High-tech companies take on urban design with smart cities

Jan 18, 2012 The Yomiuri Shimbun

Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and other major Japanese electronics makers are increasingly turning their sights toward "smart city" projects designed to create eco-friendly, energy-efficient communities.

In the wake of the March earthquake in Japan, smart cities are considered to be a crucial part of the government's energy-saving policy. Such projects are already under way overseas, particularly in urban developments in newly emerging economies.

Other electronics companies, including General Electric Co., are also gearing up to enter the market, intensifying competition for orders.

The concept of a smart city refers to urban designs that maximize conservation of the environment by utilizing such as solar and wind power, based on the introduction of a next-generation power supply control technology called a smart grid.

Hitachi plans to take part in smart city plans in Dalian, China, as well as one in the city of Kashiwa, Japan.

Urban development plans inspired by the smart city concept have been spawning a wide range of new demand for technologies such as and electric vehicles.

The market for smart city projects worldwide is expected to expand to about 160 trillion yen in 2015 and 230 trillion yen in 2030, according to estimates by Nikkei BP Clean Tech Institute.

To ramp up its smart city development activities, Hitachi is considering setting up an in-house group specializing in smart city planning that would be self-supporting and responsible for its sales and profits.

The company has set a sales goal for its smart city department at about 350 billion yen ($4.6 billion) for fiscal 2015, up 50 percent from fiscal 2010.

Toshiba plans to participate in 20 smart city projects in various parts of the world, including a demonstration model in Lyon, France.

With the aim of winning large number of smart city contracts, Toshiba established on Jan. 1 a department for planning information technology services under the direct supervision of the firm's president.

The company set a sales goal for its global smart city-related business activities for fiscal 2015 at about 900 billion yen, more than double the projected sales for fiscal 2011.

The smart city concept is also being incorporated into recovery projects for Japanese regions struck by the March's earthquake and tsunami.

Hitachi plans to help create an eco-friendly, energy-efficient city in Sendai, Japan, while Toshiba plans to realize its smart city ideas in the city of Ishinomaki, Japan.

Explore further: Old timey car to replace NYC horse carriages shown

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan backs firms' green city projects abroad

Jan 06, 2011

Japan is financially backing its companies that are seeking to build "green cities" -- communities with low pollution and renewable energies -- in India and elsewhere, a report said Thursday.

Japan looking to sell 'smart' cities to the world

Oct 07, 2010

There were gadgets and robots galore at Japan's premier electronics show this week. But one of the biggest attractions wasn't anything you could touch - an energy efficient city of the future.

Toshiba to cut costs by $3.5 bln

May 24, 2009

Japanese electronics giant Toshiba plans to reduce fixed costs 10 percent more than previously announced, a news report said on Sunday.

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 0

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...