What is the actual smart city?

09:56, Октябрь 30, 2014

Social and Humanitarian Technologies of Engineering

The review of the Russian Managers Association round table discussion

October 6, 2014: The knowledge-based economy development committee of the Russian Managers Association (RMA) held a round table discussion "Local Investments: Smart City as a market for science-intensive companies." The participants argued about the concept of comfortable city and discussed what is the actual “smart” city.

Vadim Kovalev, RMA deputy executive director, in his opening address noted that there is no “smart” city in Russia, however some metropolitan cities, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kazan, do their best to achieve this state. Moreover several new cities and wards of old ones are building or just recently constructed with "smart" elements. Buildings and engineering infrastructure in Skolkovo and Olympic Sochi were made according to the cutting-edge technologies. Modern city should be friendly to the environment as well as to its dwellers. The great variety of technologies such as intelligent traffic system, video surveillance and e-government services are necessary to ensure comfortable city life. At the same time there is no unified definition for the smart city; and comfortable city environment varies depending on the personal views.

 The investors contributing to Indian infrastructure are allowed to make decisions on their own and soon this country may boast about one hundred totally different “smart” cities, told Alexander Chinyaev, executive director of AFK Sistema. Berlin pays special attention to the solution of environmental problems and transportation system according to Gebhard Hafer, rector of BBW University and head of DRGVL consulting company, and Christof Gipp, head of IGES consulting company. Moscow uses a comprehensive approach and tries innovative solutions for vide range of issues.

 Russian capital became smarter for the last two years, said Andrei Lapshov, CEO of Insiders consulting group and the chairman of RMA knowledge-based economy development committee. The number of traffic jams decreased significantly, the quality of road traffic improved, and, that is more important, authorities proved their willingness to be in touch with Muscovites. “Three pillars of the smart city are: authorities and intelligent civil servants competent enough to make necessary decisions and prepare comprehensive development programs and communicate correctly with people; technologies and necessary skills to use them; and infrastructure, including the social one, comfortable for city dwellers and entrepreneurs,” said Andrei Lykashov, deputy minister of Energy of Moscow oblast.

The Moscow government fixed 5 per cent procurement quota for science intensive products to ensure comfortable life in the city. Any company with assets in innovation may apply to a special body of the metropolitan government, undergo the examination of the Innovation Development Center (IDC), and enroll into the open list for the state order. Breakthrough ideas help Moscow to create convenient infrastructure for its dwellers. “Smart” city is a place to enjoy life where person feels free and relaxed and therefore the place you do not want to leave even for a weekend”, said Sergey Titov, deputy head of IDC Government Relations Board. The number of questions addressed to him by panelists proved the ground idea that openness and intelligence of the authorities are the cornerstone for the concept of “smart” city.

Petr Solomatin, Smart City Project coordinator at BearingPoint, offered almost universal definition for the “smart” city. “Creation of modern urban infrastructure requires a comprehensive approach when technical solutions complement each other without interference to the different services,” he said, “so, the “smart” city is an environment created in accordance with innovative solutions based long-term program.”

Andrei Lapshov expressed a hope that the concept of “smart” city soon will be broaden from Great Moscow to other Russian cities. “Innovative breakthroughs in Russian regions as well as in its capital are necessary for the national prosperity,” summed up the moderator.