The Strategist

Japan opens a sustainable smart town of the future

03/28/2018 - 08:10

The "smart" city of Tsunashima has been officially opened not far from Yokohama, Japan. A group of eight large Japanese companies, led by the technological giant Panasonic and the developer Nomura Real Estate and supported by local authorities, have been building the city for several years.

Tsunashima is a smart metropolis of the future. Its territory consists of are a multifunctional office building, an eco-friendly residential complex, an "smart" mall, an Apple research laboratory, a Keio University student campus, a hydrogen charging station and other futuristic facilities. In the future, Tsunashima will become a business incubator, a test platform and a real embodiment of innovations in business, education and everyday life. 

Of course, there are no flying taxis from futuristic movies. But many technologies implemented in the "smart" metropolis have no analogues.

Tsunashima and urban infrastructure management will be operated by the Smart City Information Modeling (SCIM) information modeling platform, developed by Obayashi, one of Japan's leading design firms. The SCIM system represents the city in the form of an interactive 3D model that constantly receives data from sensors and cameras installed at various points in Tsunashima. Thanks to this platform, SCIM can visualize a "smart" city from various points of view.

Panasonic sensors installed in the territory of Tsunashima can continuously monitor the state of the environment: temperature, humidity, ultraviolet radiation, rainfall, CO2 level, the amount of suspended particles and pollen. Based on the information received, the shopping center will adjust product its range and offer the residents and guests of Tsunashima services and goods that they need the most. For example, if the level of pollen in the air increases (the flowering of plants began), additional medicines for allergic persons or masks can be delivered to the pharmacy.

Sensory cameras with built-in video analytics will be able to track and visualize the number, age and sex composition of visitors to the city and other useful information. Infrared sensors will record location of people at certain points and build "heat maps" with the help of a special algorithm. This technology will be useful to identify places of mass congestion, popular routes and much more. The sensors will also create a comfortable indoor microclimate.

As early as April 2018, the smart city will be put into direct operation. A multifunctional administrative center, combined with a security center, will begin to operate in the heart of Tsunashima. The territory of the city will become a testing arena for new generation security systems based on artificial intelligence and other technologies. The passenger service Sunautas of Yokohama organizes a system of car renting and bicycle rental. Honda Motor will launch a car sharing system of fuel cells cars.

Innovations will be at the center of the attention there. Panasonic Corporation and Keio University organize special studios to exchange ideas and dialogue between representatives of business, science, the local community and authorities. The most promising ideas are planned to be finalized to ready-made business models and commercialized.

An energy center, located in the heart of the city, will regulate production and consumption of electricity, providing commercial and residential facilities with clean energy and backup power in case of natural disasters. The highly efficient heating system of the Tokyo Gas Group based on household gas will be used to produce electricity, heat houses and heat water. Gas deliveries will be carried out via special earthquake-proof gas pipelines of medium pressure, which will not stop working even in case of natural disasters.

Created with the participation of JX Nippon Oil & Energy corporation, the hydrogen filling station will serve environmentally friendly cars with fuel cells. A variety of sensors, seismic-resistant materials and structures will be used to ensure safety.

The traditional principles of Japanese culture combined with modern technologies will create a healthy and safe environment for the life and work of students from different countries in the International Campus of Keio University. Its premises will be easily adaptable to any task thanks to light controllers that regulate lighting, as well as Space Player systems, a unique symbiosis of lighting and projection technologies that allow transforming spaces using projection and architectural lighting (micromapping). Industrial air cleaners will ensure air purity, quickly removing microorganisms, viruses and harmful substances from the atmosphere, and LED indicator systems will facilitate communication among students and guests.

A smart multi-apartment complex is built for Tsunashima residents. Each apartment will be equipped with a Smart HEMS system and household batteries, thanks to which the residents can live eco-friendly life without compromising their habits and comfort. Batteries connected to elevators will ensure their continuous operation even in the event of interruptions on external power lines.