Mobile Broadband Subscriptions per 100 Inhabitants, June 2016
Note: Data for United States is an estimate.
Source: OECD Broadband Portal.
Japan has one of the highest levels of mobile broadband in the world, with 4G wireless mobile telecommunications networks covering 99% of the population. There are more than 140 mobile broadband subscriptions in place for each 100 people in Japan, demonstrating the Japanese people’s avid participation in this market. Japan has been trying to exploit this advantage so as to lead the world in innovation based on information technology (IT).Professor Jun Murai of the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies at Keio University explains, “Japan is a unique market with high quality and safety demands from consumers, which have led to rapid advances in the quality of products and services.
One of Japan’s strengths is high-precision manufacturing, as typified by the automobile industry. In IT, Japan’s advantage is in its network infrastructure, one of the most advanced in the world. Having this environment in place provides a huge tailwind propelling innovation in the Internet of Things [IoT], which combines physical objects and IT.”
A current area of particular focus for Professor Murai is the application of IoT to agriculture. In agricultural IoT, factors in the crop-growing environment—including plant growth, soil moisture, air temperatures and humidity, and sunlight—are graphically displayed and analyzed. This enables efficiencies in the application of fertilizer and pesticides and the harvesting of crops. Full-scale adoption of agricultural IoT may lead to increased income for producers and encourage new people to enter the field, alleviating the shortage of young farmers, which is severe issue in Japan. IoT will extend to agricultural equipment, expanding future export markets for Japan’s advanced agricultural technology through IoT equipment exports. The use of IoT also holds promise in helping to solve the world’s food problems.