‘Ubiquitous’ Internet zone to test IT lifestyle

Kyodo News

The government will set up a special zone next fiscal year to test “ubiquitous” Internet technology in situations as varied as providing medical services for the elderly, preventing car accidents and buying vegetables, officials said Saturday.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry hopes the experiment will lead in a couple of years to groundbreaking telecommunications technologies and nationwide consumer-friendly services, the officials said.

The special deregulation zone for achieving the ubiquitous network — a system allowing everyone and everything to be connected anytime and anywhere by Internet technology — is expected to be set up in an area where there is less radio wave interference.

The most likely candidates are Hokkaido and Okinawa.

According to the ministry officials, the test will involve a number of private businesses, such as telecommunications carriers, broadcasters, electric machinery makers, automakers, venture firms and other companies.

In the zone, people will be able to buy vegetables after checking the names of producers and how the produce has been grown by simply holding their mobile phones over products carrying IC tags.

Efforts to prevent traffic accidents will include setting up sensors along streets to monitor pedestrian movements, sending the data to onboard terminals in cars to control their speed.

Senior citizens living alone will receive medical assistance via sensors and wireless networks. Blood pressure and pulse data will be continuously sent to hospitals, where doctors will take prompt countermeasures when abnormalities are detected.