citizen is a digital platform with a website and an app for voting on city development matters. This is where people vote on issues of city development, such as public transport routes, speed limits, new parks, etc. It currently has 1,9 mln+ users with 2600+ votings held and 1500+ decisions implemented.

We collect data from different sensors, meters and cameras etc. to see the situation in the city and combine that with the data we can receive directly from the citizens to better understand which areas need more attention such as renovation etc. and then take actions accordingly.

My Street is the biggest urban redevelopment project in the world with a $1.6 billion investment. Through My Street,

216,3 km of streets have been redeveloped within less than 3 years

234 renovated streets and 2417 historical buildings

12,788 planted trees

0,5 million citizens expressed their opinion on redevelopment through e-voting

75% of Moscow citizens are completely satisfied with the redevelopment results

This project has been a huge success and has visible positive results. In fact, the number of pedestrians on redeveloped streets increased by 70% while 30% of Muscovites started walking more in the recent 2 years.

Other results include:

Sidewalks were made wider by 50–200%

400 + ground level pedestrian crossings were created

600 km of air cables were moved underground

Number of ground transport passengers in the city center increased by 50%

Citywide bicycle rental, 20 km of cycling lanes

17 new routes— public transport in the areas where it was not available before

400 modern bus stops with free WI-FI and USB charging stations

151 new passenger shelters with easy directions, displays, free Wi-Fi and ticket vending machines

Average speed in the city center increased by 7%

Total amount of traffic accidents decreased by 37%

Our key targets with the project are to improve the quality of life in the city by creating comfort and safety for the citizens, reducing traffic congestion, creating more green areas, building smart infrastructure and revitalizing public transport.


KA: You have been internationally recognized for deploying an excellent city surveillance system with thousands of CCTV cameras. Can you tell us about this system, its impact on the city’s security and about the system’s own security?

DK: The city video surveillance system comprises a network of video cameras and the Single Data Storage and Processing Centre. Around 160,000 cameras cover the transportation system, cultural, sporting and social facilities.

Moscow video surveillance system has contributed significantly in increasing the city’s security which is why today, Moscow’s security system is one of the most advanced in the world. According to a survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan, Moscow is among the Top 10 cities in the world with the best ICT urban security technology.

This system is significantly helping us in city management and reducing crime. Today, 70% of police investigations are conducted using the system and up to 50,000 penalties are made out automatically every day. This is all enabled through 24/7 monitoring of the situation in the city

We have a very well established cyber-security system that covers all the counters of the Moscow IT systems. I do believe that cyber-security is extremely important, with regards to CCTV cameras and also extending beyond that to all the government services as any one compromised part of the system can weaken all other parts.

With regards to cameras specifically, our project is handled by the telecom operators in the country with equally divided responsibilities. The operators are responsible for the security of the system and are doing a good job in keeping the system very safe.

KA: Would you like to tell us about some of Moscow Smart City Lab’s Future-Tech based initiatives and programs such as AR/VR?

DK: We are successfully employing IoT, big data, machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality and other advanced technologies in our education, healthcare, transportation, and safety projects; and Smart City Lab acts as a center that synchronizes and coordinates all technology activities and ensures synergy.

We provide over 200 public services online or via mobile apps – from arranging an appointment with a doctor to paying for the parking, everything is available via one click at portal. In 2016 Moscow became a finalist of World Smart City Awards for its “city as a service platform” – the system of public services management and delivery.

Our next aim is pre-delivery of public services, meaning that a citizen doesn’t need to apply for a service, as the state acts proactively. E.g. when a child turns 7 years old, his/her parents are automatically informed by the state authorities about 3 possible school options located in their neighborhood. Another example is when citizens get reminders to change passports when they turn 20 or 45 years old. We are using big data to make this level of service possible.