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C&C User Forum & iEXPO2016 Keynote Speech

NEC: A Driver of the Digital Industrial Revolution
Creating a society that is safe, secure, efficient, and equal

November 24, 2016

Global megatrends and digital technology waves

Today I would like to talk primarily about the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) using various case studies, under the theme, NEC: A Driver of the Digital Industrial Revolution.

Takashi Niino
President and CEO (Representative Director)
NEC Corporation

First, let's look at the environment we live in. The global population is expected to grow from the current 7 billion to over 9 billion in 2050, which is an over 1.3-fold increase. The urban population in particular will increase 1.8-fold from 3.5 billion to 6.3 billion. As a result of the extreme concentration of populations in urban areas, from 2030 to 2050, movement of things is expected to increase 2.4 fold, demand for food 1.7 fold, and amount of waste generated 2.1 fold.

On the other hand, in the ICT domain, computing power has increased by 570,000 times in the past 20 years, and the transmission rates of mobile networks will increase 100,000 fold in the 20 years from 2000 to 2020. Data indicating the states of things and contexts are collected in real time via IoT. As a result, by 2020, we can expect to see about 6,500 times more data in the world than there was in 2000.

The eyes of the world are focused on the Internet of Things or IoT. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications,* there will be 53 billion devices connected via the Internet by 2020. That is equivalent to around seven devices for every person in the world. The rapid spread of IoT will lead us into a new era of pervasive connectivity. In this new era, the wide variety of data obtained from all these connected devices will give rise to many different “contexts.” This will instantly provide us with many more opportunities to utilize data, as well as to create new value.

Likewise, AI is also gaining much attention recently. The news that an artificial intelligence program defeated the Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol attracted tremendous interest. It was previously thought that it would take many years before artificial intelligence reached a level high enough to beat a human opponent. However, through a revolutionary technology called deep learning, the artificial intelligence program was able to quickly evolve by learning a vast number of matches. After a computer program beat a human at chess in 1997, it took artificial intelligence 16 years to progress to the level of Shogi (Japanese chess). It then took less than three years to reach the level of Go. This illustrates just how quickly artificial intelligence has evolved.

NEC has established the Seven Themes for Social Value Creation through which we aim to utilize ICT to address the global issues facing society. These themes are:

  1. Sustainable Earth
  2. Safer Cities & Public Services
  3. Lifeline Infrastructure
  4. Communication
  5. Industry Eco-System
  6. Work Style
  7. Quality of Life

These themes are being addressed through NEC's “Solutions for Society” business.

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