Regional IoT and Informative Force Research Consortium


A smart city uses the power of information to enrich people’s lives, and does so by collecting information from the city, analyzes it using a variety of techniques, and gives those results as feedback to the city. There, three industries organically cooperate with one another: the primary information industry, which directly gathers information from physical space; the secondary information industry, which purchases information and manufactures personalized information on a large scale; and the tertiary information industry, which distributes those types of information. In this manner, valuable information, namely, information goods are circulated. New economic development is expected by adding the trade of information goods in addition to the trade of physical goods. Furthermore, each information good offers some kind of benefit such as improving convenience, safety, and enjoyment in a variety of fields such as medical care & healthcare, environment, disaster prevention & mitigation, public works, construction, and agriculture. On the other hand, our current information technology that targets real space is at a primitive level, with only hunting and gathering (i.e. sensing) functions. Machine learning technologies have advanced in recent years, and this is taking the information technology to the next level. However, individual companies, local governments, and countries, etc. are confining information they have sensed to their own storages (i.e. databases), and no progress is being made to applying that data.

Some efforts regarding smart cities are limited to small-scale demonstrations and have not become essential solutions. In order to realize a future smart city that is achieved through the secondary and tertiary industries of information technology, there is a need to comprehensively sense a vast amount of information that primarily exists in cities. However, only an extremely limited amount of information can currently be sensed. As a result, there have been delays to the development of information manufacturing technology used for understanding the status of cities and predicting future conditions, as well as the generation of services that apply that kind of technology. In the future, there will be a need for technology that senses all types of information on cities, including data generated by the 50 billion IoT devices that are said to exist in 2020. Additionally, there is a need to create smart cities that enrich the lives of people by applying technologies such as deep learning and other machine learning, and by generating services that use the power of information in a variety of fields including smart homes, smart mobility, and smart cities.

In that regard, this consortium aims to promote the research and education listed below with the goal of creating a smart city through industry-government-academia cooperation. By doing so, SFC will be established as an international smart city center of excellence.

Issue 1: Comprehensive information acquisition technology from real space
To promote research, development, and education on various technologies such as using machinery (sensors) to directly acquire information, acquiring information using the 5 human senses, and virtual acquisition from webpages, etc.

Issue 2: Cross-industrial distribution technology for real space information
To promote research, development, and education on technologies, systems, etc. that are used to distribute information obtained from real space, including personal data. In some cases, these technologies, systems, etc. are used to widely distribute information in return for compensation.

Issue 3: Service generating technology that uses real space information
To promote research, development, and education on various technologies used to realize services that provide new and valuable information that was processed by combining multiple pieces of information, acquired from real space, into multiple stages.

Issue 4: Using real space information to solve regional issues
To apply technologies that acquire and distribute real space information, and generate services, to help solve regional issues by compiling a package that can be used particularly at a municipal level.

A cooperative agreement has been signed between the SFC and Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture, and based on this agreement the Laboratory Representative is currently cooperating with the City to promote several projects regarding smart cities. Various regional issues exist there since Fujisawa City has a wide variety of areas, including densely inhabited districts, farming areas, areas with aging populations, areas mainly occupied by young adults, and inland and coastal areas. For this reason, advanced efforts will be made with an aim to trigger innovation from SFC, starting from Fujisawa City and will expand towards other local governments.

Outline of research activity plans (1st year)

Research Plan

Technical Issues (Issues 1-3)

  • Development & evaluation of underlying technology

Empirical Issue (Issue 4)

  • Grasp of regional issues, development of local government’s real space information catalogue
  • Promotion of demonstration experiments (experiments related to the environment, watching over the elderly, and transportation)

Activity Plan

Holding of Research Meetings (Every Month)

  • The status of efforts for each issue will be shared and discussed among members.

Researchers, managers and professors

Jin NakazawaDirector Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies
Takuro Yonezawa Project Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Tadashi Okoshi Project Associate Professor Graduate School of Media and Governance
Yin Chen Project Assistant Professor Graduate School of Media and Governance