[CEATEC] Opportunities Lie in 'Non-Web' Area, Says 'Information Grand Voyage Project' Chair

Oct 2, 2008
Yousuke Ogasawara, Nikkei Electronics
Professor Masaru Kitsuregawa, the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, delivered a speech on the "Information Grand Voyage Project" at CEATEC JAPAN 2008.
Professor Masaru Kitsuregawa, the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, delivered a speech on the "Information Grand Voyage Project" at CEATEC JAPAN 2008.
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Masaru Kitsuregawa, a professor of the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, delivered a keynote speech titled "Value Creation through Digital Fusion in the Information Grand Voyage" Oct 1, 2008, at CEATEC JAPAN 2008.

Kitsuregawa is the first chairman of the Information Grand Voyage Project Consortium.

He discussed the outline of the "Information Grand Voyage Project" aimed at creating new value from information amid the ongoing "information explosion" phenomenon, where the amount of information in circulation is continuously and rapidly growing.

Also, three companies including NTT DoCoMo Inc outlined some examples of researches and applications being developed in the project.

Commenting on the ongoing information explosion phenomenon and the ways to acquire necessary information amid the phenomenon, Kitsuregawa said, "Google and some other major search engines succeeded as they suited the digitalized form of information on the Web. In this situation, I would have no chance for commercial success if I were to set up, for example, the 'Hinomaru (Japanese) Search Engine' because the forerunners are overwhelmingly benefiting from their head start."

"However, Web information can not cover everything in the information explosion," he said. "Therefore, business chances lie in 'non-Web' information, which isn't available on the Internet."

To create significant services in the non-Web area, we have to observe people by detecting and measuring them with sensors and accumulating data, he said. Furthermore, it is effective to use mobile phones, which most individuals carry around all the time, as sensors, he added.

NTT DoCoMo explained its "My Life Assist" verification service. The service formulates an action pattern by collecting and integrating information concerning a person's actions using his/her mobile phone. Then, the service provides recommendations (information about recommended items) for his/her "next" action presumed by the action pattern.

Recommendations will be selected in accordance with the history of his/her actions and the database will be created by analyzing many other people's actions. The companies use an API to offer the information about individual actions to the service providers on the Internet after making the information anonymous and abstracting the data to protect the privacy of the source.

Kyuden Infocom Company Inc demonstrated its technology to guess what action a person is taking by collecting information from an acceleration sensor on the waist via the Zigbee network and analyzing the information in chronological order. Although only basic actions such as standing, walking and sitting were predicted in the demonstration, the technology can predict actions such as riding on a train and eating a meal, the company said.

Relevant firms including Kyuden Infocom are considering applying this action analysis technology to disease control assistant systems to prevent lifestyle diseases, the company said.

Oki Electric Industry Co Ltd demonstrated an interactive job transfer information site that it is developing with Recruit Co Ltd. If a user answers to a question asked by the computer in a natural language, the Website analyzes and derives elements from the response. Then the computer asks deeper questions and repeats the process again and again to explore the user's needs. This research method is called "laddering."

The Information Grand Voyage Project is the research and development of a new information search and analysis technology concerning the "intelligent information access" area. And it is jointly conducted by industry, the government and academia. The Information Grand Voyage Project Consortium was established in July 2006, originated from a study group at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.