Russian private business is increasingly preoccupied with its social function and enjoys the wow-effect from implementing proprietary technologies that improve the lives of millions of people. Andrey Kuzyaev, President of ER-Telecom Holding talks to us about partnerships with the state. By the way, the company was among the first partners of Roscongresss Innovation Space project and is an active participant of the upcoming SPIEF 2020.
ER-Telecom is a private company. Out of our 18 years on the market we spent at least 15 focusing on our private customers. Back in the day, we used to provide simple services like connecting cables to Wi-Fi routers. Today, we saw that our customers need more than that bare minimum. People want us to create digital services that improve the quality of their lives.
I would say that today we are digitalizing the mundane by improving the conveniences of everyday life. Our clients go wow only when we do that, in other words we anticipate their expectations. If we just provide an Internet connection, then we will be like the companies that deliver water or electricity: nobody has an opinion on them. We want to be loved.
Making a city smart
This is why we came up with Smart Cities programme. ER-Telecom allocated an entire project team of about 100 people who design solutions for smart cities. We want to make life better, safer, and happier for our customers. We started to look for complimentary schemes and to be honest with you, I myself was mighty surprised by the results.
Take, for instance, smart house intercom systems. We entered that market because we saw old analogue intercoms as a blast from the past. We decided that our modern intercoms should be a part of the ecosystem, they should go online. That was first. Second, we decided to connect them to a cloud, so that our customers could use a 7-day backlog, not only real-time feed. It gives them a chance to analyze the events that happened in the coverage zone.
Additionally, we thought it matters to the parents to know how their kids got home and how did they leave. Today, they have a chance to access the intercom remotely through a mobile app. It is also relevant for people with aging parents.
Later on, it turned out that cities need this information too: ambulances need access, emergency information needs to be delivered. Plus, there are security issues. Imagine, if every building had a smart camera with analytics capabilities, what would it lead to? It would lead to crime rate plunging 40%, while the crime detection rate going 50% up in the houses that have those cameras.
Digital Technologies Are Coming for All
We are grateful to the Government of St. Petersburg, for they were the first to believe in this project. They even went as far as to create special software for district police officers and communal services. Generally speaking, this is exactly the type of partnership that goes beyond one contract, this is a partnership in principle. Today, the project is unraveling in 35 Russian cities with over 10,000 smart intercoms already in use.
On one hand, individuals are interested in this service and are potentially ready to pay more for it in the future; on the other hand, the city needs to resolve its social issues. Case in point: how can you improve the illumination in the city by twofold, cut the costs of power supply by 50%, and decrease the failure rate by 50% as well? You install a smart sensor that reacts only whenever someone is around.
Telecommunications is my professional area. Time and time again, I see proof that digital technologies are the cheapest way to change the lives of millions of people for the better in a short period of time. Most importantly, I am positive: technologies know no borders.
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