- Feb 22, 2023
SoftBank and Keio Research Institute at SFC
Launches “Digital Twin Campus Lab"
SoftBank Corp. (hereafter referred to as SoftBank) and the Keio Research Institute at SFC launched a joint initiative in 2021 with the aim of creating a society in which Internet communications can be delivered to more people, more places, and more things across the world, using 5G (5th generation mobile communication system). In June 2022, the “Digital Twin Campus Lab” was founded to research and develop next-generation information infrastructure.
The Digital Twin Campus Lab is a project focusing on next-generation campus networks that integrate physical and virtual spaces. It was set up at the Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (located in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, and referred to below as SFC) as a location for researching and developing next-generation information infrastructure that utilizes advanced technologies such as 5G and 6G, a next-generation mobile telecommunication system. The Lab started full-scale operations in October 2022.
SoftBank and the Keio Research Institute at SFC have been building an independently-run 5G network using Stand-Alone architecture※ since 2021 as part of establishing the Digital Twin Campus Lab. Preparations such as the digitalization of the campus space, which utilized 3D high-precision maps and point cloud data, have been made.
- ※Stand-Alone architecture: Cutting-edge technology combining new 5G exclusive core facilities used with 5G base stations, as opposed to the Non Stand-Alone format, in which systems are built by re-using traditional 4G core facilities and combining these with 5G base stations.
The Digital Twin Campus Lab is expected to implement the following four initiatives, by utilizing 5G and 6G technologies.
- 1.Sophisticated digitalization of the campus space using various sensors, dynamic picture image recognition, and spatial sensing
- 2.Finding and solving issues using the interconnection between the physical (the actual campus) and virtual (the digitalized campus) spaces
- 3.Research and development (R&D) on self-localization and other technologies
- 4.Research and promotion of expressive activities in virtual spaces
The Lab will also study privacy and security issues that arise when handling information such as that described above. It will also carry out R&D to lay a foundation for the creation and standardization of next-generation information infrastructure.
A symposium was held on September 29, 2022, ahead of the launch of the Digital Twin Campus Lab. During the event, an outline of the Digital Twin Campus Lab’s initiatives was presented, as well as its plans and visions for the future. Please follow the link below for
- *Video in Japanese Only
Mr. Osamu Nakamura, Senior Researcher (Full-time), Professor of the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies at the Keio Research Institute at SFC
“When the Keio Research Institute at SFC was established, it was provided with an advanced environment that assumed the Internet as its information infrastructure. The staff and students were able to freely use this infrastructure in their daily activities, thereby embodying the ideal of our future society by themselves, and coming to act as future leaders. Thirty years have passed since then, and information infrastructure, in particular wireless communications, has witnessed drastic technological innovation. We have reached a time where we need to reassess the next-generation campus environment so that it will support societal activities over the next thirty years, or in other words, set an example showing an ideal for the “standard information infrastructure of the future”. That’s how the Keio Research Institute at SFC came to set up the “Digital Twin Campus Lab” on June 1, 2022. At this lab, information infrastructure will be constructed using wireless communication technologies, including 5G. It will also support ventures such as self-localization technologies and the sharing of real-time information to be used for autonomous driving. Additionally, the “Digital Twin Campus Lab” will not be limited to just research within the university but will also aim to solve societal issues through a wide range of industry-academia partnerships.”
Ryuji Wakikawa, Vice President, Head of Research Institute of Advanced Technology at SoftBank Corp.
SoftBank set up the new Research Institute of Advanced Technology in April 2022. We carry out R&D for advanced technologies, including 5G, 6G, and autonomous driving, as well as applied research to enable these technologies to be utilized in other fields. In our R&D activities, one of our focuses is how quickly these technologies can be put into practical use. We believe that open collaborations that utilize the foresight possessed by the country and universities, as well as the expertise and progressiveness possessed by corporations will produce results that meet the needs of our current era and society. Our partnership with the Keio Research Institute at SFC is based on exactly this idea. Furthermore, this partnership also brought us a new R&D base, which has enabled us to incorporate cutting-edge technologies, including 5G and others, on a constant basis, in order to transform ourselves into a “comprehensive digital platformer”, which is one of our goals at SoftBank. Through these activities, we hope to change the current situation in which it is difficult to realize the use of superior technology in Japan. We also aim to thereby contribute to the development of future talent.
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