Information science and technology development has been remarkable, and its sophistication and diffusion in society is advancing even further. Together with the development of data processing technology and communications technology there are an increasing number of machines connecting to networks, and by 2020 that number will rise above 50B In 2025, 5.5B people are expected to be connected to the internet. These types of changes will either change industrial structures, or begin affecting personal lives and our society.
Until now, the real world (substantial society) has simply been a physical world, and the cyber world has been a group of computers bringing information to that physical world. However, together with the recent development and diffusion of Information science and technology such as Internet of Things (IoT), Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), and big data, the cyber world and physical world have come together in both personal and business social activities, and this unification is becoming more and more inseparable. The progression of this trend can, in the near future, realize a world where the cyber world and physical world have become one. Here at the Center for Research and Development Strategy (CRDS), we call this world “REALITY 2.0”.
This proposal focuses on technologies needed to construct service platforms in REALITY 2.0 and the advanced services that form the infrastructure for those platforms, and proposes research and development that should be worked on.
In the world of REALITY 2.0, the location of value is changing from “things” to “services through things”. When it comes to services provided by information and communications technology (ICT), American companies are dominating the world. However, when it comes to services provided in REALITY 2.0, “things” and “devices” are essential and Japan, which still possess international superiority in this field, must quickly begin implementing initiatives towards REALITY 2.0 in order to also leverage this advantage.
However, if each business operator individually conducts initiatives towards creating services, like how they have done up until now, problems will occur such as an increased difficulty responding to the various changing demands of users and the overlapping investments of social costs.
In order to solve this problem, the construction of a service platform which enables the joint use of necessary system components needs to be promoted. By doing so, it will become possible to not only construct services that dynamically combine needed functions, but also to provide support for various demands that change according to different situations. In addition, since functions can be used in a joint manner, business operator investments will be controlled and the reduction of social costs will also be achieved.
This proposal generally categorizes research and development issues towards this initiative and proposes the following 2 points:
The service platform’s common base technology
Technology for advancing the services of each application field
Ⅰ ．The service platform’s common base technology performs tasks ranging from creating service platforms in REALITY 2.0 to introducing entity defining lenses and creating service systems. As a specific technological issue, in order to import functions that are scattered and exist in society (things, people, computer resources, etc.) into the service platform, technological research is needed in order to: promote components in units of function, promote demands and demand acquisition needed to generate entity defining lenses for calling functions needed by service platforms, promote component integration for creating service systems using called functions, and also to operate service systems.
Ⅱ ．Technology for advancing the services of each application field targets technologies needed to advance services created from the service platform’s common base technology. This proposal conducted case studies on the 3 domains of (1) transportation and logistics services (2) healthcare & nursing, and (3) disaster prevention & disaster mitigation as adaptive regions of technology, and as a result has extracted the following research and development items:
（1） Technology for gathering and utilizing social resource information
（2） Technology that fuses & integrate dissimilar mixed data
（3） IoT technology that communicates massive amounts of data in real-time between people and things
（4） Edge computing technology
There is a need to match the needs of the industrial world with the seeds of academia, and to establish research and development targets in the promotion of research and development. In order to apply services in REALITY 2.0 to society, system integration needs to be conducted without stopping at the research and development of individual component technologies. In addition, there is also a need to evaluate those results through verification tests, etc., and to give those results as feedback to the research and development of individual component technologies. In order to do this, specific domains should be established, research and development targets that match industrial industry needs with academic seeds should be set, and both research and actual proof should be promoted simultaneously.
Research and development systems that include service providers will need to be constructed in order to empirically verify advanced services towards accomplishing these research and development targets. Essential members for this task are target domain specialists, component technology researchers, and researchers for creating systems. In addition, research on “operating technology” for operating the service platform needs to be conducted simultaneously.
Moreover, empirical research and development for component technology and the service platform needs to be conducted based on data obtained from services. Due to this, it will be favorable for companies and public institution domain researchers to cooperate with one another and for research and service development to progress side by side. Furthermore, when it comes to service platform development, there will be a need to develop individual component technology, interfaces with services, and entity defining lenses while considering international standardization.
From the perspective of empirically verifying services it will be essential to add humanities and social scientists. In addition, if data that can possibly interfere with the protection of personal information is to be handled, then considerations must be made on cooperating with legal experts to design and plan systems for sharing and circulating data.
From research and development until the commercialization of services, component technology, service platform creation, and service construction should all proceed in parallel, the time invested between each phase such as basic research, practical research, verification tests, etc. should be shortened as much as possible, and extracted problematic issues should be given as feedback in spiral-type fashion.
Regarding the progression method for detailed research and development, specific domains will be established in strategic basic research programs such as CREST, and research and development will be implemented in anticipation of the commercialization of services. At first, research will progress on a small scale from basic research to verification tests, then feedback regarding issues obtained there will be given to basic research. From there, continuous efforts will be made to clarify issues towards service commercialization and towards actual social applications, and the scale of actual proof and the degree of social application will gradually be expanded. At that time, cooperation with the COI (Center of Innovation) program and the participation of venture capitalists towards commercialization should also be examined.
If the goal of commercialization is established during the verification test phase, then it will be important to quickly implement obtained results in society by appropriately mediating with industrialization, commercialization, etc. programs (A-STEP, START, etc.) and proceed to commercializing services.
When commercializing services, it will be favorable to extract social issues and decide on solutions in advance. Accordingly, consideration should be given towards conducting joint development by asking for special zones utilization, local resident participation, and cooperation from NPOs regarding verification tests and the extraction of social issues.
Moreover, in preparation for REALITY 2.0’s diffusion and expansion into the global society as a whole, there is a need to educate and raise the next generation of personnel through this research along with promoting innovative exploratory research in order for Japan to continue standing in the leading line of research.
The development of Information science and technology and its diffusion and expansion into society continues to progress, and the fusion and integration of the physical world and the cyber world are steadily continuing. As a result, it is thought that the world of REALITY 2.0 will inevitably come true. For that reason, it is important to spearhead pioneering global initiatives for research and development towards REALITY 2.0