Rostec in the Megatrends
What will the future look like? The answer to this broad philosophical question has been a concern for mankind throughout its history. In the narrower context of technological development, the discussion regarding this topic today largely boils down to a discussion of megatrends, i.e., long-term global trends that lead to structural tectonic shifts in the life of mankind as a whole and each individual separately, and impact the environment, behavioral patterns, habits, and, ultimately, the quality of life.
At least one other major trend should be added to the list of global megatrends: the exponential growth in innovative activities and investment in the creation and introduction of new technologies within megatrends that involve both small startups and large global corporations.
There is still no disputing the traditional leadership of the United States in this regard – America remains the largest market for venture financing and the consumption of the latest technologies. And local companies have demonstrated numerous examples of creating breakthrough technologies and solutions that directly impact the habitat and life of the specific people, regardless of the scale of these projects.
In particular, the global beverage manufacturing leader Coca-Cola is involved in the restoration and protection of watersheds as part of a public-private partnership. The goal of the five-year program, which is slated to last until the end of this year, is to return more than one billion liters of water to the National Forest System, which provides drinking water to more than 60 million Americans.
For their part, tech giants Google and Amazon, based on their successes in the development of artificial intelligence technologies, have been successfully promoting their own initiatives involving unmanned motor vehicles and drones, which should go on to become an important component of the technological ecosystem of new smart cities.
The micro environment in such cities can be maintained with help of the solutions of such companies as GeckoSystems, which introduced a robotic wheelchair for the disabled, equipped with navigation systems and artificial intelligence in order to avoid collisions with obstacles several years ago.
The success of corporations like Organovo, which presented the first sample of human liver tissue, created using a 3D printer in 2014, opens up new opportunities in medicine and gerontology.
Components and IT solutions offered by Cisco ensure the integration and joint efficient functioning of elements of the new urban environment. For their part, Nvidia and Intel produce new energy-efficient processors for the Internet of Things and edge computing.
The AI-based IBM Watson supercomputer is capable of meeting a variety of challenges to improve the functioning of various technological systems – from the calculation of logistics chains to elevator maintenance systems. For several years now, while aggregating big data, including weather forecasts, it has helped to improve the ecological situation in a number of the world’s metropolises, specifically Shanghai with its massive smog problem.
Leading technology companies in China such as Tencent (the owner of the WeChat messenger service), the logistics and IT giant Alibaba, major developers of mobile devices and telecommunications equipment Huawei and Xiaomi, and the manufacturer of innovative rechargeable batteries BYD, in which Warren Buffett himself invested, have been setting technological trends themselves for some time now, while changing the life of the planet and its people for the better.
The representatives of another BRICS technological superpower – India’s Micromax, which specializes in the production of mobile devices, Tata Motors (cars and electric vehicles), and the telecom giant Infosys – are improving the world on behalf of the planet’s largest democracy by creating and integrating advanced technologies of the future into their products.
The same is true for Russia, with its own big technological brands such as Yandex, Sberbank, Mail.ru, and GroupIB. But Rostec is one of a kind.
It’s no secret that the main idea behind the establishment of the Rostec State Corporation in 2007 was the government’s aspiration to prevent the collapse of the military-industrial complex with the further goal of turning Rostec into the country’s leading producer of high-tech military and civilian products. Following the successful completion of the first stage, during which industrial assets in various industries were consolidated, the second stage began in 2012 with the restructuring of the state corporation based on the model of leading global technology companies such as GE or Samsung. As a result, Rostec has been transformed into a holding structure with a compact management center and several units that are split up according to their types of activity.
Today, the corporation is implementing another goal – to significantly increase the share of civilian hi-tech in overall output and boost it to 50% by 2025.
It is easy to make sure that the future models of technology and technological solutions that Rostec is launching or preparing to launch on the market are part of a global megatrend. Based on the technologies of the new wave of innovation, they must work to create a more perfect, safe, and comfortable environment for people along with their health and safety. Strengthening the positions of the corporation’s products on highly competitive civilian markets, including security systems, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, IT, automation and robotics, has been made a priority.
SMART CITY. Intelligent software solutions support the operation of virtually all control systems of the modern metropolis – energy, lighting, utilities, and security. The solutions offered by Rostec enterprises in this regard should provide modern cities with the opportunity to utilize the new generation intellectual infrastructure.
In particular, the consortium of the Avtomatika Concern and the National Informatization Centre (NIC) has been implementing the ‘Safe City’ hardware and software system in the Irkutsk Region since 2018. The region will get an operational response center that will process all information coming from video surveillance systems, the photo and video recording of traffic violations, comprehensive environmental monitoring, and the hydro-chemical monitoring of Lake Baikal. These solutions aim to coordinate the work of state bodies and services that are responsible for ensuring public security, law and order, and a comfortable living environment for all people.
In Rybinsk, Rostec enterprises have been involved in the installation of 250 energy-saving street lights, some of which are remotely controlled, which makes it possible to regulate lighting depending on the time of the day. This solution has reduced street lighting energy costs by 35%. In addition, a number of the city’s road intersections have been equipped with new traffic lights that automatically change modes depending on the traffic situation with the help of sensors that are embedded under the roadway and detect traffic intensity. This made it possible to increase traffic capacity at intersections by 15% and reduce the number of accidents on them sixfold. During the next stage of the project in Yaroslavl, cameras will be installed for the photo and video recording of traffic violations at the five key road facilities. In addition, busy tourist areas in the region’s capital will have navigation steles that enable people to connect to a free Wi-Fi network, obtain tourist information, book hotels, and transmit information about public disturbances. “We are also implementing similar projects in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Tagil, Ulan-Ude, and Irkutsk. These are successful examples of how ‘digital economy’ projects are starting to produce real benefits for people,” Rostec’s director for special commissions Vasily Brovko said.
The FindFace Security solution (a facial recognition system) that was developed by the Russian company NtechLab and introduced by Rostec (which owns a stake in the developer company) was integrated into the security system during the FIFA World Cup this summer. The system helped to detain more than 180 people who had been included in the database of offenders or in federal wanted lists. The NtechLab algorithm is considered the fastest and most accurate technology of its kind in the world and recognizes faces with an accuracy of up to 99%. It takes as little as 0.5 seconds for the algorithm to identify a specific person among one billion people. The NtechLab algorithm is able, among other things, to determine a person’s emotional state, gender, and age.
SMART TRANSPORT. Smart (including unmanned) transport is an integral part of the smart cities of the future and can solve numerous problems that hamper the development of metropolises, including enhancing road safety and improving the environment and traffic congestion by reducing the use of private vehicles. Moscow will be the first Russian city to have smart transport facilities. Deputy Mayor of Moscow Maxim Liksutov said unmanned public transport could be launched in the capital within 10 to 15 years.
Rostec will become one of the key partners in implementing this project. In particular, the Moscow Government, KAMAZ (a subsidiary of Rostec), the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute, and Yandex signed an agreement in July 2018 on the introduction of unmanned control technologies in all types of urban passenger transport. At the same time, KAMAZ along with the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute is working on the unmanned SHUTTLE bus, for which an existing prototype was first introduced at the Moscow International Automobile Salon in 2016.
At the same time, work is underway to create infrastructure for the use of smart transport. Rostec recently introduced the first LED screen traffic light. Such systems will be available as early as 2019. The new traffic lights will help to optimize traffic as well as improve the level of safety and satisfaction among urban residents. In addition, the energy efficiency of this system will be significantly enhanced through the use of LEDs. The State Institute of Applied Optics (part of Rostec) also presented a project in August 2018 to create modern public transport stops. They will be equipped with electronic reference information, advertising and Internet services, a video recording system, and functions for communicating taxi services and law enforcement agencies.
Speed and error-free operation are the most important features of the metropolis transport control system that require modern technological solutions. Rostec recently tested an ultra-fast train control system (BMC-M) that provides contactless control and monitoring of the condition of electric switch gears and traffic lights in the metro. In addition, the system is able to detect the potential failure of devices for timely troubleshooting. These technical solutions are much-needed not only in the metro, but also on the main railways.
Trams are an alternative to the metro in small cities. Rostec introduced the 71-415 model developed by Uralvagonzavod at the Innoprom Industrial Trade Fair this summer. The new tram consists of a four-axle car that can carry up to 190 people. Thanks to the new bogie, the car is fully equipped with a low floor, and its design allows it to be used on the existing tram infrastructure of Russian cities.
HEALTH. Introducing modern medical technologies is one of Rostec’s top priorities. The Tecmash Concern, which is part of the state corporation’s structure, along with scientists from Moscow State University, has developed the Angel automated diagnostic individual care system to support vital functions. It is designed to provide instrumental and advisory medical assistance during the initial diagnosis. “The modernization of the Angel system will enhance the availability of medical care in conditions when there is a shortage of medical personnel,” Rostec’s Executive Director Oleg Yevtushenko said. “The system will measure the patient’s parameters and transmit them through telecommunication channels, which will enable doctors to remotely evaluate the patient’s condition and give instructions for treatment.”
Complex medical equipment is slated to be released as part of the import substitution policy. In particular, the corporation is actively working on the development and production of ultrasound devices. “Russian hospitals and clinics have demand for approximately 10,000 units of ultrasound equipment per year. Our job is to meet this demand,” said Ivan Ozhgikhin, deputy director general of the Schwabe holding company. Plans call for the production of 2,500 multifunctional RuScan ultrasonic devices at Schwabe enterprises per year. In addition, there are plans to set up the production of AED-A15 portable defibrillators developed by Rostec, which should cut the mortality rate from sudden cardiac arrest in Russia in half.
Based on an initiative from Rostec, a system to provide prompt medical assistance outside cities using air medical services will be established in Russia. The state corporation will handle the development and creation of all its components. The Russian Helicopters holding, which is part of Rostec, has developed and launched the mass production of the new Ansat medical helicopters, which are equipped with the production of Schwabe enterprises, including artificial ventilation systems, tele-ECGs that decode cardiograms in real time, and other new equipment used to save lives. In addition, Rostec enterprises build ground-based infrastructure, including service bases and software products to manage the air medical services system.
For its part, Rostec serves as the contractor for the design, construction, and equipping of 15 new perinatal centers in Russia. These facilities have an unconventional layout, complex engineering systems, and high-tech equipment, of which more than 60% is produced by Schwabe. The program for the construction of perinatal centers has already reduced the maternal mortality rate in the country from 7.3 cases per 100,000 and the infant mortality rate to 5.5 cases per 1,000, and will continue the downward trend.
PHARMACEUTICALS. The National Immunobiological Company (Nacimbio) pharmaceutical holding, which is also part of the state corporation, is working on the problem of technology transfer and the localization of vaccines that had not previously been produced in Russia. Specifically, the inactivated split-virion vaccine Microsplit, allantoic live flu vaccine in liquid form, and multivalent meningococcal vaccine are in the stage of clinical trials today. At the end of last year, Nacimbio completed clinical trials on Russia’s first combined five-component vaccine aACDS-Hep B + Hib with an acellular pertussis component.
Pentavaccine, which has been developed by the Microgen research and production association, contains components that allow for carrying out vaccinations against five diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and haemophilic infection) with a single injection without the need to administer multiple monovaccines separately.
LABELING OF GOODS. Rostec will partner with USM Holdings and the Almaz Capital Partners investment fund for the construction of a labelling system for food, medicines, and other consumer goods in Russia, with planned investment of approximately 200 billion rubles. The project aims to create infrastructure that will track the movement of goods along the entire chain from production to the end user and ultimately ensure their safety for the population.