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'We Became Like a Big Startup.' How Kyiv Adapted Tech to Save Lives

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A screenshot from the Kyiv Digital smartphone app showing bomb shelters with Wi-Fi.

Credit: Kyiv City Council

Oleg Polovynko, IT director of Kyiv's city council, and Petro Olenych, Kyiv's deputy mayor and chief digital transformation officer, have been working to adapt and repurpose the Ukrainian capital's technology amid the war with Russia.

They have enabled most Kyiv residents to connect to the Internet in underground bomb shelters using the city's mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and to receive phone alerts of incoming air raids.

They also revamped the Kyiv Digital smartphone app—designed to help residents pay utility bills and parking tickets—to display maps of the nearest bomb shelters and places to obtain critical supplies.

Said Polovynko, "I never imagined that I would develop software in 2022 to help people stay alive, to survive things like a missile attack. But of course, we can. And now we're using all of our IT minds in Ukraine to help our people and our soldiers."

From Time
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