Where are some of the recent developments regarding Moscow's smart city evolution?
EDUARD LYSENKO Moscow is Russia's center of finance, IT, smart city technology, and political power. All of this comes together to build new digitalization services. Moscow was the first city in Russia to implement this because it is one of the largest cities in the world in terms of population. There is a lot of communication between people for business development and this ecosystem needs to be managed. The only proper instrument to manage this is IT and digital instruments. In that sense, our focus is to digitalize services for people, small business, and the big economic stakeholders. Without digitalization, Moscow cannot grow and stay competitive with the rest of the world.
What is the significance of having public engagement in the design of a smart city strategy, such as Moscow City Government's crowd-sharing platform?
ANDREY BELOZEROV We have three projects dedicated to digital citizen engagement: the first is an e-voting system called 'Active Citizen' that allows citizens to vote on various of municipal matters via a mobile application or website; however, it is not connected to political elections. The second project is called 'our city,' a system that allows citizens to report faults or maintenance issues around Moscow. These claims can be logged and directed electronically through the app, and the relevant authority can be deployed to remedy the issue. Additionally, we are overhauling IT infrastructure in schools with high-speed Wi-Fi electronic notebooks and teaching materials. Our smart city pilot was the base for creating these strategies, and we extremely proud of them.
What has been the reception to the strategy?
EL There is a clear appetite for digital services. We received an award from the UN in 2018 for being the number-one city in terms of providing digital economic services. Also, the government provides special services to receive active feedback from citizens through a project called Active Citizen. We provide them surveys to gauge development, satisfaction levels, and what can be done better across a range of smart city initiatives. Hundreds of thousands of people always give this feedback, so it has been a successful project. We also have a crowd-sourcing project where people present their ideas on specific topics. The best ideas selected by experts and project participants will be implemented by the Moscow government for sure.
AB Changing public opinion is a massive challenge. We strive to serve all citizens in the 125 districts in Moscow, with each district having a public services center, which is a physical premise to access all services. Citizens that do not have access to a computer, mobile phone, or the internet can avail these services at our centers. Governments should understand that marketing is extremely important when seeking to engage citizens in the digital era. Every citizen is a client, and we have to work with them through feedback, marketing, and advertising. We are investing substantially to communicate the benefits of technology and are observing far less resistance to change.
What are the main areas for collaboration and knowledge sharing between Moscow and Dubai?
EL Regular dialog will help to find these areas of cooperation. Around 70% of all Russian IT businesses are in Moscow and they are developing several new ideas and products. Although these ideas and products are not as significant as those being developed by companies such IBM or Huawei, they have great real-world applications.
AB Fundamental to ensuring a streamlined digital adoption is government vision, which both Dubai and Moscow have in abundance. The mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, can clearly connect the benefits of the digital transformation to the benefits it has for citizens. He has been the architect of Moscow's recent digital success story. In Dubai, the leadership has a clear vision and mandate while also having the financial clout to be effective in the adoption of the digital transformation.