‘We live in the era of big data – so city management has to be data-driven.’ – Andrey Belozerov, Deputy CIO of Moscow City Speaker Q&A

Andrey Belozerov, Deputy CIO of Moscow City has been confirmed as a Smart Cities speaker at the Smart Summit London being held on the 21st and 22nd of September at the Olympia Conference Centre in London.

Andrey is a lifelong technology executive with deep expertise in delivering innovations in both governmental and commercial sectors. Since 2011, Andrey has served as Deputy CIO of Moscow, after he was engaged by Government of Russia to lead Electronic Government initiative in 2010. 

Prior to public services, Andrey was improving Project Management Practices in Russia in multiple executive roles, also as VP, Project Management Institute, Moscow Branch. 

In his current position, Andrey is responsible for implementing informational systems in all spheres of urban life with special focus on Smart City projects.

Andrey, who will be speaking about how to make a city smart and not just connected on the 21st of September, completed our speaker Q&A:

 

1.       Please provide us with some information about the projects you are working on to make cities smarter?

We believe that smart city concept consists of four elements: ICT infrastructure, automated governmental institutions, e-services for citizens and smart environment. Over the last 6 years, in Moscow there has been remarkable progress in all these directions –according to the latest research by PwC, Moscow is placed among TOP-5 data-driven cities of the world, alongside with New-York, London and Barcelona. 

Moscow has lowest prices on mobile internet in Europe. Hi-speed broadband coverage has reached 81% of territory.  Free wi-fi is available in transport, parks and main streets of the city center. Electronic docflow, accounting, HR and resource management have been implemented for governmental institutions, including polyclinics, hospitals and municipal utilities providers. All of them have been connected to citizens – more than 150 public services are now available on a single online platform and through multiple apps, designed to meet specific audiences’ needs. In terms of environment we are pioneers in citizens’ engagement with e-voting, complaint and crowdsourcing apps. 500 datasets are available for developers through a special portal with an open API. We have established great partnerships with local telecom operators and vendors.

In addition to that, we get a great experience in automatization of whole industries. In healthcare, we recently introduced UMIAS (unified medical information analytical system). It is a resource management system for more than 600 state-financed hospitals and polyclinics of Moscow. Through online appointments and notifications, electronic medical records, e-prescribing and other tools we efficiently distribute traffic among different polyclinics and hospitals, reducing queues, keeping expensive hardware fault-free for longer time, and improving overall quality of treatment. In education, we have automated the process of enrollment to school – parents can choose relevant school and apply online. Teachers and their pupils use online manuals and record books, integrated with online tests – all available for parents too. Quality of teaching is also controlled automatically – before each lesson novice teachers receive basic guidelines and interactive presentations to show. Experienced teachers can make their own presentations and materials within the same framework, and share them with colleagues.

In the next few years, we will keep increasing efficiency of managerial processes and decisions, reducing operations and maintenance costs and improving citizens’ daily experience. To achieve those goals, government should focus on big data analysis, implementation of newest IoT technologies and development of personalized communications for different group of citizens, based on the knowledge of their needs and interests.

 

2.       What do you believe to be the key drivers for smart city growth?

Smart City means not only ICT projects - we must redefine Smart City concept as an environment for innovations and empowered engagement of citizens, businesses and other stakeholders in shaping our future with the choices and decisions they make. It’s time for full-fledged and versatile projects with self-economy and specific efficiency marks. Human and finance resource mobilization is an integral part of this process.

 

3.       How are you working to engage the citizens in smart city activity?

In 2014 we launched «Active Citizen» - an app and web site to drive e-votings. 350 public votes have already been held for more than 1.2 mln registered citizens  on various subjects:  speed limitations in the city center, selecting trees to be planted, rules of mobile apps development for the government, etc. Via this system citizens get involved in governmental decision-making on specific topics of city life which they find interesting. Some votes allow users to propose their own solution – we collect and analyze all the data to build a picture of what people need. Same year we also launched crowdsourcing platform. With online application form we select up to 10 000 citizens for each discussion – those whose demography and interests fit most the topic on review. In this way more than 10 discussions have been arranged bringing thousands of ideas, many of which were actually used – for example, in planning public transport routes, developing new healthcare services, redesigning city libraries, etc. We also have implemented online complaints platform to organize public control over the quality of city services and infrastructure – we have 600 000 citizens registered there: each complaint posted by citizen is forwarded to subcontractor in charge – as problem is fixed, personal report is sent to complainant.

 

4.       Do you think there needs to be stronger business and public collaboration?

Absolutely. Efficient cooperation with business is one of key drivers for smart cities growth, also a way of reducing governmental  costs. Businesses are traditionally faster and more innovative – we are looking for compromises and inviting them to join our initiatives. A good example of public private partnership in smart cities development is CCTV system of Moscow. Telecom operators invested in cable routing and cameras (installation, maintenance and repair). We sponsored storages, management systems and  are covering operational expenses of operators on live-streaming. They got long-term contracts with a trusted and reliable client, while we can control quality and costs, paying only for good-quality pictures that meet our requirements. Same model of public private partnership we used for city Wi-Fi network.

 

5.       How can cities become smarter, not just connected?

We live in the era of big data – so city management has to be data-driven. Apart from processes automation and data collection, key attribute of a truly smart city is ability to analyze data and use results to address challenges properly. Deep analysis is crucial for strategical planning, efficient development and creating friendly environment for citizens and businesses. In other words, to become smarter cities have to transform quantity of information into quality of decisions.

 

6.       Which are the key ways data is being used to enhance smart city capabilities?

A good example is unified medical informational and analytical system (UMIAS) implemented a few years ago. We collect data about patients’ allocation, history of their inquiries, detailed information about utilization of medical staff and hardware. This allows us to improve patients experience through online appointments to doctors and online health registers. On the other hand, we built resource management system that efficiently distributes traffic among different polyclinics and hospitals, reducing queues and keeping hardware fault-free for longer periods of time. Same approach is applied in every sphere, from transportation to city lightning.

 

7.       What are the key benefits to citizens and cities from smart city services?

For citizens life becomes easier through simpler  interaction with city services – whatever you do, pay for utilities, enroll kids into school or take metro. They also appreciate city development in line with their needs and expectations. For the city automation and data analysis reduce costs, increase quality and speed of decision-making and change management.

 

8.       Are there ways in which the framework for interoperability could be improved?

Each second we receive dozens of gigabytes of information from our systems. We are not concerned with data relevance, but as the data is used for different purposes by many governmental structures, the challenge is to develop right metadata to describe information and set unified indexation, protection and exchange rules.

 

9.       How are security and privacy concerns being addressed?

We pay a lot of attention to the security of personal data and privacy. In Russia, we have federal laws that specify all aspects of data defense – all our systems are designed according to them. In addition to that, we use unified identity verification point for access to city systems and use behavioral analysis to reveal potential risks and violations.

 

10.   How are cities bridging internal silos for a cohesive Smart City strategy?

We have single data center, unified security and internal communications systems - it makes all constituents interoperable and easy to analyze, while costs are decreasing. Same centralized approach we use in investment, development and operations – regardless the system we are talking about.  

 

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