Monday, October 19, 2015

No. 880: Controlling flood damage with the aid of information technology (October 19, 2015)

Responding to the increasing number of flood disasters lately, leading IT companies are accelerating their efforts to develop IT-based disaster prevention systems. NTT Data has developed a system to manage disaster information on such issues as landslide quickly using its cloud technology. Fujitsu made it possible to forecast the place where sewage flood occurs and predict the time when it occurs.

The system developed by NTT Data collects weather data by dividing the target area into one-kilometer square and displays such data as rainfall on a PC or tablet. Thereby, local residents can collect data with their terminals as soon as they foresee a possible landside and flood disaster to sound a red alert well in advance of the arrival of the disaster. By utilizing cloud computing and smartphones, the company succeeded in reducing the construction cost of the system to one third of the existing product to about 100 million yen. It is planning to sell this system not only in the domestic market but also in foreign markets.

Fujitsu developed a system to detect damage caused by water flown out from sewage in big rainfall. The system installs a measurement device with sensor on the sewage pipe at intervals of about one kilometer and measures level and amount of water in real time. Collected data will be analyzed and used to predict place and time of flooding to call on residents to evacuate. The annual running cost of the system is 10 million yen for every 1,000 measuring devices. The running cost is less than one tenth of the current level.

Major companies working on the control of damage caused by global warming
Company name
It developed a system to estimate flood of sewage
It developed a system to detect a landside disaster
NTT Data
It developed a disaster management system combined with elaborate weather forecast. It has already put this system on the market.
IBM Japan
It developed an integrated system that can manage disaster information and products in evacuation centers.
It is conducting demonstration experiments of a system to predict flood and torrential rainfall.
Some researchers predict that world damages caused by flood will increase 170 times from 2015 to about 1 trillion dollars in 2050 unless measures are worked out. 

What reaction do people show when they get an alarm mail on their smartphones?
An experiment in Osaka that covered more than 8 million people

Restoration activities after the Great East Japan Earhthquake

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No. 879: Increasing the competitive edge of Japanese agriculture (October 8, 2015)

It goes without saying that Japan has to increase the competitive edge of its agriculture to cope with the agreement on the picture of the PPT negotiations. Hitachi and the Softbank Group have jointly announced that they will launch the “e-kakashi (scarecrow or bird scanner), which is the support system to help farmers confirm crop’s growing environment, on the 14th of October. Farmers can confirm easily the growing environment of their crop by installing a device that incorporates a senor in their fields to secure the quality of their products.

The new service asks farmers to install a special device with a sensor to measure such data as temperature, amount of insolation, and soil moisture. Collected data will be transmitted to cloud automatically and farmers can see them with their smartphones. No initial setting is required, and what farmers have to do is just switching on the system. Every farmer can operate this system quite easily. The special device can run continuously for three years on the condition that it measures the environment every 10 minutes. Farmers can pick the function to show the optimal environment depending on such growth stages as seeding and sprouting. The system is available for 749,600 yen and up excluding tax, and users have to pay usage charge of 7,980 yen per month. Hitachi builds the device using its internet-of-things technology.

Yano Research Institute, one of Japan’s leading research firms, predicts that the Japanese domestic market of smart agriculture, which is supported by IT technology for better efficiency, will increase to about 31 billion yen in 2020, five times bigger than in 2013. The JAKurikyo in Miyagi Prefecture is scheduled to introduce the system on trial ahead of other agricultural cooperatives with the expectation that the system will help stabilize crop’s quality. 

Smartphone to manage rice cropping

Science changes agriculture and fishery