Rustam Minnikhanov on digitalisation: ‘We are in early days to say good for us’

IT technologies of Tatarstan municipalities were discussed at a meeting of the Association for Digital Development.

It was discussed in Kazan how to make municipalities’ activity go online. At the first meeting of the Association for Digital Development this year, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov was presented a number of new IT solutions for local governments and asked for help. The head of the republic was happy with what he saw but noted that there was still much work on digitalisation. Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent listened to Tatarstan cities’ mayors together with the president.

Not performed tasks of the president

The first meeting of the Association for Digital Development this year was dedicated to the discussion of service approaches to the digitalisation of municipal management to not only “digitalise but also make people’s lives better”.

“To show the efficiency in rubles. There must be a result everywhere,” the president stressed.

Then head of the Association Rifkat Minnikhanov presented a detailed map of people who are in charge of developing digital transformation in the region. There are eight areas in total such as digital government, digital economy, digital science and technology, digital population, digital mobility and even digital heritage. Each area is supervised by four and more ministries and agencies. But it didn’t turn out to be so simple to get the work going.

“It is necessary to say that, unfortunately, today we don’t have very good indicators in the tasks that are set at meetings. There are cases of unreasonable evasion, neglected cases and when some performers began to discuss your tasks without argument,” Rifkat Minnikhanov addressed the Tatarstan president.

The speaker said that he would provide reports on all the enumerated cases because executive discipline was necessary to achieve results. He showed statistics on performed tasks after each of the three meetings of the Association for Digital Development. For instance, only 3 out of 11 tasks were performed as of 16 November 2020. The deadline of three tasks was expanded, while five tasks weren’t performed.

How Kazan goes online

Most of the time was devoted to the discussion of projects implemented in Kazan. As Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin noted, 45 services were provided in the Tatarstan capital electronically. Moreover, the share of mass socially important services online reached 74,2% and keeps going upward to a 95% target set at federal level. The head of the city also mentioned the development of an online system, which “in fact, is becoming a digital twin of our capital”.

“We managed to find a Russian IT solution 90% of employees of the Executive Committee are using today,” Metshin commented.

Vice head of the Kazan Executive Committee’s Department of IT Management Yevgeny Bardebanov added that 43 out of 45 services were electronically available in Multi-Functional Centres thanks to their integration into the urban municipal service management system. Over 50,000 petitions were registered in the system in 2020 alone. Then they talked about a SaaS cloud service module, and a problem emerged here. Different people are responsible for every stage of work at the moment, while specialists in the Executive Committee have to unite all this into one system. But if a service approach is introduced, the budget can save a lot of money long-term. A united contract on service capacities can become a solution.

“As a city, we constantly ask for money for servers. While we could ask for servers, not money,” Bardebanov said. According to him, the city is ready to become a pilot and transfer all its services that don’t require physical servers into a united republican cloud.

Minister of Digital Development of Public Administration, Information Technologies and Communications of Tatarstan Ayrat Khayrullin supported the speaker and explained the petition to the president. Large municipalities need new computing capacities, and Kazan can give half of its own capacities so that other districts could come and ask them. He offered to test the work on Ak Bars Bank’s cloud, Rustam Minnikhanov agreed.

IT to take care of security in kindergartens and schools

Director of the Department of Telecom Technologies of Kazan Ruslan Avilov talked without jokes — it was a matter of security. To unite everything in one system, the city introduced Novolyot software certified by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. It collects data and sends it to the system of the digital headquarters developed by Innostage IT company from Kazan.

“A virtual monitoring centre can integrate information from any sensors and devices on one account. It is a systemic solution enabling to monitor the productivity of various security systems at social venues remotely in real time mode,” Avilov explained.

Before the meeting began, Rustam Minnikhanov was demonstrated the performance of a monitoring centre in a Kazan kindergarten. The speaker himself calls the solution a digital twin of the venue that enables to monitor fire safety and the surveillance system, control the climate inside, organise “smart” ring in schools. Such a twin of a venue can be installed in Digital Headquarters system and integrated with Tatarstan’s Situation Centre.

At the moment, the pilot testing of the system is taking place in 70 social facilities of Kazan.

Taking advantage of the occasion, Ruslan Avilov asked Rustam Minnikhanov to back a project that’s worth 130 million rubles — this is how much now it takes to do all the works, including connection to the monitoring centre so that the number of schools and kindergartens with digital twins will become 903 by 2023.

“We calculated how much money was saved, the more devices the higher the quality. Instead, we should look at budget expenditure on heating, electricity. And we will save money and can persuade the federal centre to implement a pilot project in this sphere,” Ayrat Khayrullin supported the initiative.

As Fyodor Seleznyov, head of business solutions at Innostage, explained to Realnoe Vremya after the meeting, the IT company’s monitoring centre included the above-mentioned Digital Headquarters. The system collects information from different sources, allows quickly controlling it and even automatically responding to accidents. As a consequence, maintenance costs on the system’s security reduce, while the human factor is almost offset.

“Digital Headquarters not only shows the layout. It has scripts that detect accidents and respond to them. If your alarm went off, you switch it off and switch it on again. And do this several times. In this case, the system will understand the signals were fake and will submit an application for repair. It doesn’t need a human for this, everything is automatic,” the interlocutor of the newspaper explained.

But if the alarm went off and nobody turned it off, the smart system sends information about the fire to the security and informs other response channels.

According to Seleznyov, Digital Headquarters was introduced in Kazan’s social infrastructure as a pilot project, which is around 70 in 900 facilities. Both municipalities and private businesses can use the development. For instance, if a company has several offices, and it is necessary to set up an effective physical security system remotely.

Another component of the monitoring centre accumulated all data analytics. The Tatarstan Situation Centre’s platform collects information about all applications, performers, instructions. For instance, analysts can conclude which facilities need to be urgently repaired on the basis of such analytics.

Almost well done

After hearing our all reports and looking at the photo of bureaucratic hell provided by Ayrat Khayrullin — a real photo of a worker engulfed by paper in the office and listening to proposals on how to avoid such a situation, Rustam Minnikhanov claimed:

“After the work on vice ministers who are in charge of digitalisation is over, we will immediately make a programme for municipalities.”

After that, he praised and thanked municipal representatives who delivered a speech but anyway added in the end: “We are in early days to say good for us”.

By Maria Gorozhaninova

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