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In early April, the startup pitch-session “Smart City. New markets for Russian startups: exploring North Rhine-Westphalia” took place as part of the 16th week of Germany in St. Petersburg. ITMO Technopark invited projects that focus on inventions in the field of smart cities, transport infrastructure and waste processing. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas to the business communities of Russia and Germany and received valuable feedback.
The Novosmolenskaya Embankment at Vasilievsky Island is well known to those living on the island near "Primorskaya” metro station and the rest of St. Petersburg’s dwellers. Locals and guests of the Northern capital come here to photograph sunsets, gracefully reflected in the smooth waters of the Smolenka River; see some of the apartment-buildings which are the record holders for the number of flats in them (house No. 1 has 1,483 apartments, for instance); enjoy the architectural complex of the embankment and so-called houses "on chicken legs", which have become one of the symbols of the non-standard approach to the city architecture in St. Petersburg. Despite the fact that the Novosmolenskaya Embankment is a center of attraction not only for the district residents, but for other groups of people, it’s experiencing some obvious problems these days. To name a few, poor lighting and fragile ecology. Natalya Bystryantseva, Head of ITMO’s Higher School of Lighting Design, speaks about a new unique concept developed jointly with Lensvet, a St. Petersburg State Unitary Enterprise. City Planning and Architecture Committee of St. Petersburg is leading this joint project, which will turn the Novosmolenskaya embankment into a new communications platform thanks to the introduction of new technologies and a unique light design solution.
Three centuries ago, Peter the Great had decreed that St. Petersburg’s streets were to be lit with oil lanterns. Thus, the country’s new capital became the first Russian city to have public lighting. Today, St. Petersburg remains one of the country’s best examples of urban light environment. But each year, new approaches to lighting design, architecture and smart-city engineering appear all over the world. This field itself is becoming a platform not only for lighting designers, architects and artists, but for scientists, researchers and IT specialists as well. Participants of the roundtable discussion “Light in the City: design or programming. New technological developments and tools for modern urban analysis” discussed the future, why modern cities require more than a safe light environment, and how to use new technologies to change the approach to street lighting.
The first light-operated data transmission network in Russia was launched by ITMO University’s Department of Light Technologies and Optoelectronics. The new format, known as Li-Fi, may become an effective alternative to Wi-Fi. It uses optical signals instead of radio waves, and, in fact, transmits data hundreds of times faster than traditional wireless networking. A speed of 50 Mbps was reached in the ITMO University laboratory, which is comparable, and even superior, to a regular Wi-Fi connection. Li-Fi communication channels are considered to provide better security. They may also be used in Wi-Fi “dead-zones”: operating rooms, airplanes, and in other conditions requiring minimization of radio interference.