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Russia’s winning strategy in the Eastern and Western digital race

May 29, 2017, 21:31 UTC+3
1 pages in this article

With the fourth industrial revolution here to stay, information and communication technologies are turning from an ordinary business segment into a priority national development strategy. Russia has adopted the Scientific and Technological Development Strategy and launched the National Technology Initiative (NTI), which are designed to create conditions for Russias technology leadership by 2035. Demand for Russian IT developers and software is growing internationally. However, Russia is still far behind in terms of regulatory environment.

Digital technology is rapidly spreading around the globe, sparking expectations of faster economic growth, more jobs and better government services, which do not always hold true.

  • According to the World Bank’s report Reaping Digital Dividends: Leveraging the Internet for Development in Europe and Central Asia, the region is way behind in the commercial use of internet technology.
  • As noted in the Global Information Technology Report 2016, Russia ranks 41st among tech-savvy countries, with Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Norway and the US making the top 5.
  • But Russia’s positions vary greatly in index components. It takes the 3rd place in terms of readiness, usage and impact, but looks weak in regulatory environment.
  • UNESCO's late-2016 data show that global investments in R&D reached USD 1.7 trillion, with 80% attributed to the ten advanced economies, including over 25% to the US, over 20% to China and almost 10% to Japan. On this metric, Russia ranks 8th with USD 44 billion, while the country's knowledge-intensive products contribute just 0.3% to the global economy.

Government-led initiatives should help Russia to close the gap with foreign competitors.

  • The Innovative Development Strategy until 2020 projects that, by 2020, Russia will take 5–10% of the global high-tech market, while internally the share of innovative industrial facilities will reach 40–50%.

In February 2017, the Government approved a roadmap to develop the NTI – Advanced Industrial Technologies (TechNet). The development must focus on digital design and simulation, new materials, additive technologies, artificial intelligence, Big Data, industrial internet and robototronics.

  • The global services market that meets Industry 4.0 requirements is now estimated at approximately USD 773 billion, with Russia making only 0.28%. An objective of the roadmap is to increase that percentage to at least 1.5%.

IT is one of Russia’s fastest-growing sectors.

  • An Accenture survey in January 2017 showed that around one third of major Russian companies are planning, over the next three years, to make significant investments in technology related to machine learning and embedded artificial intelligence. Over 25% of respondents are ready to invest in video analytics and natural language processing, 20% – in robotics, deep learning and computer vision.
  • According to Russoft Association, Russian software imports have grown at an annual rate of 11–22% over the last five years, reaching USD 6.8 billion.
  • Ancor Hi-Tech estimates that the number of Russian programmers increases by 9–11% every year.

Products developed in Russia are competitive globally.

  • Yandex has been using an artificial intelligence technology in its search engines for several years now and is currently working on a neural network which would be capable of bringing search engine operations to a new revolutionary level.
  • Cognitive Technologies has designed C-Pilot, an intelligent autonomous driving system, which the company plans to bring to life by 2022.
  • Solutions by VisionLabs, a SKOLKOVO resident, were ranked top 3 commercial face recognition systems globally by the University of Massachusetts.
  • Millennium Design Bureau is working on a multi-drone piloting system based on a neural network, i.e. a mathematical model built to mimic the human brain.
  • The Internet Development Institute plans to launch Al-Aibolit, an artificial intelligence system. The Institute has developed quite a few mobile applications with digital assistants which answer questions and treat patients.
  • ABBYY offers an artificial intelligence technology for text recognition, printed documents and PDF files processing that is used all over the world.
  • Kaspersky Security Network collects data on threats and infection attempts around the world, processing hundreds of millions of events a day.
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