TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo

Interest throughout the world is being drawn to the Ubiquitous ID mechanism, the core technology of ubiquitous computing that the TRON Project is now putting the most effort into. The basic concept behind ubiquitous computing is recognizing real space and judging the situation, in other words, "context awareness."

Recognition of things, recognition of people, recognition of space and environment. Among these, interest in recognition of things is rising worldwide with an eye toward early practicalization. We will attach RFID chip tags to various things. Depending on the use, it doesn't matter even if we use a barcode. Although there are still a lot of problems with RFIDs, in cases where they operate well, there are also many advantages. By uniquely recognizing all things, the obtaining of information and the management of things can be effectively carried out.

One thing we have recently learned is that in the U.S. because there are a lot of losses of merchandise in the distribution process, using these in management called supply chain management is the main focus. However, in Japan and the Asian region, regardless of whether a people-as-evil perception that puts employees and customers under surveillance around the clock can be liked, the main point, as we are advocating in our project, concerns providing useful data to end users, such as information about groceries for safety and peace of mind, or information about medicines to prevent incorrect administering. That interest is in the system the Ubiquitous ID Center inside the T-Forum is promoting is rising is based on this type of reason.

Interest from countries in Asia is particularly high. Recently, tie-ups with Asian nations were concluded in rapid succession. First, on the basis of an agreement with the RFID Association of Korea when I visited Korea in February, in March, a delegation came to Japan, and we exchanged a "Memorandum of Understanding on the Business Partnership Regarding RFID International Cooperation." The RFID Association of Korea is institution for promoting RFID technology that government offices similar to Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; plus civil corporations represented by Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom, etc., and universities jointly created. A partnership in which they will spread our Ubiquitous ID technology, establish a Ubiquitous ID center in Korea, and promote verification trials is what was concluded in March.

In addition, in April, we visited China where we concluded a basic agreement on ubiquitous computing technology with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government institution. The agreement was concluded with the Institute of Computing Technology affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is the computer research institute in the position of greatest leadership in China. In it, it has been decided that the Institute of Computing Technology will create a TRON ubiquitous open platform laboratory, carry out porting and localization of open T-Engine technology and ubiquitous technology, and conduct joint research and development on Ubiquitous ID technology as a prerequisite toward the establishment of a Chinese Ubiquitous ID center.

If we also include the establishment of the TRON Application Development Center (TEADEC) in Singapore last year, the situation is that bases in Asia come to three locations. Outside of that, we have also concluded a partnership with Peking University in which I recently assumed the duties of a visiting professor, and as we attach importance to human resource training also, we will also carry out training concerning T-Engine and Ubiquitous ID technologies inside Peking University. Together with Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, concrete discussion of educational institutions comes to two, and they aren't merely doing research and development or setting up Ubiquitous ID centers, but rather in order to operate and maintain them, human resource training in each country has also begun. Although this year marks 20 years since we began the TRON Project, hereafter I would like to actively advance overseas. I am very happy that development centers have come into existence in the Asian region across this type of background.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 87 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

Copyright © 2004 Personal Media Corporation

Copyright © 2004 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo