Use of Integrated Sensing Technology and ICT to Expand in Diverse Fields
— NRI announces a sensing technology road map through FY 2010 —
November 24, 2005
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI: Tokyo; Akihisa Fujinuma, President, CEO & COO) announces its IT Road Map. This road map forecasts the progress of information technologies in Japan for the next five years—through fiscal 2010. Among them, sensing technology represents a most noteworthy field. Sensor network technology, which enables connections to IP networks such as smart cards and RFID, is expected to play a vital role in the realization of a ubiquitous network society.
The integration of sensing technology and networks will enable the collection of diverse information such as personal information, product information and environmental data. Such a variety of information will be employed for customer services, B2B services and energy-saving measures. Technologies that are required for these purposes include the technology to manage terminals, such as smart cards, RFID, their readers and connection sensors, and to connect such terminals to IP networks. In addition, the technology to select the appropriate information from among a substantial volume of gathered information and to use such information efficiently will be increasingly in demand.
Smart cards: Start of full-scale smart card service and expansion of cooperation among service providers
Increased use of smart cards is expected for fiscal 2006, such as the use of smart cash cards for postal savings and the introduction of smart card tickets for metropolitan subway lines. In addition, three mobile communications operators started to offer mobile phones with built-in smart card functions. This means that some of the services employing smart cards will become available on mobile phones.
With progress in the establishment of environments where smartcard services can be used, cooperation among service providers has been expanded to promote the popularization of a variety of services such as electronic money, membership loyalty points and membership authentication. By fiscal 2010, the development of multiple applications of smart cards will be accelerated, which will increase the number of occasions for smart card use. At the same time, secure management of customer information will become increasingly important.
RFID: Technological verification towards full-scale
Currently, the introduction of RFID (IC tag) technology has begun in some libraries and stores in Japan. To further promote its utilization, an increasing number of verification tests are planned for the future, such as tests to verify the technology concerning the use of RFID under diverse environments and tests to introduce UHF-band RFID tags, which became available in Japan in 2005. In fiscal 2006, companies will begin to employ RFID tags for product shipment and delivery operations.
Following the use of RFID tags within a company for the management of materials and assets as well as in the logistics field, the use of RFID tags will be steadily expanded through their application in supply chains. If an RFID tag is attached to each item, due consideration must be given to user privacy. In addition, the middleware technology is expected to assume an important role in connecting and managing RFID readers and information systems as well as extracting needed information from among a considerable amount of information transmitted from an information system.
Sensor networks: Usage will be expanded for energy saving and in the medical and welfare fields
While activities to achieve the 6-percent reduction of greenhouse gas emission, which is stipulated for Japan in the Kyoto Protocol, have already started in a variety of fields, the roles that sensing technology can play in achieving this goal will also increase. In office buildings, the integration of infrastructures controlling air-conditioning and lighting functions and the centralized control of such integrated infrastructures will become commonplace. Subsequently, efforts to reduce energy consumption in an entire building by connecting sensors and networks will be accelerated. These efforts will include the integration of a building control network and an information network based on the IPv6 backbone network including use of illumination sensors, temperature sensors and motion sensors.
Sensor networks are also expected to be used in the fields of security, welfare, monitoring the natural environment, etc. At present, a service that monitors the current status within a home via a mobile phone by installing an IP camera and motion sensors is already available. In the future, low-cost sensor devices that can be used under extreme environments will become necessary for networks covering wide outdoor areas. This requires the development of technologies including wireless technology to facilitate the installation and operation of such devices.
The IT Road Map forecasts developments of information technology for the coming five years. It is drawn up to support customers in making strategic IT decisions. The IT Road Map is updated and announced by the NRI Technology Research Department every six months. On December 20, Toyo Keizai Inc. will publish a book entitled 2010-nen no IT rodo mappu (IT Road Map to 2010) written by the deprtment. In addition to sensing technology, this book provides information regarding the development of significant information technology through fiscal 2010. (The book is Japanese only.)
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