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Moscow launches 'living lab' district to test tech with citizens

Moscow is launching a smart district in an existing area of the city to test cutting-edge smart city technology and evaluate its impact.


The City of Moscow is launching a smart district that will serve as a ‘living lab’ for piloting smart technologies in the city. The project is being implemented in the Maryino district, which has around 8,000 citizens.


The aim is to evaluate how technologies will impact residents’ day-to-day lives and see which technologies citizens use the most.


29 smart technologies


Smart systems being trialled in the area include:

  • Smart heating: Heating is controlled automatically, depending on the temperature outside. This system is expected to cut energy consumption by up to 10 per cent
  • Smart lighting: This includes lighting with acoustic sensors in entrance halls. Energy-efficient lamps will turn off when there is no-one around. The City estimates that this will cut electricity consumption by 80 per cent
  • Smart surveillance: A statement from the City notes: "Every resident can access the surveillance data accumulated from the cameras installed at the district."
  • Smart metering: Data from metering systems (heating, water) is automatically transferred to utilities’ data centres
  • Eco-monitoring: A meteorological station in the district will monitor the humidity, wind and temperature in real time
  • Smart waste management: Each bin has a filling sensor that sends an alert once the bin is full. Intelligent controls are used for waste sorting and collection with online monitoring.

Moscow’s first residential charging station for electric vehicles (EVs) has also been installed in Maryino, and the City says it has already become the most popular EV charging station in Moscow.


In addition, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the area. Residents can download a free mobile app to answer the house intercom when no one is around or open the door without a key.


Further, all cables for outdoor lighting, Wi-Fi routers, security cameras and emergency loudspeakers have been moved underground to clear the sky over the district. The City says this makes the area look better and ensures reliable connectivity.


In total selected residential buildings are equipped with 29 different smart technologies.


In April 2018, authorities began implementing technologies in selected buildings situated in the Maryino district, which is in the south-east of Moscow. Now the City will begin evaluating the effectiveness of the smart systems.


In total, selected residential buildings are being equipped with 29 different smart technologies. Using the results of the pilots, Moscow authorities will update the overall city urban renewal plan.


Beeline tests IoT


Russian telecom operator Beeline has also launched a test site within the district, aimed at developers of IoT solutions.


The trial will use Ericsson equipment on Beeline’s Narrow Band (NB) IoT network. The project is looking at the impact of IoT solutions implemented in the district. The trial enables connections of up to 10,000 devices per base station, and Ericsson has installed two stations in the one-kilometre trial zone.


Citizen feedback


Often when cities launch a smart district, they choose new, empty or abandoned areas of the city and create the testbed area from scratch. This is typically faster, cheaper and simpler.


Our aim was to test technologies in an inhabited neighbourhood so it allows us to see whether citizens get advantages from new technologies in their everyday tasks.


However, Andrey Belozerov, Strategy and Innovations Advisor to the CIO of Moscow, explained: "We didn’t want to build a district from scratch as a testbed far from real-world settings. Our aim was to test technologies in an inhabited neighbourhood so it allows us to see whether citizens get advantages from new technologies in their everyday tasks.


"When the pilot is completed, we aim to adjust the city urban renewal plan, so Muscovites enjoy living in similar technology-savvy buildings around the city in the future".


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