Digitalization technologies in Russia – the era of change has come

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In the late 90s of the XX century, the world began to talk about IoT technologies and the digital economy, while in Russia at that time the first mobile phones had just begun to appear. More than 20 years have passed since then, and the Internet of things has become a commonplace for us: almost everyone has smart devices at home.

of which there are already more than 26 billion units worldwide, and almost 20 million SIM cards were bought from us last year alone. Digitalization technologies have been successfully introduced in Russia over the past years.

Why doesn’t this work globally in Russia? There is one small nuance: in order to digitalize the entire country, you first need to electrify it all. For example, it is difficult for many people to explain what is the advantage of a smart refrigerator, which itself checks the freshness of products and, if necessary, orders new ones. Especially if these people store all the products in the cellar and burn a kerosene stove. They simply do not understand modern technologies.

If we cannot talk about the global digitalization of the country, then why do we use the expression “the era of change has come”? Change is really coming. Smart home appliances take care of themselves, information is revealed, production processes are controlled by machine vision.

robots replace humans in hazardous jobs. But all this works only if you live in large cities of Russia, where at least there is electricity and a cell tower. The era of change is taking place within large cities and industrial centers. And then, as usual, everything is complicated.

What is it and why?

Global digitalization sounds impressive. Let’s tell in simple words, what is it and why is it good for everyone?

Digitization makes all these processes easier.

Where digitalization is applied right now:

at home;
in production;
at work;
in state structures;
in business.

Consumer digitalization for the majority has long become understandable and familiar. A special sensor monitors whether there are strangers in the apartment, and if they are detected, it signals to the desk officer on duty. There are more complex systems that block the exits from the premises in the event of an intrusion.

Industrial digitalization is engaged in the reduction of monotonous physical labor for a person, organizes and controls labor and production processes and ensures the safety of company employees.  This “smart” video analytics system noticed that the worker entered the workshop without a helmet, gave a signal and saved the man’s life.

“Smart” systems using machine vision identify defective parts, and a video surveillance system monitors compliance with safety regulations.

The state is introducing digitalization in all its verticals. The data analysis system has long been effectively used in the executive branch. A vivid example is the search for criminals using online cameras on the streets or the ability to send an appeal to the right authorities via the Internet.

One of the main merits of the digitalization of the state is the reduction in the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy in the preparation of documents. Certificates and passports can be ordered through the application, where you can store and update all data.

The only danger of digitalization is the decrease in the importance of a person in many processes and the likely disappearance in the future of entire professions that robots will be better able to handle.

The concepts of digitalization and automation are often confused. Some are sure that if there are computers with Internet access in the office, then the enterprise can already be called digital in some sense. Only PCs and the Internet are just tools that make it possible to simplify and even automate some processes, but they do not lead to digital transformation in any way.

Digitalization is not so much aimed at automating and improving work and production processes (although this is often necessary), but at changing the entire business model. Automation improves production, but it preserves the way the company does business, while digital transformation changes the product itself, transforms the relationship between the client and suppliers, and the positioning of the company itself. This is an integrated approach to the use of digital resources in the enterprise.

Consider a couple of examples of automation and digitalization:

Automation in the education environment involves the use of digital textbooks, video tutorials and other tools that simplify the learning process. Digitalization, on the other hand, involves the construction of a new interactive educational system with feedback, when a person has the opportunity to choose the pace and program of his training in accordance with the availability of free time and the initial level.

Factory automation may include keeping an electronic time sheet instead of traditional paper journals. During the digital transformation of the access system, RFID tags are used, which are sewn into a form or pass. The employee will not need to mark the time or sign somewhere at all – the smart system will do everything on its own.