Japan has been working on smart city projects for many years now. The country is witnessing growing initiatives aiming at establishing smart cities. Apart from that, smart cities in Japan are no longer a dream but soon to be a mere reality due to the growing contribution of various companies. Well-renowned firms, such as Toyota and Panasonic, are focusing on establishing smart cities. Nearly 200 companies, along with universities, local governments, and public sectors, are contributing to this new era of smart cities by joining Smart City Institute Japan, which is a non-profit organization. This organization aims at connecting sectors committed to the development of smart cities.
According to a study by Astute Analytica, the Japan Smart Cities Market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% over the forecast period from 2022 to 2027.
Toyota made headlines in the past as the firm announced to establish a smart city. According to the information, this 175-acre smart city will allow residents to take advantage of the capabilities of robotics, smart homes, and AI. Toyota announced its plan to build this smart city at the base of Mount Fuji, which will have nearly 2,000 Toyota employees and their families. The city will also be home to retailers, scientists, and other retired couples.
The company also shared some news in February 2021 about its ambitious project, Woven City. Toyota’s smart city aims at connecting mobility research and solutions efficiently with the rapidly growing digitized world. As per the information shared by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, the company has received applications from nearly 3000 individuals and corporations for project partnerships. However, the initial plan is, to begin with, 360 city residents, with a primary focus on senior citizens.
Panasonic is also significantly contributing to this new smart era. The company was among the primary companies to successfully introduce the smart city in Japan. Panasonic aims to return to the community by creating an urban development that would be sustainable for 100 years.
Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (FSST) was founded in 2014 with the support of 18 different businesses, universities, local governments, and residential organizations. Currently, there are nearly 2000 people in the town. The firm targets five focus areas, including security, energy, community, mobility, and wellness for its smart city. The major m behind this initiative was to reduce 70% of CO2 emissions and 30% of water consumption. Furthermore, renewable energy will account for 30% of total energy consumption in the city.
In 2018, Panasonic also unveiled its plan to build a ‘smart city’ in Colorado. The project will also include high-tech highways, autonomous vehicles, and free WiFi. This new smart city, a part of its project CityNow, will be built near Denver, Colorado. With this initiative, the firm intends to turn the area into a “smart city,” by the year 2026.
Shimizu Corporation also introduced a smart town in Tokyo’s Toyoso. Unlike Marunouchi and Nihonbashi, the Toyosu area is surrounded by water, greenery, and nature, according to information. The firm has also built an office where people can work while enjoying the wind, sunshine, and good views from the roof floor. In addition to that, tenants can also easily contact each other.
Accenture and the University of Aizu
Accenture, in collaboration with the University of Aizu, is also working on a smart city, which will be built in Fukushima Prefecture. The organization made headlines in 2020 as they announced to conduct joint research to introduce the API marketplace for smart cities.
This project will assist local governments, stakeholders and companies, and other stakeholders in developing and benefiting from new data linkages. Aizuwakamatsu’s smart city projects have already begun, incorporating sectors like agriculture, mobility, education, childcare, tourism, and healthcare. Citizens can log-in and participate in their student’s academic progress, and receive real-time updates on snowplow activity, majorly for those residing in snowbound regions. Moreover, the Takeda General Hospital will also allow patients to pay with their smartphones.
In fact, Japan sets the standard for innovation and the importance of providing resources to its citizens. For example, Japan offers expecting mothers an extended period of maternity leave prior and post giving birth. They also have special benefits such as reserved seating on public transportation, different daycare programs to fit the needs of families, paternity leave and more. While many countries are behind the advancement of daycare in comparison to Japan, there are ways to find the kind of premier daycare you’re looking for. Whether in the United States or the UK, there are resources to find a daycare suitable for your family’s needs.
Plug and Play
Plug and Play, a global venture accelerator that partners with leading companies to support startups with innovative technologies and ideas, made headlines related to its expansion to Osaka by the end of 2020. With these initiatives, the firm aims to combat several issues, such as demographics, revitalizing buildings, and natural disasters.
Plug and Play also announced to launch of a smart city accelerator program in Japan, with the goal of making the Keihanshin metropolitan area one of the world’s leading startup ecosystems. So far, the firm has implemented five programs in Japan.
Smart cities are rapidly growing in numbers in Japan. In no time, Japan’s smart cities will be a mere reality and will be spread across the entire country. These projects not only focus on sustainability but also offer an advanced lifestyle to the residents. Organizations are continuously thriving with the sole aim to establish a smart city. Moreover, there are also plans to unleash a human-centered smart society named Society 5.0. Towns like Aizuwakamatsu and Arao are adopting the latest technology aimed at combating existing problems and enhancing people’s well-being. Moreover, there is a well-being mirror, which can detect the pulse of the users and provide AI analysis related to their physical characteristics. The mirror can efficiently tell the age, gender, smile, and mood of the users by rating their health, cheerfulness, and kindness of the user.