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Moscow rapidly transforming into a Smart City

Moscow, renowned for its history and famous landmarks, is becoming strikingly urban and modern, and is quickly emerging as a haven for cutting-edge technology, driven forward by significant tech investments, which are driving its transformation into a smart city.

Smart infrastructure is already in place. The city has excellent broadband and 4G coverage, it is providing free Wi-Fi access in public spaces and even public vehicles, while charging stations are available in train stations and bus stops. In fact, bus stops are equipped with touchscreen panels that feature timetables and maps with up-to-date. Fares can be paid for using digital wallets. Clinics and schools are benefitting from a wide scale automation of services, including the use of e-documents and automated budgeting.

Moscow is also quick to adopt the latest disruptive technologies such as FinTech and cryptocurrencies. One hundred cryptocurrency ATMS have been installed in hotels and the city will host the Cryptospace Conference this December. At 35 percent, its FinTech adoption rate is one of the highest globally, ahead of New York.

In addition, Moscow is making use of three highly popular citizen engagement platforms which involve citizens into the process and allow them to communicate with the local authorities. These include: the online complaints system “Our City’; the web and mobile app “Active Citizen’, which allows citizens to vote and express their opinion in city development matters; and the crowdsourcing platform “Crowd’, which accepts suggestions for the improvement of the city portal, and even community projects.

Moscow’ s smart city transformation started in earnest in 2011, under mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who centralized the city’ s IT, pushed for the interoperability of systems, prioritized cost-effective procurement, and places big data in a central position on his IT agenda in order to acquire accurate information about the city and make use of it for decision making.

Moscow has implemented e-government services, automation, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) platforms to serve as a solid base for its continuing smart city initiatives. The city has invested $600 million a year to achieve these activities, an investment which is made possible by the fact that the city is home to many of the country’ s top businesses and generates significant revenue from taxes and tourism.

The original article can be found on Forbes.