High-tech companies take on urban design with smart cities

January 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: Toshiba to cut costs by $3.5 bln

0 shares

Related Stories

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.

Japan looking to sell 'smart' cities to the world

October 7, 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.

Japan backs firms' green city projects abroad

January 6, 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.

Recommended for you

Software turns smartphones into tools for medical research

July 27, 2015

Jody Kearns doesn't like to spend time obsessing about her Parkinson's disease. The 56-year-old dietitian from Syracuse, New York, had to give up bicycling because the disorder affected her balance. But she still works, drives ...

Where is solar power headed?

July 22, 2015

Most experts agree that to have a shot at curbing the worst impacts of climate change, we need to extricate our society from fossil fuels and ramp up our use of renewable energy.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.