The era has repeated research and development, and we are now entering an era of development by smart cities. It can be said that the construction industry is the most advanced in high-tech. In the future, development will be centered on the construction industry.
What is the "digital general contractor" that holds the key to the smart city concept that has changed drastically due to the corona disaster?
"Society 5.0" is advocated as the future society that Japan should aim for. The "smart city" is said to be the place to realize this in advance. The purpose is to solve the problems of each city and create new value by improving the efficiency and sophistication of the functions and services of cities and regions by utilizing advanced ICT technology. However, with the spread of the new coronavirus infection, changes are being seen in efforts to realize smart cities. We will explain the "latest trends in smart cities in the corona wreck", which is closely related to the fintech area, including payments and super apps.
IT journalist Katsumi Tanaka
What is a smart city that can handle infectious disease control services?
(Photo / Getty Images)
Smart cities move from "concept" stage to "implementation" stage
A "smart city" that functions as a sustainable city by solving the problems faced by urban areas by utilizing new technologies such as ICT. Many cities around the world are moving towards its realization. In Japan, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism plays a leading role, and a smart city-type urban development model implementation project is being developed all over the country through a promotion system in which the public and private sectors cooperate.
Regarding the progress of smart cities, Hironari Muraoka, General Manager of Global Infrastructure Consulting Department, Consulting Business Headquarters, Nomura Research Institute (NRI), pointed out that "smart cities are progressing from the concept stage to the implementation stage," and "the new Corona The spread of viral infections will further accelerate the implementation of smart cities. "
Mr. Muraoka cites the following three reasons for accelerating the implementation of smart cities.
Digital technology can also be used to solve urban problems
Lifestyles that utilize digital technology have become easier to penetrate into society as we shift to new lifestyles such as non-contact.
Increased tolerance for the use of data collected from cities
On the other hand, new issues that hinder the implementation of smart cities are becoming clear. NRI has published the "Smart City Latest Trends" report in late August 2020, summarizing the issues, concepts, and promotion systems that were noticed during various implementation projects in Japan and overseas. In this paper, based on the contents of the report, we will explain how smart cities changed during the after-corona era.
"New coronavirus" which became a new urban problem
Urban problems that should be solved by smart cities have been caused by the concentration of population in cities. Examples of urban problems before Corona included "environmental deterioration such as air pollution and traffic jams" and "long-distance commuting." However, the corona wreck has brought to light new urban problems.
Mr. Keitaro Ishigami, Principal of Global Infrastructure Consulting Department, NRI Consulting Business Headquarters, asserts that "the new coronavirus will be a new urban problem."
Outbreaks are likely to occur in urban areas where the population is concentrated. For example, looking at the "Transition of cumulative new coronavirus infections by prefecture" from February to the end of July 2020, about 70% of the total number of infected people nationwide is Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba. It occurs in 6 prefectures: prefecture, Osaka prefecture, and Aichi prefecture. The population of these areas accounts for about 41% of the national population, suggesting that infected people are concentrated in metropolitan areas.
Changes in the cumulative number of people infected with the new coronavirus by prefecture in Japan
(Source: Created by NRI based on the published values of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and each prefecture)
In addition, in urban areas where population concentration tends to cause "three density" on a daily basis, the living environment is such that infection can easily spread through daily movement. Another characteristic of the city is that the proportion of people with unknown infection routes is high because the movements of individuals cannot be tracked and grasped due to the constant flow of people. The rate of people with unknown infection routes on August 13 in Tokyo is over 60%.
New coronavirus has become a new urban problem
(Source: NRI lecture material)
Infection prevention measures utilizing digital technology have increased rapidly
Under such circumstances, efforts are underway to utilize digital technology as a measure to prevent the spread of infection.
For example, there is an application that uses a smartphone or a surveillance camera to track which store, building, or facility a person visited and who they contacted. In addition, after tracking and understanding the infection route, it is possible to encourage close contacts to perform tests, and to monitor the outing management and behavior of isolated patients by chat or AI. Furthermore, managers of buildings and facilities can check the safety based on the health information reported to the smartphone app and allow visitors to enter the room.
In China and other countries, the introduction of digital technology is progressing as a measure against corona. Such data utilization examples will be an important function of smart cities in the future. However, some overseas cases cannot be used in Japan unless privacy issues are resolved.
Examples of digital technology introduced as a countermeasure against the new coronavirus infection
(Source: Created by NRI from various published documents)
In addition, services that utilize mobility, robots, drones, etc. are being created one after another. These services will create a new living environment that restricts the movement and contact of people, and will also be the cornerstone of smart cities with a data infrastructure that can handle infectious disease control services.
Smart technology that can handle both normal times and emergencies, and the introduction of architectural and urban space standards are required.
(Source: NRI lecture material)
A smart city equipped with a data infrastructure that can also handle infectious disease control services. The payment function is an indispensable point for financial functions such as points.
(Source: NRI lecture material)
Work styles are diversifying due to the spread of infectious diseases. For example, create an environment where you can work anywhere you like, such as at home, in a satellite office near your home, or in a shared office. You can also live wherever you like, such as moving your residence from the city center to the suburbs. As a result, some companies that have increased telework employees have reduced office space or stopped paying commuter passes.
Although these new work styles have merits for both employees and companies, it is necessary to consider points to be improved such as attendance management, security measures, and review of salary system. It will become clear how it will affect smart cities.
Expectations for "mobility services" that enhance the attractiveness of cities
"Traffic problem" is one of the serious problems of urban problems. NRI believes that mobility services are effective in solving urban traffic problems.
For example, for vulnerable people such as elderly people who are restricted from moving, "on-demand bus" and "bicycle sharing" that support the movement of a small number of people within a narrow range, and the short distance from the station to home It can be assumed that a "personal mobility service" will be provided for transportation.
It is also possible to utilize the data collected by these services to alleviate traffic congestion and reduce traffic accidents. 3 By using it for avoiding denseness and analyzing infection routes, it will also contribute to finding effective measures for the restoration of urban functions.
In addition, mobility services can be expected to improve the attractiveness and value of smart cities. Eiichiro Takami, Principal, Global Infrastructure Consulting Department, NRI Consulting Business Headquarters, said, "Adding value to mobility services," "Improvement of urban attractiveness and competitiveness," "Creation of new mobility demand," "Utilization of mobility-related data and urban issues." We present four directions of "solution".